First Kings 8 Commentary
There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt. Verse 9. All this trouble, for an almost empty box? Strange.
Israel’s religion was very simple. It was all about this small box which contained two tablets of stone. Inscribed on these tablets were the Ten Commandments.
The Name of the LORD is represented by the Ten Commandments. It is these two pieces of stone and their contents that have brought business to a standstill in Israel.
It is these two tablets of stone that defined worship in Israel. Israel failed or succeeded based on its relationship with the contents of these two stones.
But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Verse 27. Solomon knew better. The God of the universe cannot be reduced to a couple of rituals.
Keeping the law of God was equivalent to keeping the God of Israel amongst them. Breaking the law was equivalent to living without God. His prayer, therefore, reflects this thought.
The God of the universe cannot reside in a human Temple. Yet we also know that the things of God are so important that even their shadows deserve reverence. So we find Solomon slaughtering countless animals as an act of worship.
The mention of foreigners coming and getting blessed by the LORD from this Temple reflects the heart of God. He had told Abraham that the LORD would bless the nations through the Son. Solomon’s prayer that the nations come to see and acknowledge the LORD is the real calling for which Israel existed. I guess that is the saint’s calling today: that the nations get blessed through the saint.
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