King David brought the ark of the covenant law to Jerusalem (a.k.a. Zion), but God wouldn't allow him to build an immoveable temple to house it; that task fell to his son, King Solomon, and this passage records the events of the ceremonial Opening Day.
- King Solomon summons all the important people to his presence.
- The priests carry the ark from its previous temporary, mobile home, the tabernacle (a.k.a. tent of meeting), sacrificing to God along the way. They bring the ark, the tabernacle and all the rest of the tabernacle's contents to the inner sanctuary of the newly built temple.
- The priests withdraw from the Holy Place and a cloud fills the temple, just as a cloud had filled the tabernacle when it was first established [Exodus 40:34], symbolising God's presence filling the holy building.
- Just as when the cloud filled the tabernacle Moses was prevented from entering [Exodus 40:35], the priests are prevented from entering the temple, and cannot perform their service.
- King Solomon recognises the sign of God's presence in the temple (possibly referencing Exodus 19:9), and declares that he has built the temple for God to dwell in forever, as God promised his father David.
Solomon lets the people know that God has kept his promise [8:15, 20]. But he is also keen to let the people know that it is Solomon who has been the vehicle through whom God has kept those promises. In 8:20-21, Solomon admits "The LORD has kept the promise he made" but then goes on to make not one but four I statements about what he has done:
- "I have succeeded David";
- "I sit on the throne";
- "I have built the temple"; and
- "I have provided a place for the ark."
Despite King Solomon's attempts to usurp God's glory, it is clear that the LORD has indeed kept his promises. God has brought King David's son Solomon to the throne, just as he promised David [2 Samuel 7:12]. God has allowed Solomon to build the temple, just as he promised David [2 Samuel 7:13]. God has enabled Solomon to provide a place for the ark, the house of cedar David wanted to build, just as he promised David [2 Samuel 7:2, 13]. God always keeps his promises.
Solomon's temple was the place in space where God was officially present. He made his dwelling there, among men. Yet, Paul later confessed [Acts 17:24], "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands." Rather, Jesus is the living presence of God, dwelling among people as his nickname, Immanuel (God with us / the immanent God), attests.
In Jesus, God truly fulfilled his promise to David. God raised up David's offspring [2 Samuel 7:12], because Jesus was, through Mary and his foster father Joseph, a descendant of David [Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-37]. God built a permanent house for the LORD's name [2 Samuel 7:13], because Jesus is God, having the exact same nature and character [remember John 1:1-18, Colossians 1:15-23 and Hebrews 1:1-4?]. God raised up a king whose kingdom will endure forever [2 Samuel 7:16], which kingdom Jesus is presently bringing into being [Mark 1:15]. God keeps all his promises in and through Jesus.
Paul wrote that, because God's Holy Spirit indwells Christians, we are to honour God with our bodies [1 Corinthians 6:20]. I honour my body not by glorifying myself (as Solomon tried to do) but by looking after my body, my mind and my soul as best I can. I have begun to eat healthily and exercise daily. I keep my mind alert with various intellectual pursuits. I spend time with God's word and in prayer daily. In all these things, not merely the last, which appears to be the most spiritual, I honour God with my body.
> What do you do to honour God with your body, since your body is a temple to the Holy Spirit?
Jesus is "Immanuel", God dwelling with us; not in a temple made of cedar or stone, but in my heart, by his Holy Spirit.
I want to honour you with my body,
since you dwell in me and have made me your temple.
I want to be able to say honestly that I am taking care
of my temple of your Holy Spirit.
I haven't been doing that health-wise for many years,
and I am sorry.
Please forgive me for treating your temple disrespectfully
and overeating until I became obese.
Please help me to eat healthily, exercise daily,
lose weight and gain health,
so that I may honour you with my physical body.
Now I'm off to do my exercise and drink my breakfast juice!