1 Kings 8:1-13
SS Lesson for 01/05/2020
Devotional Scripture: Ps 132:7-14
Crowds numbering more than 150,000 assembled on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on May 29, 2004. They had gathered for the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. The service was a time to remember the courage and sacrifice of 16 million men and women who served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, especially that of the 400,000 who died. The millions who supported the war effort from home were also recognized. The service further celebrated the completion of 11 years of work on the memorial, which had begun in 1993 and involved thousands of individuals and many corporations throughout the country. Celebrating the completion of massive projects is nothing new. First Kings 8 is an example of that fact as it narrates the dedication of the temple, which Solomon completed in about 959 BC. It was a time to celebrate! More importantly, it was a time to recall the truths and commitments that initiated the project in the first place.
After King David's death, the Lord established Solomon on the throne in Israel (1 Kings 2:12). The new king attended to the mission his father, David, had given him: building a temple. David had streamlined the process by stockpiling materials Solomon's builders used for the awe-inspiring structure (1 Chronicles 22:2-6). In addition, David had purchased the land for the temple, which had been Ornan's (Araunah's) threshing floor (2 Samuel 24:18-25; 1 Chronicles 21:22-22:1; see lesson 3). This plot of land was north of the king's palace, in the ridge of hills known as Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1). This was the place where Abraham, in obedience to God's command, would have sacrificed Isaac as a burnt offering had the Lord not intervened (Genesis 22:2, 10-14). The magnificent temple was completed in the eighth month of the eleventh year of King Solomon's reign. Skilled builders and artisans had labored on it for seven years (1 Kings 6:38). What David had proposed to do many years earlier had been accomplished by his son Solomon just as God instructed. Today's lesson text picks up after the completion of the temple. Second Chronicles 5:2-6:2 contains a parallel account. The key difference between these two texts is found in 2 Chronicles 5:11-13, which add details about the priests and musicians who were present.
I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever
8:1-2. After all the new furnishings, utensils, and accessories had been made and placed in position (chap. 6; 7:13-51), Solomon summoned the people for the installation of the ark and the dedication of the temple. All the heads of... tribes and... families in Israel received special invitations. The ceremony was scheduled for the festival in the month of Ethanim (the Feast of Tabernacles in September-October [Lev. 23:33-36]; see the chart “Calendar in Israel,” near Ex. 12:1). Formerly the ark had rested in the tabernacle David pitched (2 Sam. 6:17) on Mount Zion, the southeast portion of Jerusalem called the City of David (cf. 2 Sam. 5:7).
8:3-5. As God had prescribed, the ark was carried by the priests by means of long poles that passed through rings on its sides. It must have been a great day when the ark and the other furnishings of David’s tabernacle were carried through the crowded streets of Jerusalem to their new home. Apparently the tabernacle and its utensils were set aside. The only piece of furniture installed in the temple that was not new was the ark. The temple courtyard buzzed with busy priests sacrificing more animals than could be counted as the people joyfully worshiped the Lord.
8:6-9. The priests put the ark in its place under the outstretched wings of the golden cherubim in the most holy place. As God had commanded they left the carrying poles in the rings (Ex. 25:15). When the doors into the most holy place were open the poles... could be seen from the holy place... but not from outside. The statement that the poles are still there today suggests that this part of 1 Kings was written before the temple was destroyed in 586 b.c. The two stone tablets of the Law placed in the ark by Moses were still there. They served to remind Israel that the nation was still under the blessings and responsibilities of the Mosaic Covenant. The pot of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded, which had been preserved in the ark (Heb. 9:4) for many years, were no longer there. They may have been removed by the Philistines or some other enemy. Or perhaps the objects, being in front of the tabernacle, not in the ark (cf. Ex. 16:33-34; Num. 17:10), were added to the ark sometime later than Solomon and then eventually were lost.
8:12-14. Solomon explained to the people that God had said... He would dwell in the cloud over the temple. A cloud often symbolized God’s presence (cf. Ex. 19:9; 34:5; Lev. 16:2; Deut. 4:11; 31:15). It was Solomon’s intention that God should abide in the temple he had built as God had dwelt within the tabernacle. Solomon had sought to reflect the magnificence of Yahweh in the temple. Forever should be interpreted to mean “as long as possible.” Turning from addressing the Lord, Solomon spoke to the people standing reverently before him.
