“Will God really dwell on earth? The heavens . . . cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!”
Solomon’s greatest achievement as king was that he built a temple for the Lord. It was, arguably, the high point in the history of Israel. This was the moment when the people were closest to fulfilling their identity and purpose as a kingdom of people who honored the Lord. By promoting God’s character of justice and mercy and giving God all glory in worship, they were becoming like a light to other nations.
Solomon’s prayer embodied these essential values. The nation gathered around him. He knelt, modeling a posture of repentance and submission. He recalled the goodness and faithfulness of God to Israel and to his father, David. He pleaded for God to hear their prayers, forgive their sins, and bless and guide their everyday life. This was a rich and beautiful prayer and moment in Israel’s history.
But, sadly, Israel’s history—and even Solomon’s own life—would slide into distraction and disobedience. And in that way the people demonstrated their need for a greater temple and a better king.
When we worship, we do so gathered around the true King at the center: Jesus. He leads and guides us into true worship and mission “so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other” (1 Kings 8:60). No temple can contain him.
Lord God of Israel, Father of Jesus, there is no God like you. You keep your promises. Renew us in our calling to make your ways known in the earth. Amen.
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