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Bible Commentaries
1 Kings 8

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

Verses 1-53

  1. Intro: Containing an Uncontainable God or, The Localized Presence of God.
    1. Johann Sebastian Bach said, All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment; where this is not remembered there is no real music but only a devilish hub-bub.
      1. He headed his compositions: J.J. Jesus Juva which means, Jesus help me.
      2. G.F.Handel put S.D.G. Soli Deo Gloria which means Glory to God alone, at the end of a manuscript.
        1. ​​​​​​​When the Temple was finished, Solomon held a week long celebration to dedicate it
        2. And He made sure it was Glory to God alone!
    1. ​​​​​​​The celebration begins with the bringing in of the ark of the covenant (& tent/Tab).
      1. We start with the ark of the covenant. Where He comes, indwells. It signifies His presence.
      2. Did you know He doesn’t just come inside our heart...but in 1 Thes.5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    2. (10,11) And there was something else that happened (fire!) see 2 Chron.7:1-5.
      1. The fire coming down from heaven also signified God’s presence.
    3. The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord –
      1. The house of the Lord is never to be the chief focus of our attention.
      2. The Lord of the house is to be the focus of all that we do when we gather together for worship.
    4. The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord [Heb Kabod. Gk doxa]. This was none other than the Shekinah Glory, which was often used to represent the presence of Almighty God.
      1. The cloud was seen at the giving of the Law on Sinai. It was…
      2. The cloud by day, fire by night in the wilderness. It was…
      3. That cloud that passed by Moses in the cleft of the rock. It was…
      4. The same cloud that filled the Tabernacle, & filled Solomon’s’ Temple here.
        1. In the NT it had been 600 years since anyone had seen the shekinah glory, but then it was witnessed at Jesus’ Transfiguration. Then at Jesus’ Ascension. And later it will be at Jesus’ Return.
      5. One day we will be in this same cloud...Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thes.4:17
    5. The cloud, the glory = His acceptance of this place. I will make my home with you.
  3. SOLOMON’S SPEECH (12-21)
    1. ​​​​​​​Dark Cloud - usually associated with trouble or punishment, but here suggest the inexplicable mystery of God.
      1. There was no light (man-made) in the most Holy Place.
      2. This dark cloud was a thick darkness that would mask God’s glory, & permit man to be able to approach. [I picture it coming in darkness & then exploding in light]
    2. (14-21) The temple was a place of testimony, bearing witness that God keeps His word.
    3. The perhaps surprising consequence to the belief that God was present in Israel was that he was not present outside Israel.
      1. Naaman the Syrian (rt after being healed from leprosy) he asked Elisha permit him to take two muleloads of Israelite soil back to Syria so that he might worship Yahweh there, something one could not otherwise do on Syrian soil (2 Kgs 5:17).
  4. SOLOMON’S PRAYER (22-53)
    1. ​​​​​​​(23) Mercy - keeping the covenant and the steadfast love.
    2. (28) Cry - the Hebrew word, rinnah, indicates a strong raising of the voice that can be either a cry of fright or a cry of joy.
    3. We see from this verse that the temple was also to be a place of prayer. Even for the stranger in foreigner vs.41. In Jesus’s time the religious leaders would turn the house of prayer into a den of thieves.
    4. (27) Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built.
    5. Omnipresence - (omni = all) God is unlimited with respect to space.
      1. Wayne Grudem, God does not have size or spatial dimensions and is present at every point of space with His whole being, yet God acts differently in different places. Systematic Theology, pg.173.
      2. Ps.139:7-10 Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.
      3. Solomon explains, though he builds God this house, he knows God cannot be contained by any space.
        1. Everywhere present w/His whole being - reminds us that we are encouraged in prayer no matter where we are. But also when it comes to worshipping Him, there really isn’t some special place to worship Him.
      4. Our human spirits are finite spirits, they are not now, nor ever will be capable of being in more than 1 place at 1 time. Only an infinite Spirit is capable of omnipresence.
