Day 150: The Dedication of the Temple
1 Kings 8:10-61 In his prayer of dedication, Solomon recalled all that God had done for the Chosen People, from delivering them from slavery in Egypt to his numerous covenants and his perennial access to them. On behalf of all the people of Israel, past, present, and future, Solomon beseeched the Lord to forgive them their sins and to supply their daily needs. He asked that this special favor and protection serve as proof to the world that he is the one true God, and that Israel was his Chosen People. The Temple, as the center of worship for all Israel, became the key site of prayer and sacrifices of supplication from his people. (CCC 2580-2581)
Ch 8:10-12 The presence of the Holy Spirit was manifest in both cloud and light. These joint events were a sign of God’s immanent presence and transcendence, his self-revelation (light) and his mystery (darkness). (CCC 697)
Ch 8:54-55 Solomon changed his physical posture of worship as the focus of his prayer shifted. Up to this point, he had prayed on his knees with his arms extended in a gesture of petition to God. Now he stood to give a blessing to the people of God. Postures are integral to the liturgy and helpful in our private devotion. Ideally, our external posture and appearance should reflect our interior dispositions and the nature of our prayer. (CCC 2702-2703)
Ch 8:56-61 Solomon’s final blessing over the people acknowledged that the Temple’s completion was the fulfillment of a promise that God had made with the Chosen People through Moses. Our faith and trust in God is founded upon God’s infinite love for us and our acknowledgement that he is the Lord of history. For this reason, we offer him our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, contrition, and supplication.
Incline our hearts to him: Solomon prayed that the people of Israel might always seek and be faithful to the will of God. (CCC 2699, 2738)
Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 The seasons connected with life and time are strictly established by God, and it is up to us to discern the proper season. (CCC 2828)
Ch 3:8 A time for war...peace: Some forms of pacifism are a legitimate principle for a Christian to hold for which there is sufficient support in Scripture. Nevertheless, the Church recognizes that there could be conditions in which armed military combat and personal self-defense are warranted and morally licit. (CCC 2243)
Ch 3:10-15 Pleasure is a blessing. However, it becomes disordered and evil when it does not correspond to the true fulfillment and welfare of the human person. For example, nourishment is required for the health of the human body and at the same time is linked to the pleasure of eating; this pleasure is legitimate as long as it does not go beyond the parameters of nourishment, e.g., into gluttony or drunkenness. (CCC 1705. 2113, 2351-2355, 2362)
Ch 3:11 The human being is distinct from the rest of creation since every man and woman searches for a sense of meaning. Moreover, every individual is endowed with the capacity to understand material creation, to know right from wrong, and to choose to love and do good to others. Human beings are the only creatures God made directly for Himself. (CCC 37, 1952-1960, 1978-1979)
Ch 3:16-17 Even when there is justice and virtue, injustice and evil linger. Given our fallen nature and our inclination to sin, perfect justice will never reign in the world. Without serious struggle and God’s assistance, the human being will fall into selfishness expressed in different forms of vanity. (CCC 1766-1777)
Ch 3:20-22 All of creation originates in the will of God the Father through God the Son by the work of the Holy Spirit. These verses reflect an undeveloped notion of life after death; it seems that some believed that those who died would go to a nondescript place of rest. Since everyone is consigned to his or her present lot in life, everyone should make the best of a situation he or she cannot change. (CCC 703)
4:1-16 Oppression of the poor ranks among the sins that cry to heaven. In many instances, successes can stir up jealousy and envy in others. Amassing wealth can lead to greed and attachment to comfort and luxury, obscuring the capacity to notice the needs of others. Furthermore, material possessions, unless used generously in service to those in need, become an ever-consuming obsession to the detriment of the common good. (CCC 1867, 2544, 2556)
Ch 5:1-12 The cultivation of the fear of God is the pathway to true wisdom. Controlling our thoughts, desires, and words are indispensable conditions to the contemplation of God’s will and to live by it. The human heart can ONLY be satisfied by God, and detachment from material goods liberates the human heart for prayer and works of charity. The famous words of St. Augustine summarize well these ideas: “Our hearts are restless, O God, until they rest in you.” (CCC 30, 1723)
Ch 5:13-20 The inordinate accumulation of wealth enslaves and blinds an individual to the goods of the spirit and the needs of others. Christ reminded everyone that earthly goods have relative value and can never fully satisfy the yearning of the human heart. (CCC 29, 2445, 2536, 2552-2556)
Psalm 6 The psalmist, troubled in conscience and deeply aware of his sins, turned to God, who has command of life and death, in his time of suffering. The psalm describes both spiritual and physical pains, but it seems clear that the greatest cause of the psalmist’s anguish was his sin. He was confident that God would hear him, and from the context of ending this psalm his prayers seem to have been answered. This is the first of the PENITENTIAL PSALMS that express the desire for conversion and forgiveness. (CCC 633, 1502)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Solomon’s prayer of dedication (1 Kgs 8:22-53) is deeply rooted in the Deuteronomic covenant.
