The Ark Is Brought into the Temple
1 Kings 8
1King Solomon called for the older leaders of Israel, the heads of the tribes,
and the leaders of the families to come to him in Jerusalem. He wanted them to
bring the Ark of the Agreement with the LORD from the older part of the city.
2So all the Israelites came together with King Solomon during the festival in the
month of Ethanim, the seventh month.
3When all the older leaders of Israel arrived, the priests lifted up the Ark.
4They carried the Ark of the LORD, the Meeting Tent, and the holy utensils; the
priests and the Levites brought them up. 5King Solomon and all the Israelites
gathered before the Ark and sacrificed so many sheep and cattle no one could
count them all. 6Then the priests put the Ark of the Agreement with the LORD in
its place inside the Most Holy Place in the Temple, under the wings of the golden
creatures. 7The wings of these creatures were spread out over the place for the
Ark, covering it and its carrying poles. 8The carrying poles were so long that
anyone standing in the Holy Place in front of the Most Holy Place could see the
ends of the poles, but no one could see them from outside the Holy Place. The
poles are still there today. 9The only things inside the Ark were two stone
tabletsthat Moses had put in the Ark at Mount Sinai. That was where the
LORD made his agreement with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.
10When the priests left the Holy Place, a cloud filled the Temple of the
LORD. 11The priests could not continue their work, because the Temple was
filled with the glory of the LORD.
Solomon Speaks to the People
12Then Solomon said, “The LORD said he would live in a dark cloud.
13LORD, I have truly built a wonderful Temple for you—a place for you to live
14While all the Israelites were standing there, King Solomon turned to them
and blessed them.
15Then he said, “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel. He has done what he
promised to my father David. The LORD said, 16‘since the time I brought my
people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel where a
temple will be built for me. But I have chosen David to lead my people Israel.’
17“My father David wanted to build a temple for the LORD, the God of
Israel. 18But the LORD said to my father David, ‘It was good that you wanted to
build a temple for me. 19But you are not the one to build it. Your son, who comes
from your own body, is the one who will build my temple.’
20“Now the LORD has kept his promise. I am the king now in place of David
my father. Now I rule Israel as the LORD promised, and I have built the Temple
for the LORD, the God of Israel. 21I have made a place there for the Ark, in
which is the Agreement the LORD made with our ancestors when he brought
them out of Egypt.”
22Then Solomon stood facing the LORD’S altar, and all the Israelites were
standing behind him. He spread out his hands toward the sky 23and said:
“LORD, God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven above or on earth
below. You keep your agreement of love with your servants who truly follow
you. 24You have kept the promise you made to your servant David, my father.
You spoke it with your own mouth and finished it with your hands today. 25Now
LORD, God of Israel, keep the promise you made to your servant David, my
father. You said, ‘If your sons are careful to obey me as you have obeyed me,
there will always be someone from your family ruling Israel.’ 26Now, God of
Israel, please continue to keep that promise you made to your servant David, my
27“But, God, can you really live here on the earth? The sky and the highest
place in heaven cannot contain you. Surely this house which I have built cannot
contain you. 28But please listen to my prayer and my request, because I am your
servant. LORD my God, hear this prayer your servant prays to you today. 29Night
and day please watch over this Temple where you have said, ‘I will be worshiped
there.’ Hear the prayer I pray facing this Temple. 30Hear my prayers and the
prayers of your people Israel when we pray facing this place. Hear from your
home in heaven, and when you hear, forgive us.
31“If someone wrongs another person, he will be brought to the altar in this
Temple. If he swears an oath that he is not guilty, 32then hear in heaven. Judge
the case, punish the guilty, but declare that the innocent person is not guilty.
33“When your people, the Israelites, sin against you, their enemies will defeat
them. But if they come back to you and praise you and pray to you in this
Temple, 34then hear them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people Israel, and
bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.
35“When they sin against you, you will stop the rain from falling on their
land. Then they will pray, facing this place and praising you; they will stop
sinning when you make them suffer. 36When this happens, please hear their
prayer in heaven, and forgive the sins of your servants, the Israelites. Teach them
to do what is right. Then please send rain to this land you have given particularly
37“At times the land will become so dry that no food will grow, or a great
sickness will spread among the people. Sometimes all the crops will be destroyed
by locusts or grasshoppers. Your people will be attacked in their cities by their
enemy or will become sick. 38When any of these things happen, the people will
become truly sorry. If your people spread their hands in prayer toward this
Temple, 39then hear their prayers from your home in heaven. Forgive and treat
each person as he should be treated because you know what is in a person’s heart.
Only you know what is in everyone’s heart. 40Then your people will respect you
as long as they live in this land you gave to our ancestors.
41-42“People who are not Israelites, foreigners from other lands, will hear
about your greatness and power. They will come from far away to pray at this
Temple. 43Then hear from your home in heaven, and do whatever they ask you.
