SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- Solomon built a Temple where the people could worship God. Construction took seven years and, here in chapter 5, is finally complete.
- The Festival of Shelters (5:3) was a celebration of God's protection of the Israelites when they wanted in the wilderness before they entered the Promised Land. This festival fell at the same time as the dedication of the Temple. Back in the wilderness people had lived in tents, now they were dedicated a permanent and glorious Temple for God in their homeland.
- The priests carried the Ark of the Covenant into the most holy place. The Ark of the Covenant was a chest containing the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments. Going into the most holy place, into the presence of God, was a big deal. The priests had to be purified before entering.
- The first "worship service" at the new Temple began with praise and thanksgiving (verse 13) and an acknowledgement of who God is, "... good. His faithful love endures forever!"
- The Israelites wandering through the wilderness was a difficult and confusing time. The faith of the Israelites often faltered during that long journey. But now we see the people celebrating what had happened during that time, and how God had protected and guided them through it. We also see that they made it through a challenging time they probably had thought they'd be stuck in forever, and were now in very different circumstances. This should help us to keep our faith when we feel like we're wandering in the desert. We may not be able to tell, but God is protecting and guiding, and our circumstances will change.
- When we worship God (in personal prayer time, in corporate worship at a church gathering, etc.) it's always a good idea to begin with praise and thanksgiving and an acknowledgement of who God is.
- Can you look back at a hard time when you felt like God was absent and things would never change, but now see that God was with you and how He has brought you to a better place? Thank Him!
- Are you currently going through a challenging time? Don't lose hope or let it shake your faith. If you invite Him, God is with you and will protect and guide you. Ask Him!
- Commit to developing the habit of always praising and thanking God and never forgetting that He is good and that His faithful love endures forever. Ask God to help you!