Solomon’s Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags

Solomon's Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags

Solomon's Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags

Believe it or not, gilded gourds did not originate with the likes of Martha Stewart. Embellishments such as these are first mentioned in the Old Testament, during the construction of the temple.

In 1 Kings, Solomon is chosen to build God’s temple and he spares no expense. Cedar, gold, and precious stones are the building blocks, and they are used in quantities beyond imagination. An entire three chapters are taken to describe the intricate labor that went into constructing the temple in all its exquisite detail (first mention of the gourds is in 1 Kings 6:18-22), and then Solomon dedicates the temple in an ironic declaration: “I have indeed built an exalted temple for You, a place for Your dwelling forever.” (1 Kings 8:13) Solomon was a decent guy in the line of Israel’s kings, but he wasn’t perfect. He didn’t know it but God had someone else in mind for the job of establishing His dwelling place forever.

I asked myself, what purpose was served in taking three chapters to describe the effort and value put into building a temple that was ultimately destroyed? The answer was all too plain. Our best efforts and most glittering offerings simply have no worth in the presence of a holy God! Isaiah puts it succinctly: “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Solomon’s public declaration to Israel is unknowingly prophetic. “It was in the desire of my father David to build a temple for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. But the Lord said to my father David…’you are not the one to build it; instead, your son, your own offspring, will build it for My name.’ “ (1 Kings 8:17-19) Solomon thinks this statement is about him, but God’s words have future intent. The offspring of David, ultimately, is Jesus. He is the only one to ever fulfill God’s mandate to “walk before Me… with a heart of integrity and in what is right, doing everything I have commanded you.” (1 Kings 9:4)

Are we looking to Jesus to establish God’s dwelling place, or are we busy trying to gild the temple of our hearts for God’s acceptance? Solomon failed to recognize his insufficiency and he reminds me of my two year old, proudly, ignorantly, offering me a bite of his mutilated, slobber-covered cookie. Am I doing the same thing— approaching God in confidence because I feel like I’ve had a good week, when I’m actually bringing Him a slobbery cookie?

If my status before the Father is rooted in my performance, I’ll be foolishly confident one minute and hopelessly shamed the next. God’s kindness and grace are consistently mine because of Jesus. “But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6) We must look to the only King who fully pleased the Father, who cleansed our hearts to establish a permanent temple for His dwelling, and who gilds us with his righteous blood.

There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains

-William Cowper

Quick Note:

My little centerpiece in the photos was a very simple, DIY way to makeover some standard fall decor. I spray painted some inexpensive plastic pumpkins and gourds with Rust-Oleum Copper Spray Paint, taping off the stems and just lightly misting those later. Then I purchased some simple greenery from Trader Joe’s to bring it all together in my little wooden crate. Don’t ya just love autumn?!

Solomon's Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags

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  1. I love the analogy of the slobbery cookie. That’s just perfect for how we come to God sometimes!

  2. WOW – great post! You really pulled me in, I kind of wanted to keep reading ???? Beautiful center piece too – I’m a spray paint maniac! The old is new again ???? Cheering you on sister! XoXo Jaime

    1. Thanks! You can keep reading soon because I’m working on a 2 week bible study- this was in a very similar style to what I’m writing! Hopefully launching in January or maybe sooner ????

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