Then people everywhere will know you and respect you, just as your people in
Israel do. Then everyone will know I built this Temple as a place to worship you.
44“When your people go out to fight their enemies along some road on which
you send them, your people will pray to you, facing the city which you have
chosen and the Temple I have built for you. 45Then hear in heaven their prayers,
and do what is right.
46“Everyone sins, so your people will also sin against you. You will become
angry with them and hand them over to their enemies. Their enemies will capture
them and take them away to their countries far or near. 47Your people will be
sorry for their sins when they are held as prisoners in another country. They will
be sorry and pray to you in the land where they are held as prisoners, saying, ‘We
have sinned. We have done wrong and acted wickedly.’ 48They will truly turn
back to you in the land of their enemies. They will pray to you, facing this land
you gave their ancestors, this city you have chosen, and the Temple I have built
for you. 49Then hear their prayers from your home in heaven, and do what is
right. 50Forgive your people of all their sins and for turning against you. Make
those who have captured them show them mercy. 51Remember, they are your
special people. You brought them out of Egypt, as if you were pulling them out
of a blazing furnace.
52“Give your attention to my prayers and the prayers of your people Israel.
Listen to them anytime they ask you for help. 53You chose them from all the
nations on earth to be your very own people. This is what you promised through
Moses your servant when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, Lord GOD.”
54Solomon prayed this prayer to the LORD, kneeling in front of the altar with
his arms raised toward heaven. When he finished praying, he got up. 55Then, in a
loud voice, he stood and blessed all the people of Israel, saying: 56“Praise the
LORD! He promised he would give rest to his people Israel, and he has given us
rest. The LORD has kept all the good promises he gave through his servant
Moses. 57May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors. May
he never leave us, 58and may he turn us to himself so we will follow him. Let us
obey all the laws and commands he gave our ancestors. 59May the LORD our
God remember this prayer day and night and do what is right for his servant and
his people Israel day by day. 60Then all the people of the world will know the
LORD is the only true God. 61You must fully obey the LORD our God and
follow all his laws and commands. Continue to obey in the future as you do
Sacrifices Are Offered
62Then King Solomon and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the LORD.
63Solomon killed twenty-two thousand cattle and one hundred twenty thousand
sheep as fellowship offerings. So the king and all the people gave the Temple to
64On that day King Solomon made holy the middle part of the courtyard
which is in front of the Temple of the LORD. There he offered whole burnt
offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the fellowship offerings. He offered them
in the courtyard, because the bronze altar before the LORD was too small to hold
all the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat of the fellowship offerings.
65Solomon and all the Israelites celebrated the other festival that came at that
time. People came from as far away as Lebo Hamath and the brook of Egypt. A
great many people celebrated before the LORD for seven days, then seven more
days, for a total of fourteen days. 66On the following day Solomon sent the
people home. They blessed the king as they went, happy because of all the good
things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
After lavishly constructing and decorating the Temple, Solomon offered a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing to God. He praised God and prayed for the people.
As he finished his blessing, Solomon said that God had given rest to his people and had kept his good promises.
The bow cannot always be bent without fear of breaking. For a field to bear fruit, it must occasionally lie fallow. And for you to be healthy, you must rest. Slow down, and God will heal you. He will bring rest to you mind, to your body, and most of all to your soul. He will lead you to green pastures.
Green pastures were not the natural terrain of Judea. The hills around Bethlehem where David kept his flock were not lush and green. Ever today they are white and parched. Any green pasture in Judea is the work of some shepherd. He has cleared the rough, rocky land. Stumps have been torn out, and brush has been burned. Irrigation. Cultivation. Such are the work of a shepherd.
Hence, when David says, "He lets me rest in green pastures" [Psalm 23:2], he is saying, "My shepherd makes me lie down in his finished work.' With his own pierced hands, Jesus created a pasture for the soul. He tore out the thorny underbrush of condemnation. He pried loose the huge boulders of sin. In their place he planted seeds of grace and dug ponds of mercy.
And he invites us to rest there. Can YOU imagine the satisfaction in the heart of the shepherd when, with work completed, he sees his sheep rest in the tender grass?
Can you imagine the satisfaction in the heart of God when we do the same? His pasture is his gift to us. This is not a pasture that you have made. Nor is it a pasture that you deserve. It is a gift of God. "I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God" (Ephesians 2:8).
In a world rocky with human failure, there is a land lush with divine mercy. Your Shepherd invites you there. He wants you to lie down. Nestle deeply until you are hidden, buried, in the tall shoots of his love, and there you will find rest. (From Traveling Light by Max Lucado)
Jesus said that those who are tired and have heavy loads will find rest in his presence. Ask him to loosen your heavy load. Ask him to give you peace and rest. If necessary, take steps to slow down your hectic pace so you can spend more time with the Lord.
Rest - Jeremiah 6:16; 31:25; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 6:31-32; John 7:37-38.