1 - 3 The Glory of the LORD
1 Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2 The priests could not enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 3 All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the LORD upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the LORD, [saying], “Truly He is good, truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
The coming down of the fire from heaven (verse 1) is an immediate and visible answer of the LORD to the prayer of Solomon. If we make room for God, He comes and fills the room.
God’s answer is related to the value of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, as we see it in “the burnt offering and the sacrifices”. These sacrifices are a picture of Christ in His life and His sacrifice on the cross (Heb 10:5-7) The fire that consumes the sacrifice is not lit by men, but comes from heaven. The fire shows that God has accepted the sacrifice, while the people can go free. A visible proof that God has accepted the sacrifice is that the glory of the LORD fills the house immediately after it.
A house that is filled with the glory of God does not offer room to anything of man (verse 2). That the priests because of the glory of the LORD cannot enter the house of the LORD, shows in picture that in true worship the worshipper does not think of himself. He is not occupied with himself, there is no room for that, but only with the Lord Jesus. Where everything is about the glory and honor of God and His Christ, all worshippers fall down and praise God and Christ (verse 3).
The whole people, “all the sons of Israelites”, are a people of worshippers. Worship is expressed here in the great hymn of praise of the kingdom of peace: “Truly His lovingkindness is everlasting.” It recalls the beginning of the church. No one withdraws from the fellowship, no group separates to have fellowship apart from others. “They were all together in one place” (Acts 2:1b) and then the Holy Spirit is poured out Who will abide forever with and in the believers (Jn 14:16-17).
The glory of the LORD is in the house (verse 1), while the Israelites see that the glory of the LORD is over the house (verse 3). We can compare this to anointing and fulfillment with the Holy Spirit. The anointing with the Holy Spirit indicates the Holy Spirit on or over the believer, that is, in his life can be seen that he is walking and being led by the Spirit. Fulfilment with the Holy Spirit refers to the presence of the Spirit in the believer, through whom the new life has the power to express itself.
4 - 7 Offers for the Dedication of the House
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the LORD. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. Thus the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 The priests stood at their posts, and the Levites also, with the instruments of music to the LORD, which King David had made for giving praise to the LORD—”for His lovingkindness is everlasting”—whenever he gave praise by their means, while the priests on the other side blew trumpets; and all Israel was standing. 7 Then Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that [was] before the house of the LORD, for there he offered the burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to contain the burnt offering, the grain offering and the fat.
The sacrificial service and the praise of the LORD belong together. For all who have returned from Babylon, there is no renewed fulfillment of the temple with the glory of the LORD. Yet there are the altar, the sacrifices and the temple. This is also what has been left to us in a time when the church has fallen into decay and the glory of God is no longer present in the church in the same way as in the beginning.
In bringing sacrifices there is no separation between the leader and the people (verse 4). In the New Testament, all believers are priests, regardless of their position in the church. The oldest and youngest believers come with their sacrifice. The huge peace offering that Solomon brings speaks of the great impression one has of the fellowship of God with His people and of the people among themselves. The house of God is first and foremost a house of prayer, but also of sacrifice and fellowship. If that is experienced, the house is in truth dedicated, that is, the house is used in the way God has given it for.
Also now, in God’s house, there can the glory of the Lord Jesus can be seen, both in His life on earth and now at God’s right hand. Spiritual sacrifices can also be made now and there can be a fellowship meal where God gets His portion and the Lord Jesus and also the people. In particular, this is the case with the Lord’s Supper at the Lord’s Table.
When the house of God is dedicated, the priests stand on their posts and the Levies have musical instruments to praise the LORD. Each is in his own place, no one takes the place of another or does anything else than he has to do. This happens in accordance with what the LORD had previously arranged by Moses and David. Priests offer, Levites sing. These two services are now done by every believer.
Only the musical instruments are mentioned, not the singers. We all are now musical instruments. Just as David played the musical instruments through the mouth of the Levites, so the Lord Jesus does it now with us. He says to His God: “In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise” (Heb 2:12b) and for this He uses us. We offer up a sacrifice of praise to God through Him (Heb 13:15). Christ is the great Singer.
What Solomon has to sacrifice is so much that the bronze burnt offering altar cannot contain it all. That is why he consecrates a part of the court and makes it also a place of sacrifice. ‘Consecrate’ means to separate something from ordinary use and to give it a special purpose. The consecrated part of the court is added to the altar, so that the altar is enlarged and can contain all the sacrifices that are made.