      5. God is fully present in every place (called His immensity) - We believers in California enjoy the fulness of the presence of God while believers in Kiev enjoy that same presence. [This doesn’t have to do with His size, but His ability to be fully present everywhere]
        1. Thats why we can be certain of God’s undivided attention.
    6. (35,36) In the context of the no rain Scenario God said, 2 Chron.7:14-16 NLT Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy - a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
      1. ​​​​​​​Now read 2 Chron.7:16 again in relation to our bodies being the house/ the temple/the dwelling place of God.
    7. DEDICATION devote - consecrate
    8. Reminds me of the farmers cow that became pregnant with twins. His wife encouraged him, since God blessed him w/2, to dedicate 1 cow to the Lord. So, he raised them both the same, but then 1 got sick. In caring for him he went out to the barn & found it had died. His wife saw him come into the house discouraged, she asked what happened. He responded, the Lord’s cow just died.
    9. Dedication - We need to make sure that whatever we dedicate to the Lord is a milestone but never a millstone. That it only begins a greater work & isn’t the end of a finished work.
      1. What value is a dedicated temple w/o a dedicated people?
      2. What hypocrisy for a business man to dedicate his business to the Lord, but not his business practices.
        1. Eg. a fish on the business card, but not the Lord in his heart.
      3. What hypocrisy for a family to dedicate their home to the Lord, but not their family practices.
        1. Eg. a formal house dedication, but not the heart/home dedication.
      4. What hypocrisy for a ministry leader to dedicate his ministry to the Lord, but not himself.
        1. Eg. an open house ceremony, but not an open heart.
    10. I’ve done baby/parent dedications, church dedications, house dedications, even business dedications.
      1. Regarding a house…What’s the most important part of a house? (foundation, plumbing, electrical?) No, the hearts of the people who live there.
      2. That’s what David said when he was dedicating his house to the Lord.
        1. If you want to wreck your house, start wrecking your home. If you want to wreck your home, start wrecking your heart. But if you want your house & your home to be all that God wants it to be, then make your heart perfect.
    11. Read Psalm 101:1-5
    12. To dedicate your house, you must dedicate your home. To dedicate your home, you must dedicate your heart.
      1. David wanted a perfect heart. (i.e. blameless)
        1. As opposed to a perverse heart (4). Or a opposed to a proud heart (5).
      2. What is a Perfect heart? – not sinless but sincere, w/o pretense.
        1. John called it walking in the light. 1 Jn.1:5-10
        2. It has to do w/integrity, wholeness, oneness…a heart not divided.
    13. (1) I will (9 x’s). And shall (6 x’s)
      1. This is not so much what he actually is as what he ought to be.
      2. 2nd Samuel tells the story of his short falls in his family & w/his appointments to office. (Absalom, Amnon)
      3. Its principles here are applicable to all persons in authority in any age.
    14. (2) Heart – Your heart affects your home…both need to be dedicated to the Lord.
      1. (Phillips Brooks) Strength of character may be acquired at work, but beauty of character is learned at home. There the affections are trained. There the gentle life reaches us, the true heaven life. In one word, the family circle is the supreme conductor of Christianity.
    15. Within my home – it seems much easier to walk perfectly among strangers than in one’s house.
      1. What we are at home, we are indeed.
      2. Are you a saint abroad, but a devil at home?
      3. King David does not try to compartmentalize his ethics. He’s accountable to the same God at work as at home.
      4. Understand that in the home-life God is educating & training you for the greatest victories.
        1. No need to run to conventions, sermons, or books on the subject, resolve to walk in your house w/a perfect heart.
        2. Seek the blameless heart in your home-life, then God will come to you & dwell beneath your roof, as He did in Bethany (Mary, Martha, Lazarus).
      5. So, the king pledges himself to a godly morality from the inside out.

Verses 54-66

  1. Intro: The Compass Isn’t Broke
    1. Ash Wednesday is today - its starts 40 days of fasting & the Lent season (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. Its name is from the practice of placing ashes (from Palm branches) on the forehead as a celebration and reminder of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God.
      1. Similar to sackcloth and ashes in the OT.
      2. It’s a day to reflect on the state of your heart and mind. A day to take stock of your relationship with God, and to accept the grace that He freely offers.
