The Red Steps

1 Kings 10:11-12

11 And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.

12 And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the LORD, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

 2 Chronicles 9:11

11 And the king made [of] the algum trees terraces to the house of the LORD, and to the king’s palace, and harps and psalteries for singers: and there were none such seen before in the land of Judah.

In The Temple Of The Lord, King Solomon built what are called terraces in one place, and pillars in the other. While there are some opinions, they are most likely a pathway or steps, each with balusters attached. Solomon knew that at some point, these balusters would be needed. It’s one thing to simply have steps in the Temple, but it’s another to have railings attached.

Solomon must have known, that after a day of service, the Priesthood would be tired.  They would need the support that the banisters and steps would offer.  King Solomon had a son who would one day be king.  He must have known that his children would need the stability of those steps and banisters.

God had chosen King Solomon to lead his people, that made him the Captain of the Armies Of Israel.  He knew that his soldiers would enter the temple weary.  They would need the strength that those steps and railing would offer.

Finally, people who had made mistakes would come to the Temple with sacrifices.  In hopes of Atonement for their sins.  They knew that they would need the saving grace that comforted them from the embarrassment of their sins.

What made these steps and banisters special, was the type of wood that was used in them.  It was from the Algum or Almug tree.  According to Bible Commentators, it is mostly likely a type of wood known as red sandalwood.  Ophir, was believed to be a trade city of India, and this was where this wood was found.

It is red, or garnet in color, and rulers as far off as the Emperors of China, prized it for it’s value.  While it is most certainly beautiful, there are many more amazing qualities of this tree.  It is an unusual tree, it is so dense, it will sink in water.  Red sandalwood is used as a medicine to enhance mental function, at the same time, it is effective in giving rest to those with insomnia.  It’s no wonder that the royalty of China treasured it so.

It is said to treat both the inside and outside of man. Red sandalwood is used as a method of blood purification. From skin conditions to stomach ailments, it has even been known to be effective against multiple types of cancer.  Wouldn’t you love to have some of this tree?

Trees have been vital since the beginning, The Tree Of Life springs to mind immediately.  While the sandalwood tree may not have been the Tree Of Life, it pointed to it.  It pointed, not to the one in the Garden Of Eden, but to The One that would pray in the Garden Of Gethsemane.

Those steps imitate the steps of Jesus.  The journey to Calvary was covered in blood.  Christ was beaten and mocked by both Herod and Pilot’s men.  Blood overflowed from the whipping post to The Cross, and finally His blood covered body was carried to the Tomb. While He left death behind three days later, He kept the scars to remind us of His love and mercy.

The Lord Jesus knew that His blood would support the Christian throughout His entire walk.  When we come to Him as sinners, we turn from our ways in Repentance, and begin to die out to our old life.

Romans 6:4

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

According to Romans 6:4, we are buried with Him in Baptism.  His blood is applied to our lives.  Our sins are dissolved in His blood when we are baptized.  Like the sandalwood, they sink into oblivion.  This connection with The Blood and Baptism is why, when Christ’s side was pierced, out came blood and water.  Just as He told Nicodemus in John 3:5 foreshadowing the future.

John 3:5

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

When we arise to walk in newness of life with Christ, we will sometimes be weary.  We will struggle, and make mistakes.  This is why 1 John 2:1 the Apostle tells us two things. First, we are to purposely live a Godly life.  Notice The Bible still says, if we sin, not when we sin.  The second tells us that if we make a mistake, Christ’s blood is present, in our new life, to forgive us.

1 John 2:1

1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

He is the righteous pathway yes, but He is also the stabilizing banister.  This isn’t only for when we make a mistake, but like the Priests He strengthens us when we are weary from service.  He is The Rest for our souls! Christ Our King is the strength for the soldiers of The Cross.  He is the stability for our children, as we raise them in the fear and admonition of The Lord!

Lastly, Solomon also made harps and psalteries out of this same wood.  Christ is our song!  In the Temple, there were both the old instruments of David, and the new instruments of Solomon.  Whether it is played on the Hammond, or on the acoustic what does it matter?  As long as our song is Christ, and Him crucified, what difference does the tempo make?

 1 Peter 2:21

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Let us imitate Christ, following His steps, holding on to Him. As He holds us up, let us hold up one another.  If we do this, then together, we will follow His steps in love and unity from here to Heaven, singing as we go!