Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
12 Then he stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. 14 He said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart; 15 who has kept with Your servant David, my father, that which You have [g]promised him; indeed You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day. 16 Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David, my father, that which You have [h]promised him, saying, ‘[i]You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way, to walk in My law as you have walked before Me.’ 17 Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, let Your word be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant David.
18 “But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the [j]highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. 19 Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You; 20 that Your eye may be open toward this house day and night, toward the place of which You have said that You would put Your name there, to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place. 21 Listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place; hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven; hear and forgive.
While Solomon built the temple for God, he understood the purpose of this magnificent structure. It was not for God to literally live in, as nothing on the earth or in heaven could contain God. Rather, the temple was a reminder (however imperfect) of the glory of God, and a way for them to focus when they prayed.
Yet Solomon asks a question that was before his time, “will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth?” While that time was not yet come, it did come. When Jesus, who is God, literally came and lived among mankind as a man himself, Solomon’s question was answered. And when God sent his Spirit to live within all who believe as a “deposit” of things to come, it became permanent.
How amazing is it that God chooses to dwell among mankind, not just among us, but in us? That is not something to take lightly, but to bring to mind often. So while we now ought not to need a reminder like the temple, physical objects can help trigger our faulty memories. That we might always remember and be mindful of the fact that Jesus was Emmanuel (God with us) and that his Spirit is now God dwelling in us every day. Thank God for that incredible privilege today, and if you don’t know him yet, “seek and you will find!”