In this wonderful chapter we have the “dedication of the temple” in Jerusalem. We learn in 6:1 that it was “in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, that HE BEGAN TO BUILD THE HOUSE OF THE LORD.” The details of this magnificent temple are given in the rest of chapter 6 and in verses 37-38 we read, “in the FOURTH year the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid…and in the eleventh year. The house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So he was SEVEN YEARS IN BUILDING IT.” We sometimes use the expression, “We spared no expense” and this could surely be said of the Temple of the Lord. Yet of all its intricate design and with it many rooms and functions, there was one room in the Temple that excelled infinitely above all others. We read of this in verse 16, “Then he built the twenty-cubit room at the rear of the temple, from floor to ceiling, with cedar boards; he built it inside the inner sanctuary, as the Most Holy Place.” It was called “the Most Holy Place” because it housed “the ark of the covenant of the LORD there” (verse 19), which was the “symbol of God’s presence.” It was there that God promised to “dwell with His people.” On the day of the “dedication of the temple” we read that the ark of the covenant was placed in the Most Holy Place (8:6) and then “the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE OF THE LORD” (verses 10-11).  God, in grace and with great glory, had come to “dwell with His people!”

Then Solomon spoke, “The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever” (verse 12). The whole assembly of Israel was there, and Solomon blessed them while they stood (verses 14-21). After blessing them “Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands towards heaven” (verse 22) and he prayed a “prayer of dedication” (verses 22-53) in which he gave God the glory for His faithfulness in giving them a temple so He could dwell with them. But the most sublime statement that Solomon made is our verse for today (verse 27), which I now quote: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You, how much less this temple which I have built!” In these few words Solomon grasped and expressed the “majesty of God,” a God that is so glorious, so powerful, so holy, so infinitely high, that the heavens themselves are not big enough to contain Him who is OMNIPRESENT (i.e., PRESENT EVERYWHERE). This reminds us of David’s words in Psalm 139:7-8, “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” So, how could this temple, though grand and large by human standards, be a fitting residence of God Almighty? Surely it CANNOT CONTAIN HIM! But throughout this reverent prayer Solomon lays hold of God “gracious condescension” in coming to “dwell with His people.”

Israel was surely blessed beyond words in having “the Lord of glory” in their midst. But what about us; we who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ in this day of grace when Christ is building His church (see Matthew 16:18; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-4, 42-47)? We not only have God in our midst (in the Person of Jesus Christ…Matthew 18:20), but God has COME TO LIVE IN US (in the Person of the Holy Spirit…Ephesians 1:13; 1st Corinthians 6:19-20). And because He has taken up residence in us, WE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD! I will close with one of the most humbling passages that brings out this blessed truth, one that should draw out our hearts to God in praise and worship. “You are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, GROWS INTO A HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD, in whom you also are being BUILT TOGETHER FOR A DWELLING PLACE OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT” (Ephesians 2:19-22).  (DO)  (552.3)