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Dedication of the Temple


Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would reside in thick darkness.

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Solomon's Prayer to God. (b. c. 1004.)

1 Then said Solomon, The Lord hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.   2 But I have built a house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.   3 And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.   4 And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,   5 Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:   6 But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.   7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.   8 But the Lord said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build a house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:   9 Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.   10 The Lord therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord God of Israel.   11 And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the Lord, that he made with the children of Israel.

It is of great consequence, in all our religious actions, that we design well, and that our eye be single. If Solomon had built this temple in the pride of his heart, as Ahasuerus made his feast, only to show the riches of his kingdom and the honour of his majesty, it would not have turned at all to his account. But here he declares upon what inducements he undertook it, and they are such as not only justify, but magnify, the undertaking. 1. He did it for the glory and honour of God; this was his highest and ultimate end in it. It was for the name of the Lord God of Israel (v. 10), to be a house of habitation for him, v. 2. He has indeed, as to us, made darkness his pavilion (v. 1), but let this house be the residence of that darkness; for it is in the upper world that he dwells in light, such as no eye can approach. 2. He did it in compliance with the choice God had been pleased to make of Jerusalem, to be the city in which he would record his name (v. 6): I have chosen Jerusalem. A great many stately buildings there were in Jerusalem for the king, his princes, and the royal family. If God chooses that place, it is fit that there be a building for him which may excel all the rest. If men were thus honoured there, let God be thus honoured. 3. He did it in pursuance of his father's good intentions, which he never had an opportunity to put into execution: "It was in the heart of David my father to build a house for God;" the project was his, be it known, to his honour (v. 7), and God approved of it, though he permitted him not to put it in execution (v. 8), Thou didst well that it was in thy heart. Temple-work is often thus done; one sows and another reaps (John iv. 37, 38), one age begins that which the next brings to perfection. And let not the wisest of men think it any disparagement to them to pursue the good designs which those that went before them have laid, and to build upon their foundation. Every good piece is not an original. 4. He did it in performance of the word which God had spoken. God had said, Thy son shall build the house for my name; and now he had done it, v. 9, 10. The service was appointed him, and the honour of it designed him, by the divine promise; so that he did not do it of his own head, but was called of God to do it. It is fit that he who appoints the work should have the appointing of the workmen; and those may go on in their work with great satisfaction who see their call to it clear.