Solomon’s Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags

Solomon's Temple: Gilded Gourds and 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 (gilded gourds mentioned first in 1 Kings 6:18-22). Then Solomon dedicates the temple:

“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.

Solomon’s next statement 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 the Lord’s word is about him, but it has future intent. The offspring of David, ultimately, is Jesus. He is the only one who perfectly fulfills 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)

This begs the question: Why take three chapters to describe the effort and wealth required to build a temple that was ultimately destroyed?

Solomon failed to recognize his insufficiency. He reminds me of my two year old, proudly, ignorantly, offering me a bite of his mutilated, slobber-covered cookie. I think we are prone to do the same thing— we approach God in confidence when we’ve had a “good week”, but we are bringing Him a slobbery cookie.

Our best efforts and fanciest offerings simply fall short of the standards of a Holy God. Isaiah puts it succinctly: “When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

It is only when we look to Jesus’ perfect work and sacrifice that our hearts are made truly clean. It is his righteousness, credited to us, that transforms our filthy heart into a dwelling place for God.

I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith

Ephesians 3:16-17

If my status before the Father is rooted in my performance, I’ll be foolishly confident one minute and hopelessly condemned the next.

God had a better plan:

“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

Tray of Gourds

My little centerpiece was very simple. 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 eucalyptus greenery from Trader Joe’s to bring it all together in a little wooden box I had on hand. Don’t ya just love autumn?!

Solomon's Temple: Gilded Gourds & Filthy Rags | 1 Kings


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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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