8:15-21. With His own hand means Himself (cf. v. 24). The promise Solomon referred to was that God would place His Name in Jerusalem (cf. 2 Chron. 6:6). “Name” occurs in Solomon’s prayer 14 times (1 Kings 8:16-20, 29, 33, 35, 41-44 [twice in v. 43], 48). The temple was not to be a “container” for God (v. 27) but a place for his Name to dwell (vv. 16-17, 19-20), that is, a place where His presence and character would be evident. Solomon gave David the credit due him for purposing to build the temple (vv. 17-18). Solomon explained that God had promised David that his son would build the temple (cf. 2 Sam. 7:12-13). God had been faithful, and Solomon glorified Him for it. The temple was primarily a place... for the ark, the throne of God on earth and the repository of God’s covenant promises to His redeemed people. In this address Solomon demonstrated humility and thankfulness.
1 Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the City of David, which is Zion.
2 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 So all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 Then they brought up the ark of the Lord, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up.
5 Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude.
20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting.
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
1 When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. "This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ," he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
4 Bring in the table and set out what belongs on it. Then bring in the lampstand and set up its lamps.
9 "Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy.
22 Moses placed the table in the Tent of Meeting on the north side of the tabernacle outside the curtain 23 and set out the bread on it before the Lord, as the Lord commanded him.
2 A tabernacle was set up. In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.
16 And they made from pure gold the articles for the table — its plates and dishes and bowls and its pitchers for the pouring out of drink offerings.
8 Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
1 To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; 3 not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
17 Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
6 Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim.
7 For the cherubim spread their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles.
8 The poles extended so that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day.
9 Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets 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 came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord,
11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
12 Then Solomon spoke: "The Lord said He would dwell in the dark cloud.
13 I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever."
24 "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."
10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.
24 For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence.
19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
23 If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you — guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
38 Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
There is little doubt that the building of the temple is viewed as one of Solomon’s greatest contributions. More space is devoted to the building of the temple than any other aspect of his life. Solomon’s prayer of dedication is certainly one of the high points of his spiritual life. His prayer does demonstrate Solomon’s grasp of the law and of the role of the temple. Whether he received this primarily from his father, or came from his own meditation on the law, is debatable. I am inclined to think that Solomon learned most of his spiritual insights from his father. Allow me to make several observations concerning Solomon’s prayer of dedication.
First, this dedication of the temple is a predominantly Solomon’s prayer that is addressed to God, who has taken up residence in the temple (8:10-11, 23ff.). This is not a speech that Solomon makes to the crowd that is gathered, but a petition to the God whose temple it is.
Second, there is a very close link between this dedicatory prayer and the Mosaic Covenant. Solomon anticipates certain events in the future, which should prompt the people of God to turn toward the temple and pray. These include:
All of these things are anticipated in Deuteronomy. Solomon’s prayer is, therefore, shaped and guided by the Mosaic Covenant.
Third, this dedication is not only a prayer, it is about prayer. The word “pray” or “prayer” occurs 17 times in 1 Kings 8. The temple was intended to encourage and facilitate the prayers of God’s people. Those who could pray included both Jews and Gentiles:
41 “Foreigners, who do not belong to your people Israel, will come from a distant land because of your reputation. 42 When they hear about your great reputation and your ability to accomplish mighty deeds, they will come and direct their prayers toward this temple. 43 Then listen from your heavenly dwelling place and answer all the prayers of the foreigners. Then all the nations of the earth will acknowledge your reputation, obey you like your people Israel do, and recognize that this temple I built belongs to you” (1 Kings 8:41-43).
This certainly helps us to understand why our Lord was so upset when some of the Jews occupied the temple court and turned it into a business plaza, rather than a place of prayer:
Then he began to teach them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have turned it into a den of robbers!” (Mark 11:17)
Fourth, there is a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in this prayer. Among other things, Solomon is praising God for this temple as the fulfillment of His promises. On the one hand there is thanksgiving and praise for the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abram and to Moses:
“The Lord is worthy of praise because he has made Israel his people secure just as he promised. Not one of all the faithful promises he made through his servant Moses is left unfulfilled” (1 Kings 8:56, emphasis mine).
20 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:20-21, emphasis mine).
We see fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant in the number of Israelites, in Israel’s geographical boundaries under Solomon, and in the blessings that have come to the Gentiles:
1 Now the Lord said to Abram,
“Go out from your country, your relatives, and your father’s household
to the land that I will show you.