        1. What do you need to confess with this ash-laden season of your life?
      3. Remember, it starts with ash Wed, but ends with resurrection!
    2. Here in 8:54-66 we have a group pleading together for their country. This is how to pray for a nation. This is how to pray for yourself.
      1. Renewed obedience is essential to being a forgiven child of God.
    3. From last week, Solomon is still up on the Temple Mount, standing out front of the Temple dedicating the first & brand new temple itself.
      1. Read vs. 54,55.
      2. There is an important aspect to Holistic Worship
        1. Holistic = relating to a whole: including or involving all of something. [Holistic emphasizes treatment of the whole person, including body, mind, emotions, spirit]
        2. The Greek Philosopher Plato said, The cure of many diseases is unknown to the physicians of Hellas(old name for Greece), because they are ignorant of the whole, which ought to be studied also; for the part can never be well unless the whole is well...This is the great error of our day in the treatment of the human body, that the physicians separate the soul from the body.
        3. Thus worship is applied to all of a Christians’ life. Everything in our life should be an act of worship.
          1. We can have an awe inspiring response to worship. Or, an intelligent response. emotional. grateful. instrumental. vocal. physical. a ready response. An appropriate response. supernatural (enemy flee). personal. corporate. revitalized. a giving response. a focused response.
          2. Here we see Solomon’s physical response - true worship may cause us to bow, kneel, stand, clap, lift hands, sway (i.e. change posture).
    4. Notice Solomon’s emphasis/theme on the heart in this chapter…
      1. Each one knows his own heart (38). God knows the heart (39). We are to return to God with all of our heart (48). God must incline our hearts to obedience (58). God wants each of us to have a loyal heart (61).
      2. So I thought a great way to go through this chapter was to make it personal to our heart. We’ll be stopping & having personal prayer time after each point.
        1. Allowing ourselves deep reflective thought. Examination. Inspection. Observation.
        2. Not christian mysticism. I’m thinking more like Mary when she pondered these things in her heart. (to meditate for answers)
        3. Let’s start w/ What do you need to confess with this ash-laden season of your life?
  2. BLESSING (54-61)
    1. ​​​​​​​PEACE (56a) - Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel according to all He promised.
      1. Rest - resting place, a new dwelling place.
        1. ​​​​​​​Is there a rest/peace promised to us also in the NT? [my peace I give you. I will give you rest]
      2. *Prayer/contemplation: Do you feel at rest/at peace...with your salvation? your soul? your walk? - With your love for God? With His love for you?
    2. PROMISE (56b) - according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses.
      1. Msg, Not one of all those good and wonderful words that he spoke through Moses has misfired. [Dan/I. Handgun course/turning timed targets. ammo/fail to discharge. Type1 malf]
      2. A man who lived in northern Michigan went for a walk in a dense forest so immense that a person could easily get lost. When darkness began to settle in, he decided it was time to head home. He was used to being in the woods and had a keen sense of direction, so he didn't bother to look at his compass. After walking for a long time, however, he decided he'd better check to make sure he was going in the right direction. He was surprised when the compass indicated he was going west - not east as he had thought. But the man was so sure of his own sense of direction that he thought there must be something wrong with the compass. He was about to throw it away in disgust when the thought came to him: My compass has never lied to me, maybe I should believe it. The man eventually found his way out of the woods and arrived home safely because he trusted his compass and didn't rely on himself.
        1. Solomon told the congregation of Israel that not one word of all His good promise had failed. That assurance still stands. What God promises, He performs. His instructions are always trustworthy. He will never lead us astray. R W De Haan
      3. *Prayer/contemplation: Do you really believe God has never had a misfire? Has He ever broken a promise to you?
    3. PRESENCE (57) - May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us. [Heb.13:5, Deut.31:6, Josh 1:5]
      1. Mother Theresa’s mom was at first dead-set against her leaving to become a sister, then realizing this was what God wanted for her & for herself said, “Put your hand in his hand and walk alone with Him.”
        1. ​​​​​​​We’re surrounded by many people & yet our calling is really lived out alone w/ Jesus
      2. *Prayer/contemplation: Do you really feel God is with you? How close would you say He feels tonight? Do you feel there was a time He forsook you?...Be honest with Him. Are you afraid of being alone w/just God?