He asks of the Lord:
“...Hear thou in heaven, act, and judge thy sergeants, condemning the guilty by bringing his conduct upon his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness.” (1 Kgs 8:32)
Since judgement is the prerogative of kings in the Ancient Near East, this constitutes a prayer for the Lord to rule as King over Israel.
Solomon’s prayer also anticipates the covenant curses that will shortly come upon Israel for her infidelity: military defeat, drought, famine, pestilence, other disasters, and exile.
Nevertheless, in anticipating these curses, Solomon also anticipates Israel’s repentance and restoration.
The Temple, where the Divine Name dwells, will be the source of the people’s orientation and hope:
“If they turn again to thee, and acknowledge thy name, and pray and make supplication to thee in this house; then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again to the land which thou gavest to their fathers.” (1 Kgs 8:33-34)
The Temple becomes an integral, powerful symbol of Israel’s future redemption.
Thus, the Jewish exiles, on returning from captivity in Babylon in the sixth century B.C., take up the task of rebuilding it.
By the first century A.D., the Temple becomes not only a house of worship but also a rallying point for all Jews concerned about the Roman occupation.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
So 1 Kings Ch 8 is the prayer of King Solomon
The Ark of the Covenant is being brought into the Temple for the first time
It is brought in the RIGHT way this time
It was brought in by the Levitical priests
NO ONE ELSE went into the Temple
1 Kings specifies, just like 2 Chronicles specified, that in the Ark was only one thing
The two TABLES OF STONE that were given to Moses on Mt. Horeb aka Mt. Sinai
You better know that already 😉
Why is this notable?
Originally, there were THREE things in the Ark of the Covenant
Do you remember what they were?
The Tables of Stone
The Manna aka the Bread from Heaven
We don’t know what happened to the Manna or the Staff
The Bible doesn’t say
It just says they were there, and now they aren’t mentioned
That’s important so that we can keep in mind what we are dealing with
Because a very important thing is the fact that as they brought the Ark of the Covenant into the most Holy Place, the SHEKINAH GLORY CLOUD FILLED THE TEMPLE
The priests couldn’t even do their normal work
They were momentarily prevented from WORSHIPPING because God’s Presence was SO PALPABLE and SO OVERPOWERING
We have to understand God’s Presence can be that “still soft voice” like with Elijah
God’s PRESENCE is also POWER
It is often OVERWHELMING
So much so that when people have an encounter with God in The Bible, a lot of times when there is an angel, the angel says, “BE NOT AFRAID.”
Because our natural response would be TO BE AFRAID at such an OVERWHELMING POWER
Solomon gives his blessing and prayer and says, “Wherever you’re at, come back to the Temple.”
This is establishing Jerusalem as the CENTER
This is establishing the Temple as THE SOLE PLACE FOR WORSHIP
When it comes to Ecclesiastes, there is so much WISDOM HERE
Remember, the genre of Ecclesiastes is WISDOM LITERATURE
It’s not straight-forward wisdom
It’s the Preacher, Qoheleth, working through some things
“I find happiness in toil.”
“I find happiness in wisdom.”
“I find happiness in pleasure.”
And then he realizes, “Then I still die. Then I still lose. Things are taken away from me.”
There is something SO POWERFUL hearing Qoheleth wrestle with this REALITY
Ecclesiastes Ch 4 was about the VALLEY OF FRIENDSHIP
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up.”
