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1 Kings 8:20-21 1
20 “The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”

cornerstoneBackground

The author of both books of Kings is unknown. Some people believe it was Jeremiah, during the time just before Jerusalem’s enemies overcame the city. In 2 Kings 24:18-25:30 is the same as Jeremiah chapter 52. There is nothing about Jeremiah in the books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings. However, Jeremiah went to Egypt. 2 Kings ends with the events in Babylon. So both books are attributed to an unknown prophet in Babylon.

The writer or writers used a lot of information from other books. These books probably included Isaiah, Jeremiah and Chronicles. The book refers to an unknown book called the ‘Book of the acts of Solomon.’ It also mentions the ‘Books of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah’ and uses collections of stories about the prophets Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah and Isaiah.

The author gave a message. He did not just write history. He follows what the Book of Deuteronomy taught. Deuteronomy contains God’s law for his people. It directs how they should live. But most of the kings in Judah and Israel did not obey these instructions. In fact, none of the kings in the northern kingdom called Israel were good kings and also influenced their people to be evil.

For example, the Book of Deuteronomy explains how the people should worship God. But most kings and most people did not want to worship the real God. They preferred to worship images of false gods. Much of this evil worship had a relationship with sex. People believed that such gods would give them large families and successful farms. And agriculture was very important in Judah and Israel.

The Books of 1 Kings and 2 Kings tell us about a period of nearly 400 years. This was from the time when David died to the exile in Babylon. In 930 B.C. This happened after the death of Solomon, the most important event in the book. During this time, Israel was divided into two kingdoms.

There is more about the northern kings (Israel) than about the southern kings (Judah.) The author writes a great deal about the kings who affected the religion of the country. He does not say much about the other kings. For example, he says a lot about Ahab who made people worship Baal. He says very little about Ahab’s father Omri, who was a much better king. The author also says a lot about the prophets, in particular Elijah and Elisha. He explains why God allowed his people to go into exile. They did not give honor to God at Jerusalem.

Biblical Truth

In chapter 8, Solomon is now making a solemn surrender or dedication of this house unto God, delivering it to God by his own act and deed. He begins with recitals of what has been before done, leading to what is now being done: accordingly, here is a recital of the special causes and considerations moving Solomon to build a place of worship.

  • He recites the wanting of such a place.
  • He recites David’s purpose for wanting to build such a place. God chose the person first that should rule his people (I chose David, 1 Kgs. 8:16) and then put it into his heart to build a house for God’s name, 1 Kgs. 8:17. It was not a project to build up to magnify David but of God, for God’s lasting memory. David first designed it, though he did not live to lay the first stone.
  • He recites God’s promise concerning himself. God approved his father’s (David’s) purpose (1 Kgs. 8:18. God accepted David’s good will but would not permit him to do the good work. God reserved this for David’s son (1 Kgs. 8:19).
  • He recites what he himself had done, and with what intention: I have built a house, not for my own name, but for the name of the Lord God of Israel (1 Kgs. 8:20), and set there a place for the ark, 1 Kgs. 8:21. Thus all the right, title, interest, claim, and demand, whatsoever, which he might have in this house, he resigns, surrenders, and gives up, to God forever.

It summarizes for us that whatever good we do, we must look upon it as the performance of God’s promise to us, rather than the performance of our promises to him. The more we do for God the more we are indebted to him; for our sufficiency is of him, and not of ourselves.

Items for Discussion

  • Solomon reminds us here about motives. How is it that motives behind one’s actions affect the value of the action itself?
  • What do these verses tell you about how society today should go about building houses of worship?

Luke 20:17 2]
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?”

Background

Luke wrote two books of the New Testament (NT). Luke’s Gospel tells the story of the life and work of Jesus. Luke’s second book, Acts, continues the story after Jesus’ death and resurrection. The two books amount to a quarter of the NT. This is even more than the Apostle Paul wrote. Luke was a physician (Colossians 4:14). He was often Paul’s companion in his travels. The book of Acts contains passages in which Luke includes himself as a companion of Paul (‘we’ in Acts 16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Luke shared Paul’s work (Philemon, verse 24). He was a loyal friend. In prison, Paul says, ‘only Luke is with me’ (2 Timothy 4:11). Luke was a Gentile, coming from Antioch, a town in Syria.

Biblical Truth

Jesus is reminding the leaders about the scriptures (Psalm 118:22-24). Matthew and Mark include, ‘God has done this. And it is wonderful to us.’

22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; 23 the Lord has done this, and it is marvellous in our eyes. 24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

We do not know what the most important stone was. It could have been a large stone in the base of the building (a cornerstone). That stone would establish the shape of the building. It could have been the top stone on a corner of the building (a capstone). That stone would hold the walls together. What we know is that the reference is to a specific single stone would hold the whole structure together.

Items for Discussion

  •  What is the purpose of a cornerstone and capstone?
  • How is Christ like both stones?

Discussion Challenge

  •  How does the modern day church make sure it keeps its motivations and purposes aimed at God and not at man?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. http://www.easyenglish.info/bible-commentary/luke-lbw.htm
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