1 Kings 8 – Dedication of the Temple
We have followed the building of the Temple from its inception in the heart of King David, to its construction fulfilled during the reign of his son, Solomon. The Temple having been completed, and all the necessary implements and utensils readied, the day came for dedicating the house of the LORD.
After the furnishings were placed in the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was carried up by the priests from David’s palace complex (8:1-4). With sacrifices so great they could not be numbered, the Ark was placed in the oracle, meaning the inner sanctuary of the Temple we have identified as the “Holy of Holies” (8:5-6). The Ark rested beneath the wings of the great cherubim that resided in the holy place (8:7-8). However, with the passing of centuries, all that would remain in the Ark were the treasured tablets upon which God had inscribed His Commandments (8:9).
We read, the glory of God so “filled the house of the LORD” that the “priests could not stand to minister” (8:10-11). We would ask, why were the priests unable to minister in the Temple after the LORD’S glory filled His house?
Because the God of Heaven is a Holy, glorious God with whom mortal man dare not trifle. His glory is “like devouring fire” (Exodus 24:17). He is “a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). The LORD’S presence in His Temple was so powerful and convicting, the priests “could not stand to minister” (8:11a).
The dedication of the Temple continued with Solomon rehearsing how his father had longed to build the Temple, but was forbidden by God (2 Samuel 7:2, 12-13), and that privilege passed to Solomon, David’s son (8:12-21). In the sight of all the people, Solomon prayed on his knees (8:54) and offered a prayer of thanksgiving, remembering God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises praying for the nation (8:22-30).
Knowing the justice of God, Solomon confessed the bent of man’s sinful heart was to depart from the Law and Commandments (8:31-32). The king prayed that when Israel sinned as a nation, the LORD would not forsake His people, but would hear their confession, and upon their repentance, would forgive their sin (8:33-36).
Knowing when the people disobeyed the LORD that troubles would befall the nation (famine, pestilence, and other afflictions arising from physical disasters and blights), Solomon petition the LORD to hear the prayers of every man (8:37-43). Should the people go to war and fall captive, he prayed the LORD would hear the prayers of His people and restore them to their homeland (8:44-50).
Remembering the mercies of God in the past, Solomon concluded his prayer, reminding the LORD that He had chosen Israel, and had brought the people out of Egypt under Moses (8:51-53).
With the dedication of the Temple being ended, Solomon blessed the people, and led a celebration with sacrifices and offerings that continued fourteen days (8:54-66).
Closing thoughts – Though we will not see the visible presence of the LORD’S glory descending in a cloud upon today’s sanctuaries, we who love the LORD should revere and glorify Him in our private and public worship.
Copyright 2021 – Travis D. Smith