All cost and pains are lost on stately structures unless God has been in the work,
and if He fails to manifest His glory in them,
they are after all but a ruinous heap.
A temple without the ark and the glory are like a candlestick without a candle.
I Kings 1
1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.
2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.
3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.
4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.
5 And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.
6 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.
7 For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
8 And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.
9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.
10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,
11 So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.
12 ¶ Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
13 I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.
14 And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)
15 And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,
16 Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.
17 And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
18 And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.
19 Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.
20 And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
21 And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
22 ¶ And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:
23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:
24 Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
25 Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.
26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
28 Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:
29 That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.
30 And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.
31 ¶ If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:
32 Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
33 ¶ When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:
34 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.
35 ¶ When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:
36 Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.
37 ¶ If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;
38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name’s sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.
44 ¶ If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:
58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
62 ¶ And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.
66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
I Kings – J. Vernon McGee
1 Kings 8:1-11 – The Temple Filled with Glory
When the Temple was finished it was dedicated in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles. All Israel in its most festive attire welcomed the Ark to its resting-place, with sacrifices and offerings that defied calculation. The budding rod and manna had gone from the Ark, because they belonged to a stage of experience which had passed away, just as we have to put away the things of our childhood; but the holy Law was there, I Kings 8:9, because, in our most ripened experience, we need to build and meditate on the eternal righteousness which is the foundation of God’s throne. The staves of the Ark were drawn out, because this was God’s resting-place forever. See Psalm 132.
How comforted Solomon was when he saw the glory cloud settle down, like a bird on its nest! It was the sign of the divine approval and acceptance, Exodus 40:34. May that Presence fill the throne-room of our nature, that there may be no part dark, Luke 11:36, but that soul, mind, and strength may be full of love and light.
1 Kings 8:12-21 – The Builder’s Dedication Address
Solomon, standing on the great platform within, view of the vast, thronging multitudes, recited tie steps that had led them to that illustrious hour. His whole speech was of God’s dealings. Why do we not speak of God more often, as the most important factor in life! It is a blessed thing to trace the connection between what God has promised and what He has fulfilled, I Kings 8:15. “The LORD hath performed his word that he spake,” I Kings 8:20. Many of us could say that, and we ought to say it.
Solomon brought out clearly in this address that God took account of David’s good intentions. “Thou didst well that it was in thine heart” (I Kings 8:18). Circumstances may prevent the execution of a desire and a purpose with which, years ago, our hearts were filled. God, however, will never forget it, and will see that the project is carried out in some other way—perhaps by another instrument. It was well that it was in thine heart to become a foreign missionary, though the need of widowed mother, or the claims of home, rendered literal obedience impossible. Thou shalt have the missionary’s place and crown hereafter, for it was in thine heart.
1 Kings 8:22-32 – God Greater than Any Temple
Solomon’s different attitudes are specially mentioned. First he stood with hands outspread, I Kings 8:22; then, as indicated by I Kings 8:54, he came to his knees. These attitudes show expectant faith, as well as profound humility and reverence. The more we know of God, and experience the blessing of fellowship with Him, the lower becomes our self-estimate. Confidence in God always enhances reverence, Hebrews 12:28. The man who is lowest on his knees before God stands most erect to bless others, I Kings 8:55.
The prayer began with an ascription of glory to God. In this it resembles the Lord’s Prayer; which begins with Hallowed be thy Name (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). Compare Psalm 115:1. Let us form our own prayers on this model. Then it acknowledges God’s fidelity to His promises. As He speaks, so He fulfils. But it is our part always to say with Solomon, Keep… that thou promisedst, I Kings 8:25, and Let thy word… be verified, I Kings 8:26. When we stand on this sure footing with God, we can look out on all possible ills that may confront us—whether, drought, famine, pestilence, defeat, or captivity—and be absolutely sure that he will hear, answer, and forgive. Heaven cannot contain Him, but he dwells in the contrite heart, Isaiah 57:15.
