King Solomon was about to make his father’s dream come true.
In addition to the huge fortune Solomon amassed himself, his father, King David, had set aside a wealth of precious metals and building materials, looking ahead to the day when his son would build a permanent Temple where the God of Israel would live in the midst of his people. David had dreamed of building the Temple, but it would be Solomon who made it a reality.
Solomon built lavishly, with gold and cedar and other precious metals and woods. Besides the reserved gold, silver, bronze and other materials he and his father had put in reserve, he went to other countries for prized cedar and cypress, and hired the most skilled designers and craftsman. His work force numbered over 150,000. The Temple must be magnificent, he declared, “because our God is greater than all other gods.”
And yet he knew that no one could build the Lord of lords a worthy home. “Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him…?” (2 Chronicles 2:6).
At the dedication ceremony of the magnificent structure, Solomon lifted his hands in prayer and again marveled that God would really come to live on earth among his people.
“Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea…Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name” (2 Chronicles 6:18-19 NLT).
Even though this Temple was the most luxurious, lavish outpouring of riches the people had ever seen, Solomon understood the inadequacy of what he was offering to the Lord.
Yet God did come! A thick cloud moved into the Temple, and fire fell from heaven and consumed the sacrifices offered. Part of God’s response to Solomon’s prayer was:
“For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart” (2 Chronicles 7:16 NLT).
Now, God still comes and dwells with His people. Jesus said it first: “My father and I will love them and will come and make our home with them.” Paul writes of our bodies being the temple of the Holy Ghost, God dwelling in us. He also calls us “living stones,” all of us together being built into a temple of the living God, where He lives and His name is honored.
How can we even consider ourselves worthy of being His temple? We know our failings and our frailties. We know how far we are from being a holy temple for the Lord of lords. We know the inadequacies and struggles of His church.
We are all too aware of the many reasons why we are not a pure, perfect, blameless, worthy temple for the Lord God.
Yet God says we are His temple.
He says we are holy because we are His.
He makes His home with His children because He loves us.
He gives us His name.
We are His temple, chosen as the place He dwells on this earth.
Lord, hear our cry and the prayer that we make to you. Who are we, to think we are your dwelling place? But you have put your name on us and said this is where you will live. Because we are dear to your heart, watch over your temple day and night, unworthy though we are.