How Solomon’s Dedication Teaches Us to Not Be Afraid, But Pray

Good Morning!

About once a month I have the privilege to lead a pre-school devotion at a local middle school. This past Tuesday we went through Solomon’s prayer of Thanksgiving at the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:22-30. As we walked through the words of praise one of the kids noted, quite rightly, that Solomon spoke of God in a way that shows he really knew His presence. There were no just’s or hope’s if you would’s in the worldly sense of that. The King spoke with knowledge and assurance. I want you to take a second and read out loud the following passage:

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.”

As we talk about the immanence and transcendence of God the old covenant temple is a perfect place to witness what that looked like before the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Pay attention again to how Solomon describes His LORD. He knows that Jehovah is unbounded by human hands or conceptions. He is a spirit, infinite, eternal, unchangeable, yet in calling on the son of David to build this house where He might dwell He is showing the way He will be with them in glory in order to remind them both of His power and His love. The imposing structure which housed the ark of the covenant and where the sacrifices of blood were to take place spoke mountains about the kind of God the Israelites served. He was ever-present and they were always to be at peace due to this.

Earlier in the chapter (v.10-11) the LORD had signaled His acceptance of occupancy by showing up in the same cloud that followed the people around the Wilderness. He appeared to them in a way they would recognize and know. Moses had declared to them the words which God had given to them, the promises of the covenant, and to affirm this blessing in Exodus 19:9 we see the Lord likewise show up as a thick cloud. The similarities here are important because they confirm by the authority of God that these testimonies are yeah and amen in Him. There is no reason why anyone who bears the name of the Most High should be anxious or worry about what is happening around them. The circumstances of life belong to our Heavenly Father. Remember what the Apostle said about that? He writes in Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Sounds a lot like what Solomon proclaims in our 1 Kings 8 passage!

When the people were in danger from their enemies, whether that be themselves in their own sin or when the Assyrians, Babylonians, or Philistines were at their borders ready to attack the men and women of Israel were to look to the temple for aid. Psalm 27:5 records David exclaiming, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” But why were they to do so? Because the temple witnessed to the presence of God with His covenant people. It was His home place, and yet they knew that their Lord was more than a cloud shut up in the Holy of Holies, He was at the same time dwelling in the Heaven of Heavens above, signifying His supernatural sovereignty over all things. There is so much being taught by the temple that has great help for us today, especially as we consider how these twin truths of immanence and transcendence help us in the new covenant.

While the physical temple was destroyed, the temple is still present.

Nothing made the Pharisees angrier than the time when Jesus made the claim that He would destroy the place where God dwelt and rebuild it in three days. They were incensed at this idea. It was for the reason that they forgot what the temple was all about. Their faith was not in the God who dwelt on high, but in the figment of their idolatrous heart who only lived in the temple made with hands. For the Christian we have learned that the temple in our time is actually Jesus Christ. (Rev. 21:22). It’s one of the reasons why any teaching which tells you that in the future there will be a new physical temple built is fundamentally wrong. Why would God re-implement something that has passed away with the coming of the Messiah? Those days are gone.

Yet for us there is more to the story than just that Jesus is now the temple. The Bible also clearly shows that the temple now dwells within us. (2 Cor. 6:16). Paul’s reasoning there for us to steer clear of sin is that we are holy, and why are we holy? Because of the presence of the thick cloud. That same testimony of peace and comfort that brought light in the darkness in the days of Sennacherib still to this day does its wonder through the immediate presence of God with His covenant people. It is in this we see how and why we are able as the priesthood of all believers to go to God in prayer without a Levite. The wall of separation was taken down and instead of that meaning that the Lord was only in Heaven really in a true sense nothing changed, God is still dwelling with His people just as He was in Solomon’s temple. If anything God has become closer to us in the spiritual union we have with Christ in the Spirit.

In closing, we see yet again that these doctrines which some claim to be too complicated and convoluted for even the most learned to understand are actually not only quite straight-forward, but they are an immense help to us in our day-to-day walk with our Savior. We have no reason to fear, for the very power of God is our ever-present help in the day of trouble. Be at peace in Christ for Christ dwells in you.

Here’s a word more:

Blessings in Him,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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