1 Kings 8:33-43 – Appeals to the God of Mercy
Solomon’s prayer is evidently based on the book of Deuteronomy, and tends to confirm the old belief that, with the rest of the Pentateuch, this book came from the hand of Moses. In II Chronicles 20:7-9, Jehoshaphat pleaded this prayer as though it were substantially a promise, and therefore all needy souls who find their case described here, may plead it on their own behalf.
Notice how frequently Solomon speaks of prayer, even in the land of captivity and exile, as being-directed toward the Temple, I Kings 8:38, etc. It reminds us of the grave need of maintaining unimpaired our spiritual frontage. It has been truly said that the direction of the soul’s outlook is the preliminary question in religion. Whether our home looks south or north; whether it faces sunless alleys or sunny fields, is an important physical consideration with us: It is likewise of great importance that the mind or soul should face the right way. The difference between spiritual health and disease is very largely one of the way in which we front. For us, Temple, Altar, and Mercy-Seat are all summed up in Jesus Christ. Our life must be spent looking unto Him, Hebrews 12:2.
1 Kings 8:44-53 – A Plea for National Righteousness
How true it is that there is no man that sinneth not, I Kings 8:46! Only one that ever walked this earth was holy, guileless, and undefiled, Hebrews 7:26. When we fail to watch and abide in Christ, we are easily carried into captivity. How many of God’s children are thus taken captive! They are in bondage to some besetting sin, to some evil habit, to some degrading business, or to some unseemly alliance. Like blind Samson, they grind in the prison-house.
Let any such, who long for freedom, take home to their souls the infinite comfort which God’s Word affords. Let them bethink-themselves of the holy and blessed days of the past. Let them repent, that is, in their heart and in practice put away the evil thing which is the outward badge of their sad condition. Let them turn again to the Savior, who has passed into the Holiest, that He may intercede in the presence of God for us all. There will be an immediate response. God will hearken in all that they call unto Him for, will forgive transgression and sin, and will restore His people to become again His own inheritance for His glory and praise.
1 Kings 8:54-66 – Petition and Sacrifice
The man, as we have seen, who kneels most humbly before God is empowered to bless the people in God’s name. What an august and noble testimony the king bore: “There hath not failed one word of all his good promise,” I Kings 8:56. Joshua had said that before Solomon, Joshua 23:14. Myriads have borne similar witness, and, as we are passing hence, we shall say the same. We have failed, but not God; we have left Him, but He has never cast us away. The mountains may depart and the hills remove, but He will not alter nor falter in His everlasting kindness. Let us ask Him to incline our hearts unto Him, I Kings 8:58.
Notice in I Kings 8:59 the phrase, “as the matter shall require.” Whatever may be the requirement for any day, the abundance of grace needed is provided, but you must look up for it and use it. It is they who receive the abundance of grace that reign in life. But you cannot receive unless your heart is perfect with God, and you walk in His statutes and keep His commandments.
1 Kings 8:59 – That He maintain the cause of His servant, as the matter shall require.
What rest would come into our lives, if we really believed that God maintained the cause of his servants! Men hate you, and say unkind or untrue things about you; on your part, though you are quite prepared to admit that you have made mistakes, yet you know that you desire above all things to act as God’s servant should, that your motives are sincere, and your hands clean be of good courage then: God will maintain your cause, as every day may require.
Or, you are beset by strong competition; and, in order to hold your own, you have been tempted to do what is not perfectly the best to spice your teaching with a little heterodoxy, puff your wares with misleading titles, to adulterate your goods. But there is no need to do this; if only you are faithful to God, He will maintain your cause, as every day may require.
Or, you are tempted almost beyond endurance, and think that you must yield. The seductions are so insidious, the pitfalls so carefully concealed, the charm of evil so subtle. But, if you will only look away to God, you will find Him a very present help to maintain your cause. Oh, trust Him; for none of them that do so can be desolate: Daily strength for daily need; daily manna for daily hunger; daily maintenance for daily temptation. These are assured.
As we stand on the hill top in the morning and look across the valley of the coming day, its scenes are too closely veiled in heavy hanging mists for us to specify all our requests. We can breathe the comprehensive petition (Matthew 6:11), “Give us this day our daily bread.” And God will suit his help to each requirement. As the moment arrives “the thing” will be there.