1 Kings 8-9 For the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD

From 1 Kings 8-9

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After building the temple the LORD comes down and fills it with his presence. He fills it with his glory in the form of a cloud. The priests are unable to minister because they cannot enter. This is the second time the LORD has made himself known and dwelt with his people. In the gospel the word becomes flesh and dwells among us. His name is Jesus, in him the glory of God is revealed and lives with us.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

In chapters five through to seven of 1 Kings Solomon is preparing the temple, building the temple and then filling the temple with all its items of worship. In today’s passage Solomon needs to place one more important item in the house of the LORD. The ark of the covenant.

11 ark of the covenant

8 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ houses of the people of Israel, before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion. (1 Ki 8.1)

The ark of the covenant was at the tent of meeting in an older part of Jerusalem . Now Solomon is moving it into the newly completed house of the LORD.

11 holy of holies (Hubbard S et al with Logos Bible Software and KarBel Media 2012 Faithlife Study Bible Infographics Bellingham WA Logos Bible Software)

2 And all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

3 And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark. 4 And they brought up the ark of the LORD, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up.

5 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who had assembled before him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered.

6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim. (1 Ki 8.2-6)

The men of Israel did several things in relocating the ark of the covenant. They all assembled to feast and celebrate. They probably celebrated the feast of booths or tabernacles. Both of these last seven days. They brought up the ark, the tent of meeting and all its contents to Jerusalem and the house of the LORD. They sacrificed thousands of animals in worship.

Then they put the ark in the inner sanctuary of the house. The holy of holies.

7 For the cherubim spread out their wings over the place of the ark, so that the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. 8 And the poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the Holy Place before the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day. 9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone that Moses put there at Horeb, where the LORD made a covenant with the people of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. (1 Ki 8.7-9)

The poles carrying the ark are long. The ark would have needed several people to carry and bear the load. When placed in the holy of holies, the poles extended outside.

The text says, ‘they are there to this day’ indicating it was written prior to the destruction of the temple and the ark being carried away.

The contents of the ark and the story attached are mentioned. The LORD delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, and as king made his covenant with them, giving the law of Moses. The ark of the covenant contains the second set of two tablets Moses wrote the law on. The giving of the law is synonymous with the covenant, hence the association here.

The ark is the most important artifact in the most important place of Israel.

10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD. (1 Ki 8.10-11)

The LORD approves of the house and resides in it. He does so in the form of a cloud. The same cloud that led Israel away from Egypt and through the wilderness to the promised land.

His presence fills the temple. He is so great none of the priests could minister in the house.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

This is the second time the LORD made his presence know by residing in a house made by men. The first was after he had led them from Egypt. He filled the tent of meeting, the tabernacle (Ex 40.34-38).

“But the sovereign God was not bound to reside in the temple. Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the prophet Ezekiel saw in a vision ‘the glory of the LORD’ leaving Jerusalem because of the gross iniquity of its people (Ezk. 11:23); this was later complemented by a further vision of God’s glory returning to enter a future restored temple (Ezk. 43:4).” (Carson, D.A. et al. eds., 1994. New Bible commentary: 21st century edition 4th ed., Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.)

Story of Jesus

The gospel tells us the glory of the LORD manifest itself again in a temple. In the person of Jesus.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. (Jn 1.14-18)

The key words operating in this text are dwelt, glory, fullness, grace, truth and law.

In both cases the presence of God filled his people with awe. But here we see the earlier instances revealed through the law improved. In the gospel God descends in the person of Jesus and resides among his people. A living, walking, talking messiah. Who ushers us into a new relationship with the Father.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.