Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A Pillar of the Temple

Solomon, as we know, built the Temple of the Lord, a house for God among the dwellings of His people in the Promised Land. And we know that the Lord provided the plans for the Temple, down to the measurements and weights of every smallest item. But did you know that the Temple was also deeply endowed with meaning?

The Temple was built with two pillars in a particular spot, pillars that upheld the structure and secured its position and strength. When these pillars were put in place, we are told that Solomon named them. And one of them, he named "Boaz," which the Scriptures tell us means, "in Him is strength." 

Ah, yes, you say. That makes sense. Strength is something we always want to associate with our God, and what a wonderful thing it is to build His Temple upon His strength as a constant reminder to His people of one of His greatnesses and wonders. 

But maybe you're also thinking, Boaz...Boaz...that sounds...familiar? And indeed, it does.

Boaz is a character whose name shows up in a couple of other places in Scripture. It shows up first in the story of Ruth, given its own book, and then again in the genealogies of Jesus. Yes, that's right - one of Jesus's great-great-great-great-great...grandfathers is this man named Boaz.

Now, Boaz comes in Ruth as the family redeemer. He is the man who is able to redeem the line of Naomi's dead husband and sons, and it is in his field that the Moabitess Ruth finds provision and protection while she is gleaning grain for herself and her mother-in-law to live off of. Boaz is the one who instructs his men to guard her and to give her some easy gleanings. He is the man to whom she went in the barn and laid at his feet. He is the man who righteously offered her first to the most rightful redeemer and then, at his rejection, took her upon himself and provided for her offspring in the line of her father-in-law and husband. 

If ever we want to talk about kinsmen-redeemers, Boaz is the guy. And everybody knows it. 

Which means that when Solomon names one of the pillars of the Temple "Boaz," yes, he's talking about the literal meaning of the name - "in Him is strength" - but he's also talking about so much more. He's calling to mind the kinsman-redeemer, this well-known story in all of Israel. And he's foreshadowing the One to come, who is the cornerstone on which the Temple is built. 

In the Temple, then, we stand by the pillar and we know - the Lord is our strength. He is our kinsman. And He is our redeemer. All of that in one little word, a name which is a name and is yet so much more.

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