King Solomon spent seven years having a temple built for the purpose of worshipping God. It was to be the place where God was pleased to dwell amongst His people, although Solomon was perfectly well aware that God is so vast and mighty that He would not be confined to any one space such as a building made with human hands. It was a grand and magnificent day when the ark of the covenant of the LORD was brought from the city of David, with all its holy furnishings, to be put in the Most Holy Place within the new temple. Would God really come in a tangible way in this new temple?
King Solomon chose the right time of the year. It was Succot, the festival of tabernacles or shelters. This was the annual time for the Israelites to remember how God was with them throughout the time they were in the desert for 40 years.
King Solomon knew what his responsibility as a leader was. He made sure everyone could see him up on a platform and then he knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven and prayed. We have all the details of his prayer. He prayed on behalf of all the people. When he finished praying fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1). Everyone fell to the floor in worship. There were no sceptics or unbelievers in the meeting that day.
This was what the temple was for. No wonder Jesus was angry that the temple could be defiled and become a place of trading and not a house of prayer. God comes with His manifest presence when He is welcomed and invited on His terms. It was His idea to come and dwell with His people in the first place. He initiated it.
How much do we long for the manifest presence of God? Are we prepared to find out what God requires of us in preparation?
Prayer: Lord, we pray that we will be hungry and thirsty for Your presence in our gatherings. We pray that You will show us how to invite You and make You welcome. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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