Reading: 1 Kings 4-8
Summary: Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem is thought to have been one of the most magnificent structures of the ancient world. It is described as “exceedingly magnificent, of fame and glory throughout all lands” (1 Chron. 22:5). Not only that, but his prayer of dedication for the temple (1 Kings 8) is worthy of close thought and study and surely stands as one of the great prayers recorded in all of the Bible.
The attitude of the people of God toward this place of worship to God is reflected in the opening of Psalm 84:
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house,
ever singing your praise! Selah
Where Is God’s Name?
One of the interesting customs of our culture is for a woman, when she marries, to take the name of her husband, something significant is being communicated about this relationship by this gesture. His name now dwells on her.
In biblical culture (and many European cultures to this day) an individual was identified by their father’s name. For instance, Jesus referred to Peter once as “Simon Barjona” (Matt. 16: 17). In that instance “Barjona” means “son of Jonah.” That’s what distinguished this Simon from others. He bore his father’s name.
Is there something of the same thing at work in the dedication of Solomon’s temple? He said, “I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel” (1 Kings 8:20). Notice how often this thought of a “house for the name” of God is repeated here (see vv. 16, 17, 18, 19). It is also called “the place where you have promised to set your name” (2 Chron. 6:20).
Surely this ties in to what God said through Moses by way of warning as Israel prepared to first enter the promised land. His people were to be very careful not to worship as the inhabitants of the land worshipped or in the places they worshipped. Instead, they were to “seek the place that the Lord your God will choose out of all your tribes to put his name…the place the Lord your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there” (Deut. 12:5, 11; see also 12:21; 14:23-24; 16:2, 6,11; 26:2).
The people who would come to this place and worship God were ones who belonged to Him. His name was placed there and was there; He, too, was also present and those who came to worship belonged to Him. It was a matter of no small importance that God put His name in this place.
This, then, might also help our understanding when in Revelation it is said of the redeemed—referred to as the 144,000—that, among other things, they had “his name [Jesus’] and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Rev. 14:1).
We often think about our names being written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, but we ought also to think of God’s name being written on us.