1 Kings 8:1-21 The Lord is in this place

There are some days we will never forget, whether days of hardship or sadness, or days of joy that will always stay with us.  We may delight to remember times of success, family occasions or spiritual high points.  Solomon’s dedication of the temple was a day which those present would never forget.  We turn now to consider 1 Kings 8:1-21 The Lord is in this place.

1. The ark

The first stage of dedicating the temple is the bringing in of the ark (v1-9).  The date is significant.  The festival (v2) is probably the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths which recalled Israel’s wilderness journey after the Exodus.  Deuteronomy 31:10-11 also shows that every 7 years the feast included the reading of the Law – it was a time of covenant renewal and an appropriate time for the dedication of the temple.  They ‘bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant’ (v1).  Crucial is the significance of the ark:

            (i).  Covenant.  It is ‘the ark of the Lord’s covenant’ (v1,6).  It is the token of his presence among his people (Leviticus 26:12).  God’s people are bound to him in covenant, also under the New Covenant in which we stand.

            (ii).  Atonement.  The ark is in ‘the Most Holy Place’ (v6) where the High Priest went once a year with the blood of the sin offering on the Day of Atonement, sprinkling the blood on ‘the atonement cover’ for the forgiveness of sin.  It foreshadows the sacrifice of Christ – ‘a propitiation by his blood’ (Romans 3:25)

            (iii).  Law.  Only the two tablets of the Law remain in the ark (v9).  This is the law of the covenant – Exodus 20.  The basic principle is ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments’ (John 14:16).  Obedience is the mark of covenant faithfulness.

2. The cloud

When the ark has been placed in the Most Holy Place, ‘the cloud filled the temple of the Lord’ (v10), as at the completion of the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34).  Thus ‘the glory of the Lord filled the temple’ (v11) – an overwhelming manifestation of the presence of the Lord.  The ark contains the revelation that the Lord has given about himself, but the cloud tells us that much remains concealed from us (see Deuteronomy 29:29).  There is always the need for humility and reverence on the part of God’s people.  We are thankful for what he has revealed, but realise he far exceeds our understanding.

3. The blessing

Solomon turns now to bless ‘the whole assembly of Israel’ (v14).  He speaks in the name of the Lord as God’s king.  There is a historical narrative of how the temple came to be built (v15-21), making clear it is the Lord’s work.  He ‘fulfilled what he promised’ (v15), again recalling the covenant with David (2 Samuel 7).  The Lord ‘kept the promise he made’ (v20) – he is faithful.  The Messiah fulfils all that the temple stands for – ‘all the promises of God find their ‘yes’ in him’ (2 Corinthians 1:20).  No promise can fail.

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