What does it say?
Solomon leads the dedication of the temple in this long chapter. He has the Ark of the Covenant brought in correctly according to the Law, unlike David on his first attempt. Solomon’s prayer is a masterwork of theology, prayer and mission. The dedication ceremony includes massive offerings and sacrifices to God, making this the most spectacular moment with God since Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai.
2Chr 5 is as short as 1Ki 8 is long, but is from the same occasion. It focuses on bringing the ark into the temple and the glory of God filling the temple.
What does it mean?
The picture of the presence of God’s glory dwelling in the midst of his people is a vision of God’s grand purpose in creation. Clearly God loves each individual and each individual can have a loving relationship with God. However, the clear emphasis in the Bible is God dwelling in the midst of the community of his people as we see here.
At the very heart of this picture of God’s glory dwelling among his people and Solomon’s magnificent prayer is the pulse of God’s global mission. Pay close attention to 1Kings 8:41-43; 59-60. Another prominent theme in Solomon’s prayer is aptly summarized in 8:56 that not one word of all of God’s promises had failed.
God desire is for his glory to dwell in the midst of the community of his people. He always keeps his promises and his ultimate purpose is for all the peoples of the world to know him. In 2Chr 4:11-14 all these themes come together. Just as 120 priests blowing trumpets join with the singers as one, God’s glory fills the temple. This is very similar to what happened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1-2) when 120 New Testament “priests” left the upper room to unite their voices in the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as God’s glory came down in their presence.
How will I respond?
What are two lessons that I can learn and apply immediately from Solomon’s prayer? Do I truly understand that God’s glory is manifested in the midst of his people, or do I still think it’s all about me alone?