הַבַּיִת לְשֵׁם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
Ha bayith l’shem Adonai Elohei Yisrael
The House to the name of the LORD God of Israel.
This chapter records the grand dedication of the completed temple. King Solomon makes four speeches. First he responds to God’s appearance in a cloud (v12,13). Next he turns around and blesses the whole assembly of Israel (v14-21). Then he kneels and raises his hands to heaven and prays aloud to God (v22-54). Finally, he stands and turns to face the people again to bless them (v55-61).
The church is a special place where heaven and earth meet, and where man understands his place and position in the universe. We may bless others but we kneel to receive the blessing from God.
The church is a paradox that only God can solve. Solomon says that he has built a place for God to dwell:
13 I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever.”
But he realizes that it is much less than that.
27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!
Indeed, it is a place for man to come into the presence of God.
29 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place.
Some may cite John 4:21-24 and use it downplay the importance of meeting in a physical church. But Bible passages can only complement each other, and reading Hebrews 10:25, we know that God wants us to meet together and worship in spirit and in truth – this is the meaning of the church. But what better place than, if it is available, a physical building dedicated to this purpose?
Finally, let us remember that God is everywhere but He is pleased to have His presence ‘concentrated’ in the gathering of His people as a church.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
(Ephesians 1:22, 23)