Key Scripture: 1 Kings 6:11-14; 8:10-13
God chose David’s son Solomon to build the temple, a house where God would live with his people. Before David died, he reminded the future king Solomon to stay close to God and always obey his Word. For God’s glory to live with Israel, it was very important for Israel’s human king to love and obey the one, true King.
Solomon built God’s temple in the city of Jerusalem. The temple was absolutely beautiful! The walls inside were made of wood from cedar trees. Images of flowers and fruit were carved into the wooden walls, as if to remind the people of the beautiful garden where God had once lived with the first humans he created.
When the temple was finished, the ark of the covenant (a beautiful wooden chest covered in gold) that held the Ten Commandments was brought inside. God’s glory filled the temple in a thick cloud. God was coming to live with his people again! Solomon prayed, thanking God for keeping his promises. He asked God to live among the Israelites in the temple forever and help them obey his commands. He wanted the whole world to know God and be blessed like Israel.
Things started well but ended badly. Solomon disobeyed the Lord by worshipping fake gods called idols, and many of his sons did the same when they ruled as king. The nation of Israel split into two separate kingdoms—Israel in the north and Judah in the south. God disciplined his people by sending foreign nations to invade their land and carry them away as slaves. God’s glory left the temple, and it was destroyed by the nation of Babylon.
But God had not forgotten his promises to Abraham and David. Years later, he brought some of his people out of slavery and back to their land again. The temple in Jerusalem was eventually rebuilt, though it was never the same. God’s glory never again returned to the temple in a cloud, but many years later it returned in a baby. This baby was dedicated in the temple in Jerusalem. He learned and taught God’s Word there. He helped God’s people see that he is the true temple of God–the place where the fullness of God’s glory dwells and would one day dwell with his people forever.
Main Point: King Solomon built the temple as a house for God’s glory, but the Israelites worshipped idols. God punished his people for their sin, and they were carried away as slaves to other nations. God’s glory left the temple, and it was destroyed.
Christ Connection: Jesus is the true temple of God, the place where God’s glory lives (John 1:14; John 2:18-22; Colossians 1:19).