I'm just going to say it. Reading about the details of building the temple wasn't terribly inspirational.
Still, I believe these words are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and I believe that the Lord led Solomon as he planned and carried out the building of the temple, so I read carefully. I am struck by a few things:
Solomon values and respects Hiram, the king of Tyre. His letter speaks to the value of diplomacy, paying decent wages, treating neighboring countries with respect.
Men used their abilities, whether artistry or building acumen, to direct glory to God.
Beauty and art direct us toward God. The ornate gold pieces may not be my taste, but in that culture, they spoke to the richness of God. His power. His holiness. His magnificent glory.
I can hardly fathom that radiant glory. Because of Christ, we can approach the throne of God boldly. Sadly, familiarity often means that we lose a sense of that privilege. Our God is an awesome God--and we should approach him with awe.
Next, I can't help but remember that this temple, designed and built with care, was temporary. Nothing remains of this temple.
Ultimately the temple is only a symbol. It spoke to the people of the nature of God. I'm grateful that God uses metaphors and stories and artwork to give us glimpses of who he is, because without them.
And "the Most High does not dwell in houses made of human hands." (Acts 7:48)
Finally, whenever I read about Solomon, his wisdom, his devotion to God, I recall that somewhere along the way, he got distracted from serving God.
All God's promises to him were conditional--
Over and over, God says to Solomon: ". . . if you walk in my ways . . ."
Even Solomon, in all his wisdom, couldn't do that.
No matter what we've done for God in the past, no matter how we've worshiped him in the past, no matter how we've loved him in the past, he is interested in our devotion to him today.
And so today, I'm considering that. Am I truly devoted to my Lord? Am I in awe of his holiness? Am I putting him first in my life? Am I really walking in his ways?