Solomon had built the temple to honor God. It was a good temple, but one question remained. Would God find his dwelling in the temple? Solomon’s prayer invited God to dwell inside his temple, and God affirmed that request. In the New Testament, our bodies are God’s temples. Regardless of what we do to try to make the dwelling place fit for our Heavenly King, all is vain unless we invite Jesus to live inside our hearts.
2 Chronicles 6: 18-21
18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
2 Chronicles 7:11-16
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
Solomon followed the ways of his father, David, early in his time as king. He wanted to complete the work of making a temple for God, and he used the plans and resources left from his father’s reign. Conscripted labor for years, precious metals, rare cedar from Lebanon, sculptures, and woven linen adorned the temple. Designed to show the splendor of God, Solomon’s temple inspired awe in all that saw the temple. Solomon had made an impressive effort to make his temple all that God would want it to be.
Only one question remained – would God come to dwell in the house meant for him? I love that Solomon acknowledges that there is nothing on earth that he could do to ensure God’s indwelling in the temple. He invited God to come into the temple, and God accepted.
The New Testament teaches that we are God’s temple. Like Solomon, we can follow the teachings of our devout parents – but this is not enough to ensure that God will dwell within us. We can try to make our temple splendid by following the rules or by making it beautiful – but this does not mean that God will dwell with us. God responded to Solomon as He will respond to us when we request that He come and dwell inside of us. Jesus’s death and resurrection made this indwelling of the spirit possible. God is waiting to respond, but we have to invite him to come. Understand that you are a sinner and believe that only Jesus (as the only son of God)’s blood can provide remedy for your sin – turn away from sin and towards God and accept the gracious gift that he has offered to you. It’s that simple – just ask.