The temple was completed in the eighth month of the eleventh year of Solomon’s reign as king, and the dedication was eleven months later during the Feasts of Booths (also called the Feast of Tabernacle, Feast of Ingathering, Feast of the Lord and Sukkot). During this annual feast, the Israelites live in shelters or booths for seven days as the Lord instructed in the wilderness (Leviticus 23:33-43). This was a great celebration for the Israelites where they gave thanks to God for his current provisions as they remembered His deliverance from Egypt and His provisions during the forty year wilderness journey. The Lord wants His people to remember that He is the One who provides for them. He provided their salvation from Egypt, and He is providing eternal salvation for the world through the coming Messiah.
Solomon says today “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, 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. 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 and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Solomon requests that the Lord’s favor be upon them so that “all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God.” The Lord’s plans are much bigger than just blessing Israel. He is working His plan through the Israelites to bless all the families of the earth, just as God promised their forefather Abraham- “and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). This blessing will ultimately be fulfilled through Abraham’s coming descendant, Jesus Christ the Messiah.
After the extended and elaborate celebration, the completion of the house of the Lord, and the completion of his own house, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time. The Lord responds that He has heard Solomon’s prayer, and if the people “humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” And the same is true today!
Then the Lord says directly to Solomon, “As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’ But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.”
Now we know that David was not a perfect man by any means. However, David loved the Lord, and he always desired closeness between him and God. And when his own sin got in the way of their relationship, David would confess, repent, and turn to the Lord for mercy and grace. So the Lord isn’t asking Solomon to do something that is impossible. The Lord is asking Solomon to trust Him, to walk with Him, to obey Him, to repent when he stumbles, and to guard his heart from that which will harm him.
God has poured His blessings upon Solomon. He has given him wisdom, riches, and honor, and now Solomon’s fame is known throughout the world. When the Queen of Sheba hears of Solomon’s fame, she comes to test him with some hard questions. That’s up tomorrow, so keep reading! (1 Kings 8:54-66, 2 Chronicles 7:1-10, 1 Kings 9:1-9, 2 Chronicles 7:11-22, 1 Kings 9:10-14)