But will God indeed dwell on the earth? - This expression is full of astonishment, veneration, and delight. He is struck with the immensity, dignity, and grandeur of the Divine Being, but especially at his condescension to dwell with men: and though he sees, by his filling the place, that he has come now to make his abode with them, yet he cannot help asking the question, How can such a God dwell in such a place, and with such creatures?
Behold, the heaven - The words are all in the plural number in the Hebrew: השמים ושמי השמים hashshamayim, ushemey hashshamayim ; "the heavens, and the heavens of heavens." What do these words imply? That there are systems, and systems of systems, each possessing its sun, its primary and secondary planets, all extending beyond each other in unlimited space, in the same regular and graduated order which we find to prevail in what we call our solar system; which probably, in its thousands of millions of miles in diameter, is, to some others, no more than the area of the lunar orbit to that of the Georgium Sidus. When God, his manifold wisdom, his creative energy, and that space which is unlimited, are considered, it is no hyperbole to say that, although the earth has been created nearly six thousand years ago, suns, the centres of systems, may have been created at so immense a distance that their light has not yet reached our earth, though travelling at the rate of one hundred and ninety thousand miles every second, or upwards of a million times swifter than the motion of a cannon ball! This may be said to be inconceivable; but what is even all this to the vast immensity of space! Had God created a system like ours in every six days since the foundation of the world, and kept every seventh as a Sabbath; and though there might have been by this time [A.M. 5823 ineunte, a.d. 1819, ineunte] three hundred and three thousand five hundred and seventy-five mundane systems, they would occupy but a speck in the inconceivable immensity of space. Reader, all this and millions more is demonstrably possible; and if so, what must God be - illud inexprimibile - who i-n-h-a-b-i-t-e-t-h E-t-e-r-n-i-t-y!
heaven of heavens - Compare Deuteronomy 10:14; Psalm 148:4. It seems to mean the heaven in its most extended compass. Solomon combines with his belief in Yahweh‘s special presence in the temple, the strongest conviction that He is no local or finite deity, but is ever present everywhere. Compare Psalm 139:7-10.
Solomon then knelt upon the platform, and in the hearing of all the people offered the dedicatory prayer. Lifting his hands toward heaven, while the congregation were bowed with their faces to the ground, the king pleaded: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God like Thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and showest mercy unto Thy servants, that walk before Thee with all their heart.” PK 40.1
“Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee; how much less this house which I have built? Have respect therefore to the prayer of Thy servant, and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which Thy servant prayeth before Thee: that Thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof Thou hast said that Thou wouldest put Thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which Thy servant prayeth toward this place. Hearken therefore unto the supplications of Thy servant, and of Thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear Thou from Thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when Thou hearest, forgive.... PK 40.2
“If Thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against Thee; and shall return and confess Thy name, and pray and make supplication before Thee in this house; then hear Thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of Thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which Thou gavest to them and to their fathers. PK 40.3Read in context »
The sacred choir united their voices, with all kinds of musical instruments, in praise to God. And while the voices in harmony, with instruments of music, resounded through the temple, and were borne upon the air through Jerusalem, the cloud of God's glory took possession of the house, as it had formerly filled the tabernacle. “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord.” 4aSG 114.1
King Solomon stood upon a brazen scaffold before the altar and blessed the people. He then knelt down, and with his hands raised upward, poured forth earnest and solemn prayer to God, while the congregation were bowed with their faces to the ground. After Solomon had ended his prayer, a miraculous fire came from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. 4aSG 114.2
Because of the sins of Israel, the calamity which God said should come upon the temple, if his people departed from him, was fulfilled some hundreds of years after the temple was built. God promised Solomon, if he would remain faithful, and his people would obey all his commandments, that that glorious temple should stand forever in all its splendor, as an evidence of the prosperity and exalted blessings resting upon Israel for their obedience. 4aSG 114.3Read in context »
I am afraid we have altogether too cheap and common ideas. “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.” Let not any one venture to limit the power of the Holy One of Israel. There are conjectures and questions in regard to God's work. “Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” Yes, angels are the ministers of God upon the earth, doing His will. 3SM 311.5Read in context »
I am afraid we have altogether too cheap and common ideas. “Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee” (1 Kings 8:27). Let not anyone venture to limit the power of the Holy One of Israel. There are conjectures and questions in regard to God's work—“Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” (Exodus 3:5).... UL 340.5Read in context »