What does it say?
Following the temple’s completion, Solomon embarks on a 13-year project to build his palace and related buildings, forming a massive temple/palace complex that was a major sign of power and prosperity in that part of the world at that time (1Ki 7). This chapter also describes making the furnishings for the temple.
2Chr 4 is parallel to 1Ki 7 in describing how the furnishings for the temple were made, but it does not mention the construction of the temple. The artisan mentioned here, Huram, is an alternate spelling of Hiram of 1Ki 4. Hiram is from Tyre, but is Jewish on his mother’s side. This is not Hiram the king of Tyre that we met in 1Ki 5.
What does it mean?
Solomon completes God’s house before he begins on his own. The palace took longer to build and is larger, but we must remember that the palace is much more than a place of residence; it is the seat of government, much like having the White House, Congress and Supreme Court in the same complex.
This is the peak of Israel’s monarchy. There are a couple of principles that we can glean from a discussion that, on the surface, appears to be architectural and governmental. First, God desires to dwell in the midst of his people. We assemble together to worship and praise him; he is the Center. The important thing is not the style of government, the architecture, music, or anything else except that he is in the middle of his people.
Also, Solomon and the people want to do everything with excellence. The very finest artisan available is given oversight of the work. Excellence has to do more with quality than size and cost. Many frugal believers eschew anything fancy and try to everything “on the cheap.” There’s nothing wrong with saving money and we certainly don’t want to appear ostentatious, but we do represent the mighty God. There may be times in life when we are called to live in poverty. But even in poverty, we can represent our God with dignity, quality and excellence.
How will I respond?
How can God be better glorified in me by the way that I speak, dress, and go about my life? The issue is not any particular style of clothing or speech, but rather the way in which the God within us is glorified by the excellence with which we live our life. What one step or commitment can I make today to allow God to receive the greater glory from my life?