    4. PRACTICE (58) - that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers.
      1. NLT, May He give us the desire to do His will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors.
      2. Msg, May he keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors. [also found Psa 119:36. Jer.31:33]
      3. *Prayer/contemplation: Thank Him for giving you even the desire to do His will. Where do you specifically need His help in your Christian walk? In your life today, what area do you need God to help u incline your heart to obedience?
    5. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​PRAYER (59) - And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant & the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require
      1. As each day requires ESV - The NT also emphasizes the idea that God provides His people with what they need for that day, i.e. Lord’s Prayer.
      2. *Prayer/contemplation: Since supplication is from the root supply, what do you need the Lord to supply for you? your family? your work/school? your ministry?
    6. PURPOSE (60) - that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. [yahweh is Elohim]
      1. Actually there is another...you! Each & every time you say, no Lord. We know better to not have any graven image, but we take the place of God when we crawl back up on the throne in our lives.
      2. *Prayer/contemplation: Confess being in control of areas of your life. Poor out your heart to Him that He is your God. Communicate your love to Him.
    7. PERSEVERANCE (61) - Let your heart therefore be loyal (be at peace with) to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.
      1. *Prayer/contemplation: Heart check...which best describes your hearts commitment to God? [whole hearted. 1/2 hearted. kindhearted. lionhearted. softhearted. weakhearted. Temperature of your heart? [hot. warm. lukewarm. cool. cold. or artic]
    8. (60) All the peoples(ethne/ethnic groups) of the earth - The Temple was a place of witness to the world. Solomon seemed to have a missionary vision for the Gentile nations.
  3. DEDICATING (62-66)
    1. ​​​​​​​(64) 3 sacrifices: from Lev. ch.1,2,3
      1. Burnt - Acceptance & Atonement & Consecration.
        1. To be Accepted – The sacrifice is offered because sin has brought estrangement (alienation) between God & the offer’er.
        2. To be Atoned for – covering (now one is sheltered from the penalty)
        3. To be Consecrated – to devote entirely.
      2. Burn all - The Burnt offering (olah) lit. “that which goes up”.
        1. ​​​​​​​It was also called the “whole burnt offering”.
        2. Illus: Put your all on the altar & hold back nothing.
        3. ALL…except for the skin (hide).
          1. This is the only Sacrifice entirely consumed. [The Epidermis Exception]
          2. It’s amazing then the emphasis we put on skin when God says, you can have it.
          3. Wars are fought over skin color. Individuals die daily because of the amount of color pigment in their skin. We spend Billions annually on skin products to lighten, darken, or moisten our skin.
        4. Christ was represented as the Burnt-Offering, which pointed to His entire surrender.
          1. It also speaks to our life as a believer as wholly belonging to the Lord. Everything we are, & everything we have, to be used for His glory.
            1. So the Burnt-Offering symbolized the life devoted to God.
      3. Grain - the grain-offering speaks of the fruit of our labor consecrated to Him.
      4. Peace - Peace offering or Fellowship offering/Thank Offering.
        1. It was applied to those sacrifices that concluded with a sacrificial meal.
        2. It symbolized reconciliation, as shown in the fellowship of eating.
        3. Fellowship is the highest point of Christian privilege.
        4. Today we say, “let’s do lunch”, “Meet you at Starbucks”.
        5. Eating is always an element in a covenant. (One today? communion)
    2. B. The Priests were given 5 Offerings in Leviticus.
      1. Burnt (dedication, surrendering all), Grain (sinless service, fine flour, 1st fruits), Peace (fellowship), Sin, Trespass.
      2. The 5 types of Offerings all depict a different characteristic of Jesus’ sacrifice.
        1. There is not 1 offering that gives a complete view of Christ. It is only by putting all 5 together which make up the whole of the picture of redemption.
      3. Religion is man’s attempt to make peace with God on his own terms. Redemption is God’s offer of peace through Jesus Christ.
        1. This peace only comes through the blood of the cross.
        2. Col.1:20 having made peace through the blood of His cross.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on 1 Kings 8". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/1-kings-8.html. 2017.
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