1 Kings 8:22-61
And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel…
I. SOLOMON BEGINS WITH THE EXPRESSION OF HIS SOBER SENSE OF THE DIVINE GREATNESS. He exclaims, "Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath." Now it will be of no use whatsoever for any human being, who is intelligently proposing to consecrate himself fully to God's service, to attempt to covenant with the Almighty without realising that he has entered upon the most awfully serious moment of his life: for he is dealing with the one supreme Head of the universe.
II. THEN COMES AN AFFECTING REMEMBRANCE OF THE DIVINE GRACE. Solomon openly admits that he is now in the immediate presence of that God who was accustomed to keep covenant and mercy with his servants that walk before him with all their heart.
III. SOLOMON MAKES A HUMBLE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE DIVINE CONDESCENSION. He has prepared for God this palace. But now in this moment of his highest satisfaction he appears surprised by a fresh revelation of the glory of God. No sentence in all this extraordinary address is more pathetic in its disclosure of experience than that we find here: "But will God indeed dwell on the earth behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded!" It is the grand simplicity of such an exclamation that fixes an unusual character upon it. The candour of the confession shows a heart penetrated with the consciousness that its very best gift must be sanctified by the altar of God it lies upon before the infinite holiness of Jehovah can accept it.
IV. SOLOMON TRUSTFULLY ACCEPTS THE FULNESS OF THE DIVINE INVITATION to continue to hold communication with him in the building he was offering. Attention was long ago caned to the fact that the disciples going to Emmaus were not enlightened so as to recognise Jesus all along the way where they conversed with Him; not until they fulfilled His commands in the exercise of hospitality did they suddenly discover how their hearts had burned with the thoughts He had given them. "Not by hearing His precepts," says Gregory in one of his homilies, "but by doing them, did they receive illumination." The souls that only freely receive, it is not at all certain will be those who will under. stand. It is when souls freely give, they begin to grow intelligent. Mystery then ceases, mysticism ends, and reality begins. One of the loftiest steps of Christian consecration is reached when a man is beginning to realise fully that God has invited him to pray for all he needs, in that very moment in which he has given away all he has in this world.
V. SOLOMON SUGGESTS HIS SENSE OF A LIFELONG NEED FOR THE DIVINE COMPANIONSHIP AND FAVOUR.
(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven: