1 Kings 8:16 (NIV) 16 ‘Since the day I brought my people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built for my Name to be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’
On verses 12-21: After a cloud of God’s presence has miraculously filled the temple (v11), Solomon tells God that this temple is for Him to dwell in (v12-13). He then blesses the entire assembly of Israelites (v14) and tells them about how God faithfully fulfilled the promises He made to Solomon’s father David (v15). Then in verse 16, Solomon quotes God as saying:
“Since the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in Israel to have a temple built so that my Name might be there, but I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.” (v16)
What does this mean? It means that God is more interested in inhabiting people than He is in inhabiting places. Instead of living in a specific physical location on earth, God would rather live in and through the people He has chosen — like David, like Solomon, and like you and me. The temple God most wants to live in is His people. That’s why when you received Christ into your life, the Holy Spirit began living inside you, and your body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit. God’s favourite home is not a mansion in the suburbs, or an ornate building, but the hearts of people.
1 Kings 8:17-19 (NIV) 17 “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 18 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a temple for my Name, you did well to have this in your heart. 19 Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, who is your own flesh and blood–he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’
On verses 17-19: David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Lord, but he never got to see that dream fulfilled in his lifetime. Rather, as God promised, it would be his son Solomon who would build the temple. What can we learn from this? Sometimes God will place a dream in a person’s heart, have that person take the initial ground breaking steps toward that dream but ultimately not let that person fully execute the dream or see the dream fulfilled in its entirety during their lifetime on earth. That is what happened with Moses and the dream of leading the Israelites out of Egypt into the Promised Land. That is what happened with David and the dream of building a temple for God’s name. That is what happened with John the Baptist, who during his life on earth never witnessed Jesus’ resurrection which clearly showed that the one John was preaching about was the long awaited Messiah.
Whether it was Moses, David, or John the Baptist, none of these leaders got to see their God-given dream fulfilled in their lifetime. In the eyes of some, Moses, David and John the Baptist might look like they failed in their mission. But they didn’t fail. Rather, God had simply chosen the next generation after them — the Joshuas, the Solomons, the future disciples — to fulfill the dream and make it a reality. It shows that the dream was actually bigger than the individual who first dreamed it and that it would take more than one generation to fulfill it.
In the same way, God has a big dream He is fulfilling through us, a dream that is bigger than any one person or any one generation. So don’t be surprised if the dream God places in your heart requires the faith and hard work of more than one generation to fulfill it. Praise God! We are part of a much bigger story that God is writing in and through our lives.
1 Kings 8:20-21 (NIV) 20 “The LORD has kept the promise he made: I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 21 I have provided a place there for the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with our fathers when he brought them out of Egypt.”
On verses 20-21: Solomon realizes that he is the living fulfillment of God’s promise to his father David. Similarly, believe it or not, the fact that you are alive today and are learning to trust in Jesus today is the living fulfillment of a promise Jesus made long ago: “I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) Like Solomon, you are the living fulfillment of God’s promise to build His church!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which shows me that I am one part of a much bigger story You are writing, one that involves people who came before me and people who will come after me. It’s a story about Your glory. It’s also a story about Your people and how they learned to trust You from one generation to the next. Thank You that from generation to generation You are faithful and You will fulfill every promise You have made. Thank You that You see my life as the fulfillment of Your promise. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!