Sunday, March 17, 2013

CXXVII - Chapter 8 - Solomon Dedicated the Temple

As we saw in the last post in chapter 7, Solomon has spent twenty years, just about his entire adult life, building the Temple and the adjacent buildings.  The first seven years were spent building the Temple itself and its furnishings.  Although we have already looked Solomon building the palace and other government buildings in chapter 7, we will actually go back 13 years in time as we study chapter 8.  This chapter tells of the dedication of the Temple, which took place just a few months after the building of the Temple was complete.  Solomon certainly did not allow the Temple to go thirteen years as a vacant building while he completed the rest of the complex.  He had placed all the furnishings and utensils in their proper places inside the Temple.  It was now time to dedicate the Temple and begin using it to worship and sacrifice to God, which is why it was built.

Chapter 8  -   Solomon gathered together all the elders, chiefs and other leaders of all twelve tribes of Israel.  He wanted to make this occassion as special and memorable as was possible.  He strategically chose the time of this dedication to coincide with the Feast of Tabernacles, which commemorated Israel's wandering in the wilderness.  This celebration always took place in the month of Ethanim, the seventh month of the Hebrew calender.  Solomon's first order of business in this dedication was to bring the Ark of the Covenant to the Temple and place it into its rightful place, underneath the two golden cheribum in the Holy of Holies, the innermost room.  Note in verses 3-4 that although all the tribal dignitaries were present, only the Levites were to transport the Ark.  During this time (vs 5) they were sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that it could not be counted.  The Scripture indicates that Solomon himself was constantly setting the tone and leadiong by example, which was his leadership style.  The Levites placed the Ark in the Holy of Holies.  It said the poles were so long they stuck out so that they could be seen from the Holy Place, the main room in the Temple. 
[Remember, the Ark could only be transported by carrying it by the two poles placed through the golden rings attached to the four corners of the Ark.  The poles must have been longer than
thirty feet as they extended past the entrance to the Holy of Holies, which was thirty foot cubed.}  Note in verse 9 where it says there was nothing inside the Ark except the tablets containing the Ten Commandments.  I researched and I could not find what happened to Aaron's staff or the pot of Manna during this time.  {Brief review:  Under the supervision of Moses, the Ark of the Covenant was built of acacia wood covered with gold when Israel was in the wilderness.  After entering the Promised Land the Ark was in Bethel, Shechem, and Shiloh.  The Philistines captured the Ark and moved it to five different places because so much trouble took place every place they put it.  Due to these many problems and plagues, they sent it back to Israel and it ended up in Kirjath-jearim, where it stayed until David moved it (unsuccessfully) and it rested in Obededom until David's second try when he moved it successfully to a part of Jerusalem known as Zion, which was called the City of David for quite a number of years.}

Vs 10 - When the Ark was set in its proper place in the Temple and the Levites cleared the Holy of Holies, the cloud (which always represented God's presence) filled the temple.  It says the cloud was so overwhelming that the priests could not perform their priestly duties inside the main room in the Temple.  Vss 10-->  When Solomon saw the cloud consume the Temple he knew that God was pleased with His earthly dwelling place.  {We all know, as did Solomon, that no place, including the earth and the entire universe as we know it, could contain the Lord.  However, the mercy seat on top of the Ark of the Covanent was God's chosen place from which He would receive the sacrificial transfer of His people by the High Priest and grant atonement.}

At this time Soloman turned to the people in the Temples courtyard and delevered a speech of dedication to God.  He started his speech by praising God, followed by recounting God's merciful and miraculous acts.  He mentioned his father David's disire to build the Temple, but God reserved that task for his son Solomon.  Then, in verses 22-52, Solomon lifted up his hands and voiced a prayer.  As you read this beautiful prayer by Solomon, it is easy to see how Solomon saw God and also how he saw his own people Israel.  He praised God throughout this prayer, and several times asked God to forgive His people in the event of certain situations he knew would find themselves into the heart of Israel (he was correct).   In this prayer Solomon pleaded that God would hear the prayers and suppications of His people when they repented of their sins and begged forgiveness and deliverence.  All of Solomon's petitions assumed that Israel would sin against God.  He mentioned in his prayer seven instances which would require God's help.  In each instance, Solomon requested that God would hear, forgive, and restore.  {Vss 41-43 - This is important to all of us Gentiles:  Solomon also made reference of the foreigner which indicated that Solomon recognized God as the God of all people, not just Israel.}

Vss 56-61 - After Solomon completed his prayer, he turned to address the people once again.  In these verses, Solomon references both the Mosaic Covanent and the Davidic covanent.  The Mosaic Covanent was God's promise that if Israel would obey His laws as written in the Ten Commandments and the extended writings of Moses, God would protect and bless Israel as God's chosen people.  The Davidic Covanent was God's promose to keep a descendent of David on the throne of Israel as long as the king would keep His commandments and statutes.  Both of these covanents were emphasized by Solomon during this speech to the tribal leaders.  In the remaining verses of this chapter the Scripture tells of hundreds of thousands of animals sacrificed during this celebration, which lasted fourteen days.  On the fifteenth day Solomon sent the people away, joyful and glad in their hearts.  The final verse says that as the people departed, they blessed king Solomon, which at that time was considered a statement of approval and a pledge of allegience to their king.  Solomon hndled this situation perfectly.

Next post  -  Chapter 9  -  The Lord appears to Solomon

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