At first glance, I see the offerings brought to the Lord. In the Old Testament, the furnishings for the temple. The silver, the gold. And in the New Testament, the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
At a second and slower look, I see Huram. (I remember getting sculpting clay in my hands for the first time in elementary school, and I tried to fashion a dog from it. My mom kept it displayed in a curio cabinet. These items fashioned by Huram, however, were on display for the Lord and all who came to see it.)
King Solomon then asked for a man named Huram to come from Tyre. 14 He was half Israelite, since his mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father had been a craftsman in bronze from Tyre. Huram was extremely skillful and talented in any work in bronze, and he came to do all the metal work for King Solomon.
1 Kings 7:13-14, NLT
Huram’s father had been a craftsman. Huram was extremely skillful and talented in any work in bronze. Before King Solomon requested him to do the work, Huram had been doing the work–honing his craft and developing his skill. The reading goes into detail of some of the items Huram made:
Huram cast two bronze pillars, each 27 feet tall and 18 feet in circumference. 16 For the tops of the pillars he cast bronze capitals, each 7 1⁄2 feet tall. 17 Each capital was decorated with seven sets of latticework and interwoven chains. 18 He also encircled the latticework with two rows of pomegranates to decorate the capitals over the pillars. 19 The capitals on the columns inside the entry room were shaped like water lilies, and they were six feet tall. 20 The capitals on the two pillars had 200 pomegranates in two rows around them, beside the rounded surface next to the latticework. 21 Huram set the pillars at the entrance of the Temple, one toward the south and one toward the north. He named the one on the south Jakin, and the one on the north Boaz. 22 The capitals on the pillars were shaped like water lilies. And so the work on the pillars was finished.
23 Then Huram cast a great round basin, 15 feet across from rim to rim, called the Sea. It was 7 1⁄2 feet deep and about 45 feet in circumference. 24 It was encircled just below its rim by two rows of decorative gourds. There were about six gourds per foot all the way around, and they were cast as part of the basin.
25 The Sea was placed on a base of twelve bronze oxen, all facing outward. Three faced north, three faced west, three faced south, and three faced east, and the Sea rested on them. 26 The walls of the Sea were about three inches thick, and its rim flared out like a cup and resembled a water lily blossom. It could hold about 11,000 gallons of water. 1 Kings 7:15-26, NLT
1 Kings 7:15-26, NLT
The design, the skill, the materials, the scope, the time–all his life’s experience led him to this very special occasion of honoring God. Likewise, when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant is brought to the temple, a great celebration takes place.
11 Then the priests left the Holy Place. All the priests who were present had purified themselves, whether or not they were on duty that day. 12 And the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and all their sons and brothers—were dressed in fine linen robes and stood at the east side of the altar playing cymbals, lyres, and harps. They were joined by 120 priests who were playing trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words:
“He is good!
His faithful love endures forever!”
At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. 14 The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.
2 Chronicles 5:11-14, NLT
I notice the musicians, the Levites accompanied by 120 priests playing trumpets.
And in the New Testament, some wise men from eastern lands take a long trek by faith to find Jesus.
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Matthew 2:7-11, NLT
(The star may have appeared as long as two years earlier because Herod orders boys aged two and under to be killed.) Likely, the wise men’s trek was a commitment of significant time and provisions–and faith.
I get to read of the culmination–Huram’s artistry, the Levites’ and priests’ song, the wise men’s journey and gifts. But today, I consider the time and preparation–discipline, endurance, perseverance, sacrifice. I see just the iceberg’s tip, but I consider the unseen base of time and dedication that brought them all to that moment.
Father God, may I see the training and time part of the work to honor you. Then it is all for you–not just one defining moment–it’s all of it. A lifetime.