August 23, 2009
1 Kings 8:1, 6, 10-11, 22-30, 41-43 • Psalm 84 • Ephesians 6:10-20 • John 6:56-69
10 When the priests came out of the Holy Place, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. 11 The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple…
What we have here is the dedication of the Temple. This happened during the reign of King Solomon. The priests have just taken the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies and as they exit, the presence of the Lord (indicated by the cloud) enters the temple. The interesting thought is that when the Lord entered the Temple, the priests had to discontinue their work. It is always awesome when God “shows up.” This is what happened at the dedication of the Temple. Look at Solomon’s response.
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, 23 and he prayed,
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.
25 “And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow me as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ 26 Now, O God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David, my father.
27 “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 28 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today. 29 May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’ May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 30 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.
I love being in God’s “house.” Sometimes I like being in their all by myself, but then there are the times when God’s house is filled with his people all singing His praises. Several times during our time in Frankfort earlier this month, we had those moments when God’s presence could be felt. David expresses those feelings of being in the Lord’s presence in His house.
1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
2 I long, yes, I faint with longing
to enter the courts of the Lord.
With my whole being, body and soul,
I will shout joyfully to the living God.
10 A single day in your courts
is better than a thousand anywhere else!
I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God
than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
12 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.
The dwelling place of the Lord is a great place to be – It’s a great place to enjoy His presence.