Joppa is mentioned in scripture in connection with the building of the Temple! As we look at the sites we will visit in Israel it is amazing how we find things out that we probably overlooked in reading the narrative.
Take a look first at 2 Samuel 6:16-23. In this passage we see David celebrating as the Ark of the Lord is brought into the City of David. (We will stand in the City of David, too!) David has it brought in and places it in the Tent that had been designated to house it. He offers burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord and then blesses the people in the “name of the Lord of Hosts”. David is so caught up in excitement that he is dancing and leaping before the Lord. When his wife sees him…she is embarrassed of him. David speaks to her in verse 21 and says, “It was before the Lord, who chose me above your father and above all his house, to appoint me as a prince over Israel, the people of the Lord–and I will celebrate before the Lord!” He goes on to say that he will “make himself even more contemptible than this…” Total abandonment in worship before the Lord…with no worries about what others are thinking.
- Do you rejoice in the Lord when you worship?
- Are you worried about what others are thinking?
- Does God overwhelm you when you meditate on Him?
Let’s continue the story by reading Chapter 7 and answering the following questions:
- Verses 1-3
- What was David’s concern?
- What was Nathan’s first response to him?
- Verse 4-17
- What did God tell Nathan that night?
- In verse 12, who does God say will build His Temple?
- In verse 16, what promise does God make to David?
- Verses 18-29
- What is David’s response?
Ask yourself the following questions:
- David was overwhelmed with love for God in this passage. He was still feeling the effects of the Ark being brought back into its rightful place. At that point, out of love, he wanted to do something for God…to honor Him. It all looked good…right? An honorable task with an honorable intent! Yet, God stopped it! What can we learn from this in our own lives?
- Is it hard for you to accept the blessings of God at times? Do you feel like you need to repay God for all that He has done for you?
- Today, focus on all that God has blessed you with and just have a heart of gratitude. Thank Him for His goodness.
You might be thinking, “David was a man after God’s own heart! Why would God not allow him to build His Temple?”
Read 1 Chronicles 22:1-19.
- Why was Solomon chosen to build the Temple instead of David, his father?
- Did David have any part at all in the building of the Temple? (11-19)
Read 1 Chronicles 28:9-20.
- As you read this passage, would you consider this passage to be very general in David’s directions to Solomon or very specific? List some examples to support your answer.
- In verse 19, where did these details come from?
Read 1 Chronicles 29:6-9.
- David told the people what he was going to give out of his personal treasuries to the Lord and asked them to thoughtfully give as well. What was the emotion that was felt by David and the people after this time of giving? (verse 9)
- Reflect on your own personal giving…whether it be money, time or your talents. Does giving cause joy to well up in your soul?
Do you see how detailed the planning and building of the Temple was? Every tiny detail was revealed to David…down to the weight of the lamp stands! Our God is a God of details which should be such a reassurance to each of us. He cares about everything in our lives and leaves us nothing to worry about!
So, how does all of this connect to Joppa? There are two very “insignificant” verses that connect the port of Joppa to this event and to the building of the second Temple. Read 2 Chronicles 2:3, 7-8, 16 and Ezra 3:7. These verses indicate that the cedars of Lebanon were cut far away and then floated as rafts all of the way to Israel to this specific port. After that they had to be carried 30-35 miles southwest to Jerusalem.
Why would we spend time looking at these verses about David and Solomon, the planning of the Temple and the actual building of this place of worship? Anytime we are studying scripture it is helpful to take the time to read slowly, do some research and actually picture what has taken place in the narrative. There is much to be gained in going through those steps. For just a moment, meditate on God divinely giving David the specific instructions on building the Temple. Then think about Solomon carrying out the specifics. Think of all of the preparation that had to take place and how many people it involved to carry out God’s plan. In 1 Kings 5:13-18 we are given the actual numbers. Solomon drafted 30,000 men and divided them into thirds. He sent 10,000 of them to Lebanon for one month and then they would work for two months at home. Then, the next 10,000 would go and so on. There were 70,000 “burden bearers” and 80,000 stone cutters in the hill country. In verse 18 it says, “So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the men of Gebal did the cutting and prepared the timber and the stone to build the house.”
I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to just read the story and move on. Even in typing this today, I am now imagining the months and months of work that this would have taken. I am envisioning the port of Joppa (You will have this image in your mind soon, too!) and I am imagining the rafts of cedar wood floating into its port. Then, I am imagining all of the thousands of laborers who are loading up that wood and hauling it through the tiny streets and down the long roads to Jerusalem to become a part of the house of God! (And the wood was only one tiny part of this project! Wow!)
So there is a lot to think about today. As you read the scriptures this week, pause and think through the following:
- Where is this passage taking place? What city? or area?
- Close your eyes and picture the setting and the people in the setting.
- Google the name of the city or go to your maps in your study Bible and see where it is located. Read a little about the city or area to get a picture of what it really looked like.
- Meditate on the details. God is in the details.
- Always ask the question…”How does all of this apply to me? What is my take away from this passage today?”