GOD IS IN HIS TEMPLE
Lord, Your people recognize You as the source of all glory.
Read 1 KINGS 8:1–21
The Ark Brought to the Temple
8 Then King Solomon summoned into his presence at Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 2 All the Israelites came together to King Solomon at the time of the festival in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month.
3 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the priests took up the ark, 4 and they brought up the ark of the Lord and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The priests and Levites carried them up, 5 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.
6 The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 7 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and overshadowed the ark and its carrying poles. 8 These poles were so long that their ends could be seen from the Holy Place in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
10 When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled his temple.
12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 13 I have indeed built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.”
14 While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them. 15 Then he said:
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who with his own hand has fulfilled what he promised with his own mouth to my father David. For he said, 16 ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built so that my Name might be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’
17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 18 But the Lord said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’
20 “The Lord has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord that he made with our ancestors when he brought them out of Egypt.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What more could Solomon add to his impressive list of accomplishments?
Construction is finished. Now the moment has come to move the Ark of the Covenant into the new temple. It enters the temple at the Feast of Tabernacles with a great celebration. To move the Ark is one thing, but it is God who decides to manifest his presence by a visible cloud that hides his glory. The God of Israel requires no image to represent him. Israel does not see her God. Even the Ark is hidden from view, and only its carrying poles are seen.
However, Israel knows that the living God has spoken to her. Inside the Ark are the two tablets of the Law—the Ten Commandments—setting forth the covenant relationship between God and Israel (9). God had escorted his people out of Egypt and then set forth how they should reveal him in the world through their holy pattern of life. There are many things that we do not know about God, but what is revealed is sufficient for us to do his will.
The focus then moves from the people and the building to the king and his prayer. There is no celebration of his own achievement but rather recognition of his promise-keeping God. God chose a person, David; gave him a son to sit on his throne; then enabled the temple to be built in Jerusalem. God is more concerned with people than with buildings. He makes promises to people and keeps them. Herein lies the fulfillment of what God said he would do when he brought the people out of Egypt.
Give thanks that we have a promise-keeping God who has revealed himself in Jesus.
Lord, Your people long to see a visible representation of Your glory, back then and today.
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