2 Then I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you,
and I will make your name great,
in order that you might be a prime example of divine blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
but the one who treats you lightly I must curse,
and all the families of the earth will pronounce
blessings on one another using your name”
(Genesis 12:1-3, emphasis mine; compare 1 Kings 8:41-43, cited above).
18 That day the Lord made a covenant with Abram: “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates River— 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites” (Genesis 15:18-21; see also Deuteronomy 11:24; Joshua 1:4).
Solomon ruled all the kingdoms from the Euphrates River to the land of the Philistines, as far as the border of Egypt. These kingdoms paid tribute as Solomon’s subjects throughout his lifetime (1 Kings 4:21).
More than anything, Solomon views the completion of the temple in terms of the covenant God made with his father David:
15 He said, “The Lord God of Israel is worthy of praise because he has fulfilled what he promised my father David. 16 He told David, ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city from all the tribes of Israel to build a temple in which to live. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’ 17 Now my father David had a strong desire to build a temple to honor the Lord God of Israel. 18 The Lord told my father David, ‘It is right for you to have a strong desire to build a temple to honor me. 19 But you will not build the temple; your very own son will build the temple for my honor.’ 20 The Lord has kept the promise he made. I have taken my father David’s place and have occupied the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised. I have built this temple for the honor of the Lord God of Israel 21 and set up in it a place for the ark containing the covenant the Lord made with our ancestors when he brought them out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 8:15-21).
Fifth, there is a strong sense of expectation in this prayer of dedication that God will completely fulfill His covenant with David:
24 You have kept your word to your servant, my father David; this very day you have fulfilled what you promised. 25 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant, my father David, when you said, ‘You will never fail to have a successor ruling before me on the throne of Israel, provided that your descendants watch their step and serve me as you have done.’ 26 Now, O God of Israel, may the promise you made to your servant, my father David, be realized” (1 Kings 8:24-26, emphasis mine).
When these words of Solomon are compared with Psalm 72, one gets the distinct feeling that Solomon hopes his reign might be the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant. When you stop to think about it, Solomon and others had some basis for thinking along these lines. After all, Solomon’s kingdom could appear to be the fulfillment of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenants. The descendants of Abraham are as numerous as the sand of the sea (1 Kings 4:20). Israel is living in the Promised Land, they dominate the surrounding nations, and they are living in great prosperity. If all these promises were fulfilled, then why not the promise God made to David, and why not through his son, Solomon?
Sixth, Solomon’s words reveal that he rightly understands God’s presence cannot, and will not, be limited to a temple:
12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he lives in thick darkness. 13 O Lord, truly I have built a lofty temple for you, a place where you can live permanently.” … 27 “God does not really live on the earth! Look, if the sky and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:12-13, 27).
This is a point Stephen will take up many years later when he is accused of speaking against the temple (Acts 7:45-50).
(Adapted from URL:https://bible.org/seriespage/20-reign-solomon-1-kings-1-11)
The procession of the ark into the temple of Solomon marked a central truth in Israel: the God of the universe was also the faithful God who had called the Israelites into covenant. He dwelled among them as king. The God whose presence was with Israel dwelled among us in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). He now indwells us through His Spirit (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; etc.). May we also celebrate that our God keeps His promises and stays close to His people!
Transferring the Sacred Ark - King Solomon assembled in Jerusalem the elders of Israel, judges, and princes over the various tribes, along with the head man in each family. Having completed the temple building project handed over to him by his father David, Solomon assigned these appointed leaders to accompany the Ark of the Covenant to the newly constructed temple. As this happened, a cloud, symbolizing God's holiness and presence, filled the temple. Temporarily, everything and everybody stopped. Those present stood overwhelmed by His glorious presence in their midst.
The Shekinah Glory - The consecrated priest had slowly positioned the ark in the Most Holy Place. As they backed away, a cloud descended making it impossible for the leaders to continue their duties.
This thick vapor served as a symbol of God's presence for the children of Israel throughout their history. The cloud is first recorded as being seen when the Israelites traveled from Egypt, as the Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud during the day and a fiery pillar at night. This was the Shekinah glory of God being seen. Jewish rabbis used the expression to mean, He caused to dwell. It symbolized God's presence with His people on the earth.
Jesus, God's Glory - Jesus was God's Shekinah presence on earth. As the apostle John said, "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). And now the Holy Spirit dwells in each believer. Believers today live in the presence of God through the Holy Spirit. The third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, always resides with His children. This truth should daily make a person stop and take time to give God praise.