Scripture Focus: 1 Kings 8.27, 30, 41-43
27 “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!… 30 Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.
41 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name—42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.
Ephesians 5.8-10, 13-14
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord… 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. 14 This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Reflection: Better Temples
By John Tillman
The dedication of the Temple was a momentous occasion for Israel. It was in many ways a culmination of God’s promise to Abraham to bless the nations.
The dedication of the Temple and God’s indwelling of it was an event that later generations would look back to as part of God’s unique identity. He was the God who brought them out of Egypt and the God who sanctified his own Temple.
In many ways, Jesus is our Temple and Solomon’s prayers are better answered in Jesus than in the structure Solomon built.
Jesus’ life stands, like the Temple, as a miraculous work of God. He is the promised one who fulfills all of God’s promises.
Solomon asks the question, “Will God really dwell on Earth?” In answer, God’s Spirit fills the Temple as a cloud, but the more resounding answer was described by the apostle John, who, speaking of Jesus, said “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Solomon asked that the Temple be a channel of prayer, open to all people at all times. Regardless of location and even when being punished for their sin, he asked that God would hear from his Temple the prayers of his people. In Jesus, we become not just worshipers but family, able to cry to God as our father. God’s Holy Spirit hears us not from some distant structure, but from within our own hearts.
The most significant request Solomon repeats is that the Temple be a place of God’s forgiveness to which sinful people could cry out, cling to, and be saved. This is also answered in Jesus. The cross is an altar greater than Solomon’s. It’s sacrifice more precious. It’s forgiveness enduring forever. It is an event we look back to as a part of our God’s unique identity.
As believers, we are God’s Temple. (1 Peter 2.5; 1 Corinthians 3.16) We are God’s means of blessing for the world. We are his priests offering forgiveness to the world.
May we be a better Temple, shining the light of truth that exposes sin but also celebrating and proclaiming forgiveness for all.
To a world asleep to sins of all kinds, both individual and collective sins, we must sound the call to wake up, return to God, and receive forgiveness and life forevermore.
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.” Ephesians 5.14
Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
May God be merciful to us and bless us, show us the light of his countenance and come to us. — Psalm 9.11
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about Christ our Temple, River, and City
Christ himself is our temple. He is the gate, the doorway, through which we enter to worship.
Read more about Treasuring Our Temples
It is difficult to overstate how confident Judah was…It was unthinkable that the Temple would fall.