Then spake Solomon, The Lord said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. — 1 Kings 8:12-13
A number of years ago, my wife and I were building a house. We wanted it to be our dream home, so we spent a lot of time and energy trying to make it perfect. Although our funds were limited, we included upgrades and added “extras” to the extent our resources would allow. Still, though we were happy with the house and excited about the way it turned out, it was not “home” until we actually moved in. Before then, it was just a nice but empty dwelling. We had to put our furniture and our belongings in place before it really felt like our home.
In a way, the same was true with the Temple Solomon built for the Lord, only on an immensely grander scale. Amazing amounts of precious metals, jewels, and only the finest materials went into this structure. Still, until God entered the Temple — until the Ark of the Covenant and His Mercy Seat were brought into the structure — it was just a structure. Yes, it was a highly ornate and very expensive structure, but really just a structure. Only after God took up residence did it become a temple — His Temple.
Each of us is building a structure — the structure of our lives. Day by day we make choices and decisions that determine the construction materials. We want to use upgrades and extras, precious metals and jewels. Some of these “materials” might be kindness, honor, faithfulness, and willingness. We want our lives to be constructed in a way that the Lord will be pleased to dwell in us forever. However, unlike an earthly home or temple, God will “move” into our hearts before our construction project is complete. Then, if we will let Him, He will help us build in a way that is pleasing to Him.
How is your construction project progressing today? Is God dwelling in it?
The building of the Temple was a special project. It was tremendously important that the Children of Israel build this structure for God. Its construction was tied to God’s promise that He would dwell among them and would not forsake His people.
Prior to the Temple’s construction, King David recognized the awesome responsibility of this special undertaking. Because it was to be God’s home, it had to be pure in every aspect. In fact, God forbade David to build the Temple because he was a man of war and had shed much blood.
Solomon started the construction during the fourth year of his reign (about 480 years after Israel’s exodus from Egypt), and it took seven years. The Temple was built with large stones and beams and boards of cedar, which were overlaid with gold and silver. The estimated value of the building today would be several billion dollars. It was built in the general plan of the Tabernacle, but the rooms were double in size. The Children of Israel gave freely for the purpose of building this Temple for God.
In today’s text, Solomon and Israel’s leaders brought the Ark and the holy vessels from the Tabernacle and dedicated the Temple. The cloud, which had been the visible symbol of God’s presence with Israel during their travels from Egypt, filled the house.
“Seven days and seven days, even fourteen days” refers to fourteen days of feasting. The celebration for the dedication of the Temple was seven days. This was followed by the Feast of Tabernacles, which was also seven days.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The reign of Solomon
E. The work of Solomon
3. The dedication of the Temple (8:1-66)
a. The glory of God in the Temple (8:1-12)
b. Solomon’s dedicatory speech (8:13-21)
c. Solomon’s dedicatory prayer (8:22-53)
d. Solomon’s charge to the people (8:54-61)
e. Solomon’s sacrifices and feast (8:62-66)
It was important that the Temple be built exactly to the specifications given by God so that He could dwell there. Just so, it is important that our lives are pure and in agreement with God’s Word, so that He is able to dwell within us.