1 Kings 8: Celebrate with Joy!
June 5, 2020
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Now comes the time to consecrate and celebrate. First the ark itself is brought into the temple (v. 1-11). In the ark, we are told, is nothing but the tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb (v. 9). Many sacrifices, so many that they cannot be counted, are performed as the ark is brought into the temple (v. 5), and once there “a cloud filled the house of the Lord” (v. 10). Symbolizing God’s presence, “the glory of the Lord filled the house” (v. 11).
Solomon then “blesses the Lord”; that is, he declares that the Lord is blessed—and does so by way of celebrating and praising God that he has kept his promises to his people (v. 12-21). He then offers a prayer of dedication (v. 22-53). Note that he does not think that God literally dwells in the temple (v. 27), but rather that by God’s command this temple represents God and is the channel through which access to God is mediated. His “name” shall be there (v. 16, 29). But Solomon knows that earth and heaven cannot contain God (v. 27).
He asks specifically that when the people sin (“for there is no one who does not sin,” v. 46), if they turn and pray and ask for forgiveness, that God will grant them forgiveness and bring them back from captivity (v. 46-52). This was a far-sighted prayer, and one that was eventually answered after the people did sin to this extent.
But for now: “Not one word has failed of all his good promise” (v. 56). It is a moment of celebration, praise, triumph, confidence, joy. After a feast (v. 65), “On the eighth day he sent the people away, and they blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had shown to David his servant and to Israel his people” (v. 66).
Follower of Jesus, if they had such reason to be so joyful at that physical temple, how much more reason do we have to be joyful at Christ, the temple through whom we have access to God, and by whom we can approach God with freedom and joy? Let us then rejoice and be glad, for great is his salvation and greatly has he kept all the promises that he made to Abraham and to Moses (v. 15, 20, 56), throughout the Scripture, of this great salvation of which we who follow Jesus are the heirs and recipients!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
To receive God Centered Life devotionals directly in your inbox, as well as other resources, enter your email address in the form at the bottom of this page and click "subscribe."