8 - 11 The Feast of Booths Celebrated
8 So Solomon observed the feast at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly [who came] from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar they observed seven days and the feast seven days. 10 Then on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their tents, rejoicing and happy of heart because of the goodness that the LORD had shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel. 11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s palace, and successfully completed all that he had planned on doing in the house of the LORD and in his palace.
“In that time” (verse 8), that is the time of consecration, sacrifice and praise, there is “observed the feast at that time for seven days” by Solomon “and all Israel with him”. The feast of the dedication of the altar lasted seven days (verse 9). After those seven days, the Feast of Booths was also celebrated. This can be seen from the fact that there is talk of “the eighth day”, when a special meeting takes place, and that the people go to their tents on the twenty-third day (Lk 23:33-43).
After the feast, the people go to their tents, “rejoicing and happy of heart” about the goodness of the LORD. They are all impressed by the consecration, sacrifice and worship. “The goodness” is all “that the LORD has shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel”. Thus we may go home rejoicing and happy of heart when we have seen in the meeting of the church what God our Father has done for Christ and His church.
Then the description of the building of the house of the LORD and Solomon’s house is finished (verse 11). Here again we see the close connection between the house of God and the house of the believer (cf. 1Tim 3:5). Activities in the church are not separate from activities at home.
Solomon has done everything that has come into his heart. That certainly does not mean that he has acted according to his own inspiration and insight. What has come into his heart is what has also been in the heart of his father David (1Chr 28:2). David gave him the plan for the temple, with the instruction to execute this plan and to execute it exactly as it is. Because Solomon kept to this, he “successfully completed all” what was in his heart.
12 - 22 The LORD Appears to Solomon
12 Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer [offered] in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man [to be] ruler in Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 As for this house, which was exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ 22 And they will say, ‘Because they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this adversity on them.’”
In these verses the LORD gives an audible answer to Solomon. Solomon asked in the previous chapter: “Now, O my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer [offered] in this place” (2Chr 6:40). Now the LORD answers: “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer [offered] in this place” (verse 15). That He gives this answer means that Solomon’s prayer is a prayer according to His will. The LORD has given all the instructions and Solomon has done nothing but execute them. Yet He presents it here as if everything is the answer to Solomon’s prayer. This shows that God wants to be prayed to. He would like to give what He has in His heart, on the basis of prayer.
The LORD appears in the night to Solomon (verse 12), not in a dream, but visible and real. It is a second apparition (1Kgs 9:2), after the first apparition at Gibeon (2Chr 1:3,7). It happens at night, when the eye is not distracted by other things. He tells Solomon that He heard his prayer and chose the place of the house “as a house of sacrifice”. This reflects the beautiful intention of the house. Sacrificing means offering. We may offer our prayers, but also our worship to God in the meetings of the church, now the house of God. He chose that house for that purpose.
The LORD repeats that His discipline must strike his people when they deviate from him. He mentions some of these means of punishment (verse 13). He uses those means to bring His people to repentance, what will be evident from their confession. This answer is about restoration after sin and confession. There can never be restoration from blessing regardless of the conditions He mentions (verse 14). When these conditions are met, blessing comes again from heaven.
There follows a wonderful impression of God’s feelings for this house, His house (verses 15-16). God speaks of His eyes, His ears and His heart that go out to this house and of His Name that dwells there, and not just for a moment, but “forever”. Wouldn’t His house in this time, the church, also be worth all our attention and effort?
We see God’s counsel on the one hand (verses 17-18) and God’s ways on the other (verses 19-22). According to God’s counsel, there shall not lack a man of David’s descendants on the throne. In the ways of God, the line of the succession to the throne will be interrupted in case of unfaithfulness. Until God’s counsel is finally fulfilled in the great Son of David, the Lord Jesus.
We can apply the warning (verses 19-22) to a local church. If a local church deviates from the Lord Jesus by ignoring His directions in His Word, He must remove the lampstand of testimony (Rev 2:5). It begins when the leaders become unfaithful and bind people to themselves rather than to the Lord. Then a form of idolatry arises. An idol is everything that takes the place of the Lord Jesus, that displaces Him from the first and only place in the church. Then He goes away, because He does not impose Himself. The result is that the lampstand is removed from a local church. The light is extinguished. In the end, there is nothing more to see of Christ.
The deeper cause is that “they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them from the land of Egypt” (verse 22). If we forget that the Lord Jesus “gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age” (Gal 1:4) to live for Him, other things will fill our lives and our testimony will be lost. If the Lord then disciplines us by bringing evil upon us, that is His love. He wants to bring us back to His heart and in the enjoyment of the blessing.