1 Kings 6:11-13
“Then the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying: ‘Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My word with you, which I spoke to your father David. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel.’”
Four hundred and eighty years after entering the promised land the Tabernacle was replaced with the Temple. The Temple was an elaborate structure, sitting above the city of David, on what had been the threshing floor of Ornan. This forty five foot tall building was the prize of Israel, and could be seen from miles away. The inside of the Temple was even more glorious than its exterior. The floor, walls, and ceiling, were made of intricately carved cedar and overlaid in gold. The rooms were decorated with tapestries and furnishings designed by God, and built by he finest craftsmen of the time. It is no wonder the whole nation gathered to celebrate when the Temple was finally completed.
As magnificent as his building must have been, it was important that Solomon remember its real purpose. Sometime in the midst of the building project, he heard the voice of God reminding him that the building is just a building if the people don’t walk with the Lord.
“. . . walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments..”
By way of application, the same is true of us today. Church attendance, Bible reading, and Christian service, are only activities if we wander from the Lord. At the heart of Christianity is the need to simply read the Bible and do what it says. The driving force behind that should be a desire to please God by doing what He says.
As time went on, the Temple continued to stand as a landmark for the nation, long after the king and people had wandered from God. They would eventually come to a time where the Word of God was completely forgotten, while the priests still diligently practiced their rituals.
Religious exercise has its place, but should never replace getting alone with God and His Word and simply doing what it says.