22: “Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to Heaven.” – Solomon had fulfilled his destiny as God had promised and now he stood before God and all of Israel, dedicating the new temple for the purpose of serving and worshiping God.
27: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Even heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, much less this house that I have built.” – Solomon is teaching those assembled to open their hearts and minds to the possibility that God resides throughout the heavens, not simply within a little box in a special room inside a man-made temple.
29: “…that your eyes may be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may heed the prayer that your servant prays toward this place.” – Solomon is asking that God focus on and give special attention to the prayers that are lifted in the temple.
41: “Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a distant land because of your name…” – People from around the world are going to hear about God and they will be attracted to His house in order to find out more about Him.
43: “So that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you.” – The intent of the temple is not to hide God away and keep Him from the world. Instead, it is a place with open doors that invites the world to experience and come to know God.
Points to Contemplate:
Where do you go to find God?
Do you seek Him out in special places? If God is everywhere including within your heart, why do we need churches and temples? What purpose do they serve? Can you effectively worship God without going to a church? Or is there something holy about a church sanctuary? Does it provide for your needs of special comfort or feelings of closeness that you can’t find anywhere else? Is it a place that allows you to break away from the busyness of your life and provide a quiet moment so you can be with God?
Is your church open for the world? Solomon suggests that people who do not know God, (foreigners) will be attracted to His church in order to learn more about Him. Is your church prepared to receive the “foreigner” that God is attracting? Is the environment friendly? Are there signs to help visitors find their way around the building? Are members of your congregation sensitive to people who have come looking for closer relationships with God? What more can you do to help them find God when they arrive? Do you see that people may be attracted to a building as they seek God but they will find Him revealed through the lives of the people they meet when they get there?
What promises has God made for your church? Are you fulfilling a destiny that was envisioned and proscribed to its founders? Solomon outlined a vision for the temple where the children of Israel would forever walk before God as David did. What is the purpose that God is intending for your church to fulfill? Are there specific reasons why your church is located where it is and has attracted the people it has attracted? Does your congregation have a clear understanding of God’s vision for their church and are they working in harmony to fulfill that plan and purpose? Are you walking forever before God? Are you purposeful in the way you teach others about God? Are you developing fully devoted disciples of Christ? Do you reach out to the poor and needy with the love of Christ? Are you taking the light of Christ to the world? Do you see how your church can become so much more than a simple building sitting on a street corner, even if that church happens to be as magnificent as Solomon’s temple? Promises of the Gospel:
In the dedication ceremony for the magnificent temple that Solomon had taken years to build, he did not discuss the building at all. He discussed God’s presence and he discussed the people that God would attract to that building. Churches provide a place for us to gather, to worship, and to pray. They give us a place to break away from the deafening din that dominates our lives. However, no matter how beautiful a structure, a church is nothing more than a building. It is the people that are walking before God within that building that make the difference. Solomon is calling us to remember our purpose as a church. He is suggesting that we recognize that people who are seeking relationships with God will come to our churches and because of that, it is imperative that we are prepared to meet their needs and to be focused on how we can lead them into closer relationships with God.