Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 5-8; 2 Chronicles 2-7:10; Psalm 84
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
These New Testament verses come to mind as we study this passage in 1 Kings of the beautiful, elaborate temple that Solomon built for God. Solomon took 20 years and many resources to build a gorgeous physical place for God to dwell and for God to be worshipped. Solomon knew that God was too big and too great to be contained in any one place but he desired to CREATE A HOLY ATMOSPHERE where God would be honored.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
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.
Even the sparrow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar.
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! – Psalm 84:1-3
Oh, how incredible it is to experience the presence of God! I understand Solomon’s desire to create an atmosphere where the Spirit of God is invited to dwell. What a blessing to enter into a place of worship and be surrounded by the God who is worthy of our praise! I can relate to the words in Psalm 84 – the desire to be in His sanctuary, whether that is at Church or in my own quiet time each morning.
When the temple was completed, Solomon dedicated it to the Lord and 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. 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…”
“But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 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. May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’” – 1 Kings 8:23-24,27-29
Solomon went on to pray to God for justice, protection, provision, healing, growth, deliverance and forgiveness. Then he prayed, “May your eyes be open to my requests and to the requests of your people Israel. May you hear and answer them whenever they cry out to you” (1 Kings 8:52).
To experience the presence of God, to be heard and answered – how generous God is to allow us into this kind of relationship with Him. This passage speaks to the earthly temple we build within ourselves, creating a place where the Holy Spirit can dwell – a holy atmosphere where God can be honored. As we open our hearts to God’s will in our lives, He comes in and finishes the work. With His hands, He creates something beautiful and elaborate out of our plain, earthly lives.
Can God be contained in one simple place? No and isn’t that wonderful! Our God is so great and we are so unworthy of His presence, yet He shows unfailing love to us when He meets with us and creates within us something holy. And then He places His signature on His artwork – My name will be there.
So this morning my prayer echoes Solomon’s – a prayer for justice, protection, provision, healing, growth, deliverance and forgiveness. Thank you, O Lord, for your faithfulness and for the unfailing love you show to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. With confidence I know that you will keep your promises – that the promise you make with your mouth, you will fulfill with your own hands.
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.
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.
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. – Psalm 84:10-12