2 June 2016

1 Kings 8:1-11

“And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord.” (v. 10)

Psalm: Psalm 94:14-23


Solomon is known for his wisdom but it is the building of the temple that takes centre stage in the account of his life in 1 Kings. David had been prevented from building the temple (1 Chronicles 28:3) and instead the task fell to Solomon to create a house for God to dwell in. Up until this moment the ark of the covenant and the dwelling place of God's presence had been in the tent of meeting. Even as the Israelites began to settle the land, the tent and ark remained the focus of God's presence with his people. Now though, we see the shift from a wandering people to a settled nation. The God who had dwelt in a tent would now dwell in a temple.

As the finishing touches were being made to this house of God it seems that there was frantic activity taking place at the temple. We are told that so many sheep and cattle were sacrificed that they could not be counted (verse 5). When the tabernacle was first set up God set out an ordered process to purify and make it holy (Exodus 40:1-33). Here though it seems like Solomon and the people are in a frenzy and do not know when to stop. It may be this fervour was out of excitement or it could be that the people were worried that God would not count this place as worthy for dwelling.

Having put the ark in the holy of holies in the centre of the temple and withdrawn to a safe distance. God's presence descends on the temple and fills it as it had in the wilderness. These verses almost mirror the account of God's presence descending on the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-35), and as Moses cannot enter then neither can the priests enter now.

To Ponder

  • As God called Solomon to build the temple, do we sometimes finish the work other people saw the vision for?
  • What makes a place holy?
  • Do we sometimes over compensate in our worship because we feel our offering is not good enough? Or do we sometimes just get carried away?

Bible notes author

The Revd David Wynd

David Wynd is a Methodist presbyter in the North Shields and Whitley Bay Circuit. He leads Cullercoats Methodist Church and is involved in a circuit project called Network.