Today: [1 Kings Chapter Eight]: The Dedication of the Temple. Solomon dedicates the temple and cloud descends and overshadows the whole event. We are the temple of God. The glory that filled the temple in Solomon’s time is the same glory that rests on the inside of us. The ark of the Covenant moves from its temporary situation on Mount Zion to a place of permanence and the staves used to transport it are removed. God’s first choice is not to move in place and time but take up permanent residence in our midst. Solomon prays a great dedicatory prayer and a time of great joy and feasting commences.
[1Ki 8:1-66 KJV] 1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which [is] Zion. 2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which [is] the seventh month. 3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that [were] in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up. 5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, [were] with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude. 6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy [place, even] under the wings of the cherubims. 7 For the cherubims spread forth [their] two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above. 8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy [place] before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day. 9 [There was] nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made [a covenant] with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. 10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place], that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD. 12 Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. 14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;) 15 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled [it], saying, 16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel. 17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart. 19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name. 20 And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein [is] the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Here we see the commencement of the opening ceremony of the Temple of Solomon. It is held in the seventh month so that it takes place after the harvest and in fact scholars tell us that this was a jubilee year when all debts were canceled and ancestral lands returned to their original owners.
Where was the ark brought from? The ark has rested in many locations but during the time of David it was kept in an open air tabernacle called the tabernacle of David located on Mount Zion where David’s palace was. This is important to note because Paul preaching Acts 2 speaks of the Tabernacle of David:
[Act 15:16 KJV] 16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
This is a quote from the Prophet Amos:
[Amo 9:11 KJV] 11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
This occasion has meaning for us to understand the nature of our relationship to God. If the tabernacle of David is raised up as a fulfillment of the prophecy of Amos it speaks of our open access to God – not navigating through walls and chambers and animal sacrifices – likewise we will see a time when God’s presence will not move from place to place but take up permanence in the earth. When the priests place the ark in the Holy of Holies they allow the staves used to keep it portable to be viewed signifying it will no longer be portable but in a fixed location. One day the kingdom of Heaven will come visibly to earth and God will set His throne permanently upon the earth.
What was in the ark? At one point there were several other items: 1.) a golden pot with manna. 2.) the tablets of the law. 3.) Aaron’s rod that budded. 4.) The brazen serpent that Moses lifted up in the wilderness. The brazen serpent was destroy because the people worshipped it like an idol. The rod of Aaron and the pot of manna are lost to history. It is unlikely that anyone successfully stole. It was known when it was looked into without permission that great calamities were visited upon the people. God no doubt took the pot of manna and the rod of Aaron so that His law would be the significant and singular artifact left in the ark that represents for us the law of God hidden in our heart. Psa. 119:11 reveals that David likewise understood that the ark of the Covenant was not wholly sacred within itself but represented the human heart when he said “thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against thee…”
The cloud of Glory that comes is the very same glory that Paul indicates lives within each and every one of us (in Col. 1:26,27). This is the same glory (in us) mentioned in Phil. 4:19 that God would meet our need according to his riches in glory. The priests could not operate in this realm. No representative ministry can take the place of the glory of God in your life. God does not choose to deal with you through a human intermediary. He sent Jesus to establish a direct connection between you and His glory as a resource in your life.
Now Solomon goes before the temple, standing without before the altar and stretches for his hands and prays a lengthy dedicatory prayer:
22 And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: 23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, [there is] no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart: 24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled [it] with thine hand, as [it is] this day. 25 Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me. 26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. 27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded? 28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day: 29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, [even] toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place. 30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive. 31 If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: 32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness. 33 When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house: 34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers. 35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them: 36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance. 37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, [or] if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness [there be]; 38 What prayer and supplication soever be [made] by any man, [or] by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: 39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, [even] thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) 40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers. 41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that [is] not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake; 42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; 43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as [do] thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.
44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and [toward] the house that I have built for thy name: 45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 46 If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 47 [Yet] if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48 And [so] return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them: 51 For they [be] thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron: 52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee. 53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, [to be] thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD. 54 And it was [so], that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56 Blessed [be] the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. 57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: 58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. 59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require: 60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD [is] God, [and that there is] none else. 61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day. 62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD. 63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD. 64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that [was] before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that [was] before the LORD [was] too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings. 65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, [even] fourteen days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
This prayer of Solomon’s is noteworthy for several features, significantly that he quotes extensively from the Pentateuch. He specifically quotes from Deuteronomy and Leviticus making this connection so the people do not think that somehow God is dispensing with His established word in this new temple dispensation. Likewise we study the Old Testament because God has not dispensed with Old Testament truth in New Testament times. Solomon’s temple is a fulfillment of that which has gone on before likewise in our experience with God He is fulfilling His testament within us and not dispensing with the Old Covenant as though it doesn’t matter anymore.
Solomon declares that there is no god other that our God. Today we hear that it doesn’t matter what you believe just so you are sincere. Billy Graham and Joel Osteen have been pressured to consent that other religions have some validity to them but we must always remember the words of Jesus “no man comes to the Father but by me …” Good works or sincere piety doesn’t establish relationship with God. If Jesus is not the only way to salvation as He insisted in His earth walk then our faith is a complete farce.
Solomon calls upon God to keep all the promises He made previously to king David. God knows what He has promised but the essence of prayer is returning the known will of God back to Him in petition. God has revealed His will to us in prayer – we are returning His will back to Him. God reveals His will. We return His will to Him in prayer and He performs His will.
Solomon acknowledges that the heavens and earth cannot contain God much less this temple however great it was. When we venerate a building in the extreme it becomes a place of idolatry and limits the Holy One of Israel. We must remember that no matter how great our building are the only viable and chosen dwelling place of God is in the human heart. When we prayer toward the temple we are praying with an inward focus and not upward or outward to some other dwelling place. God dwells in our hearts and there He is to be found – the kingdom of God is within us we need look no further.
Solomon invokes the response of God in various situations that will no doubt come to the nation. He asks God to:
1.) Hear when the nation sins and forgive.
2.) Hear when oaths are taken and hold the people accountable.
3.) Hear when the people are defeated in battle and be merciful.
4.) Hear in times of plague and famine and send deliverance.
5.) Hear in times of drought and send rain.
6.) Hear when a foreigner prays for God’s house is a house of prayer for all nations.
7.) Hear when the nation goes into captivity and restore.
Then Solomon rises and blesses the people and declares a feast. This feast was actually a part of the feast of tabernacles. In Passover Jesus is our savior. In Pentecost He is our Spirit Baptizer. In Tabernacles He redeems the purchased possession of our physical bodies and delivers us from death. When the people are sent away to their tents rejoicing it is the eighth day a symbol of new beginning and blessing because the temple is in their midst. What joy they must have had and what joy we must have. God doesn’t want His presence in us to bring about a funeral dirge but rejoicing and blessing for He is now ever in our midst.
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