After bringing both the people and God into the dedication, the miracle of the sacrifice being burnt up by fire from heaven and the glory of the Lord filling the temple occurs. Solomon has called the people to reflect on the fact that the temple existing was God’s idea; and before them he has reflected back to God the unconditional promise made to his father David that dynastically there would always be a king on the throne of David; contrasting the fellowship and forgiveness promises which were conditional on obedience.
The event echoes one in David’s life when a sacrifice made at Ornan was similarly burnt up (1 Chronicles 21). Other echoes also hearken back to David’s reign: the instruments are those made to accompany one of David’s psalms, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever’. Furthermore, because the altar is not big enough to hold the sacrifices made on the temple dedication day, Solomon consecrated for sacrifice the middle part of the courtyard v.7, which may have been the original rock threshing floor on which David made his sacrifice. In any case, both supernatural burnings-up of sacrifices mean the same thing: the sacrifice is acceptable to God. He is in the house, as it were!
The feast of vs. 8-10 is the feast of Tabernacles. Some scholars believe that in David’s day this was the most important of the seven Jewish feasts. In any case, it hearkens back to the wandering-in-the-wilderness of Moses and the people before the conquest of the land. The people made booths or temporary huts for shelter. The festival points to the provision, protection and guidance of God during those 40 years. Tabernacles means dwelling, but also more importantly, to God dwelling with his people. The dedication of Solomon’s temple marks the high point in the reality of this fact for the God’s people. The huts in the desert were temporary and were meant as a reminder of the fleeting nature of human life on earth. Yet the everlasting God dwells with him. For us believers this idea transmutes to looking back to Emmanuel, Christ with us in his first coming, and forward to his return in his second.
Jesus is referred in the New Testament as tabernacling with believers; and referred to himself as the temple ‘in three days, I will build it up’. Believers too are regarded as temples of the Holy Spirit, indwelling them as he does.
Although approved by God in Solomon’s day, the temple is no longer necessary for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus is now the focal point of these things. In him alone, through faith, can we attain them!
Have you received forgiveness of your sins yet? Why not take some time today to lay before Jesus anything that remains unconfessed.