1 Kings 8:22-24
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, 23 and said, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day.
In the name of + Jesus.
Temple had now been built. The temple had been furnished with the finest of adornments to accompany the presence of the living God. The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD had been brought had been placed in its resting place within the inner sanctuary, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. With everything now in place, Solomon had blessed the Lord, and in the words above, he began his dedicatory prayer.
Previously, the LORD had been present with His people in the Tabernacle as a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night (Ex 13:21). Now, the days of the Tabernacle were over, and the days of the Temple had begun, but one thing would remain. God had promised to be present with His people. And there, in the Temple, He would be. There in the Temple, He would receive the prayers of His people, and offer mercy and grace in the blood of the sacrifices. There He would be, keeping His promises. For this, Solomon gives all thanks and praise!
Fast forward about 1,000 years, to the time of Christ, and now we have the days of the Temple coming to an end. When Jesus gave up His spirit, and breathed His last, the temple curtain was torn in two. When Jesus had died for the sins of humanity, the great wall of separation that existed between God and man, was undone. When the wrath of the Father had been poured out on His Son, the Temple would cease to be the place where God would be found. But, as He had always promised, the LORD would still be present.
And for that, like Solomon of old, we are able to give all thanks and praise. Whenever the Word of God is read; whenever the Word of God is taught and preached; whenever the Word of God is combined with Water and applied to a Son of Adam; whenever the Word of God is spoken over bread and wine and placed into mouths; whenever the Word of God is placed into ears, there is the LORD dwelling with His people.
The LORD is not far off—He is with you to the end of the age. With His Word of promise He is present to forgive, and to comfort, and to strengthen you until, one day, you would be in His presence in glory.
Thanks be to God! Like in the days of old, where the LORD was present in the Tabernacle, and then in the Temple, today, the LORD is present in many and various ways, when He speaks to you in the Words of His Son—the Words of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the name of + Jesus. Amen.
Merciful Father, You have chosen to come among us and bless us with the priceless gifts of faith, hope, and love. For this we thank and praise You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.