Tradition teaches that it was on this day that the Temple of Solomon was finally dedicated. The Bible records the prayer that Solomon offered on that momentous day in 2 Chronicles 6:18-21:
“But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.”
In response to this prayer, Scripture says that the Presence of God descended into the Holy of Holies and, when it did, the priests were unable to stand and minister.
There are two primary points to be considered here. First of all, when the shekinah, the Presence of the Creator, descended and resided within the Temple, the purpose of the Sanctuary was being manifested. That purpose was that His Presence might dwell among His people. You see, without His Presence, the Sanctuary was merely a structure, whether it was a tent or a building. The fact that it housed expensive furnishings did not matter in regards to its purpose; it was ordained to be the place where God dwelled among men.
Proof of this is demonstrated by the fact that this same Temple was later destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. Before either of these structures, the sanctuary in Shiloh was destroyed, presumably, by the Philistines. In spite of their auspicious beginning, all of them were eventually destroyed because, at some point, the Presence was no longer present. This principle is very important to embrace because, as believers, we are told that our bodies are Temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, our whole being must be a suitable and accommodating habitation for the Creator.
The second thing that stands out in the dedication of the Temple is the fact that the priests were unable to stand and minister, reminding us of what the Scripture tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:29:
“No Flesh should glory in His presence.”
If the Creator resides within us, there should be a distinct difference in our deeds, our speech, our attitudes and overall disposition when compared to those in whom His presence does not reside. If His Spirit is to continue residing within us, we must, each day, respond to the challenge to mend our ways, overcome our bad attitudes, abandon our bad habits and walk in accordance with His will. It is especially important that we address the hidden aspects of our life – those things that are more deeply rooted within us and, consequently, not as obvious to others. We must be committed to allowing Him to do His work in us, so that the Temple of the Holy Spirit can be a suitable dwelling place for the Most High. When we humble ourselves before Him, He is glorified in and through our lives.