SO NECESSARY FOR US TO REMEMBER
Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Apes alone WEAK. Apes together STRONG 🤓)
Just think how real this is in our lives
To have a TRUE FRIEND
To have a Jonathan to your David or vice versa
To have a person who can WALK WITH YOU
Ecclesiastes Ch 5 says, “For when dreams increase, empty words grow many: but do you fear God.”
Or in a different translation like the Great Adventure Bible, “For in a multitude of dreams there is futility and ruin in a flood of words.”
This is in regard to the warning against making rash vows
“Let not your mouth lead you into sin, and do not say before the messenger that it was a mistake; why should God be angry at your voice and destroy the work of your hands?”
So we think we are going to do things when we don’t have any intention to do them
There are things we’d like to do, like our dreams and wishes
The Preacher is basically saying it’s better to have PLANS instead of DREAMS
Instead of having RASH WORDS, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
One of the last pieces of WISDOM we heard today was from Ecclesiastes Ch 5:10
“He who loves money will not be satisfied with money; nor he who loves wealth, with gain: this also is vanity. When goods increase, they increase who eat them.”
Isn’t that reality?
Have you ever met a rich person who didn’t want more money? 🤔
There are so many wealthy people who work crazy hours, never see their spouses, or children and don’t have much of a life outside of work
They could maybe back off the working so much a little once they have a lot of wealth
But no, they need MORE
There are lots of motivations for that
That may seem easy to say about someone else who makes billions of dollars
Where does that apply in OUR LIVES?
That’s what we always have to ask ourselves
It might not be money
It might be something else
When I get more, I want MORE
What would be enough? It’s never enough
We are constantly pursuing more and more and more
When it comes to Ecclesiastes and The Bible, we can easily see the problems OTHER PEOPLE HAVE
Why can’t they just slow down, back off, spend more time with their families?
We don’t see it in ourselves
YET IT EXISTS IN OURSELVES
So we have to say, “Ok God, reveal me to me. Reveal the brokenness that I see in other people, where does that exist in me.”
The only person I have influence over, really, truly, and ultimately is ME
And the only person YOU have influence over, really, truly, and ultimately is YOU
So we surrender ourselves and say to God, “I surrender myself to you, Lord God, make me whole again, make me new again, forgive me, and set me on the right track.”
We can do that
BUT WE NEED PRAYERS
WE NEED GRACE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you. We just ask that you please open your ears to our cry, open your eyes to our trouble, and, Lord God, open your hand in our need. You know what we need and you hear our prayers always. You see us constantly, and yet, you desire that we ask. You desire that we pray. You desire that we seek and knock and ask. And we ask that you please hear our prayer this day. See our need this day and open your hand to give us what we need. But also we ask you, Lord, to open our hands that we can receive from you. Open our eyes to be able to see you clearly and your will. And open our ears to hear your voice. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
3:15 FLOR. 4. (Whenever there is a note that says “FLOR. #,” that means that, eventually, this note will be replaced with a much longer note because it corresponds with an entry in my Florilegium, or my Bible study journal.)
Cf. Eccl. 1:9-10, Ps. 90:4. This verse offers words of great comfort for the People of God. Past, present, and future all existing simultaneously in a block universe (to use a term familiar to those interested in special relativity, horology, and the philosophy of time) is consistent with the classical conception of God's perception of time since God exists outside of it and observes all events simultaneously. According to Albert Einstein, "the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." God views time—past, present, and future—like a complete book, whereas we experience it page by page; though we have not yet experienced it, our future already exists. This is why it is vanity to worry about what was and what is to come; God has no such worries, for he sees everything that has been, is, and will be. This should be a source of great solace for us as we strive ever more to live in uniformity with God’s will, under the care of his great providence. Ultimately, God is sovereign over all, so worrying would be vain for those who know God and love him. As Jesus says, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” (Mt. 6:27). No, of course not! Jesus provides the remedy: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Mt. 6:34).
My Study Color Code
■ Suffering, Martyrdom ■ Places ■ The Church, Sacraments, Divinity ■ Horticultural Imagery ■ People ■ Messianic Kingship ■ Sin, Death, Decay