Scripture Reading – 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5

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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 and completion during the reign of his son, Solomon. Having completed the Temple 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 priests, all who were Levites, carried the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle that David had provided for it within his palace complex (1 Kings 8:1-4; 2 Chronicles 5:4; 2 Samuel 6:17). 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” (1 Kings 8:5-6).  

The Ark rested beneath the wings of the great cherubim that resided in the holy place (1 Kings 8:7-8). However, with the passing of centuries, all that remained in the Ark were the treasured tablets upon which the LORD had inscribed His Commandments (1 Kings 8:9).

We read that “when the priests were come out of the holy place [where the Ark remained], that the cloud filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10). The visible cloud served to remind Israel that the LORD was in the midst of His people.

Why were the priests unable to minister in the Temple after the Lord’s glory filled His house? (1 Kings 8:11)

Because the LORD 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). Indeed, the LORD’s presence in His Temple was so powerful and convicting that the priests “could not stand to minister” (8:11a).

The dedication of the Temple continued with Solomon reflecting on how his father had longed to build the Temple but was forbidden by the LORD (2 Samuel 7:2, 12-13; 1 Kings 8:18-19). That privilege passed to David’s son (1 Kings 8:20-21). Solomon prayed in the sight of the people (1 Kings 8:22) and offered a thanksgiving prayer (1 Kings 8:23). He remembered God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant promises and prayed for the nation (1 Kings 8:24-30).

Understanding the justice of the LORD, Solomon confessed the bent of man’s heart was to sin and depart from the Law and Commandments (1 Kings 8:31-32). Therefore, 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, forgive their sin (1 Kings 8:33-36).

Knowing when the people disobeyed the LORD that troubles would befall the nation (i.e., famine, pestilence, and other afflictions arising from physical disasters and blights), Solomon petitioned the LORD to hear the prayers of every man (1 Kings 8:37-43).  Should the people go to war and fall captive, he prayed the LORD would listen to the prayers of His people and restore them to their homeland (1 Kings 8:44-50).

Remembering the mercies of God in the past, Solomon concluded his prayer by reminding the LORD that He had chosen Israel and brought the people out of Egypt under “the hand of Moses thy servant” (1 Kings 8:51-53).

Closing thoughts –

When the dedication of the Temple ended, Solomon blessed the people and led a celebration with sacrifices and offerings that continued for fourteen days (1 Kings 8:54-66). An additional element of the celebration and dedication of the Temple was the prominence of music in the worship (2 Chronicles 5:12-13).

Believer, you and I do not see the presence of the LORD’s glory descending in a cloud when we worship Him as congregations. However, we who love the LORD should revere and glorify Him in private and public worship. May Solomon’s prayer be reflected in our worship:

“That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.” (1 Kings 8:60)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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