Solomon was and is known for his wisdom, but 1 Kings 6 reads a lot like the script of a show on HGTV. It records the building of the temple that took place during Solomon’s reign, including dimensions of the building, the processes of its construction, and the intricate finishes that filled the space. We’re told what materials were used in each part of the house and how nearly all of it was overlaid with gold. After seven years of building, the big reveal at the end of the series would have been spectacular, but there is something even more remarkable in 1 Kings 6 than the intricately constructed temple.
“Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, “Concerning this house that you are building, if you will walk in my statutes and obey my rules and keep all my commandments and walk in them, then I will establish my word with you, which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the children of Israel and will not forsake my people Israel.””1 Kings 6:11-13
Right in the middle of the construction narrative is a word from the Lord that points to what was most remarkable about this temple, and that was what it signified. From Genesis 1 through the Exodus and with the tabernacle and into the promised land, we’ve seen this unbroken truth about God–He dwells with His people. That is what the Lord reminded Solomon as the building went forward, knowing our tendency even to elevate the things we believe we are doing for God above the Lord Himself. This was a heart check for Solomon to some extent, God calling him to walk in His ways, but it was also a stunning promise, God pledging to dwell among His people. And it is stunning, even though Israel had heard it before and even though we have heard it before. It is stunning because it makes whatever temptation or trial or decision we face today possible to endure. God dwells with His people and will not forsake us. That’s a promise we can build our lives upon.