Meeting Place Between God and His People

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), May 23

At its inauguration Israel’s temple stands out from all other temples. Its Most Holy place, where the ark of the covenant dwells, is filled with God’s glory, “And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that 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” (1 Kings 8:10-11). And it is a place of relationship.

Solomon responds to the manifestation of God’s presence with a prayer of dedication. This prayer reveals the significance of the Temple as God’s meeting place with broken humanity for:

Justice – “When anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, then hear in heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness” (8:31-32).
Mercy and restoration – “When your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers” (8:33-34).
Relief from drought – “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel” (8:35-36).
Relief from famine – “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all His ways, whose heart You know” (8:37-39).
Unmerited favor and relationship – “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls you” (8:41-43).
Protection – “When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the LORD toward the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause” (8:44-45).
Compassion – “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive . . . then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause” (8:46-49).

Several truths emerge from this inauguration scene:

  • Where He places His Name, He comes in glory (His glory is His manifest presence, and indicates His pleasure in and favor on His people).

  • He hears the repentant prayers of those who bear His Name regardless of the consequences of their sins.

  • Justice, victory, and blessing are conditional upon man’s repentance before God.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Kings 8:1-53; 2 Chronicles 5:1-6:42)
What does Solomon’s prayer reveal about God?