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The Temple Is Set Apart to the Lord

Solomon finished praying. Then fire came down from heaven. It burned up the burnt offering and the sacrifices. The glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests couldn’t enter the temple of the Lord because his glory filled it. All the Israelites saw the fire coming down. They saw the glory of the Lord above the temple. So they got down on their knees in the courtyard with their faces toward the ground. They worshiped the Lord. They gave thanks to him and said,

“The Lord is good.
    His faithful love continues forever.”

Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices to the Lord. King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep and goats. So the king and all the people set the temple of God apart. The priests and Levites took their positions. The Levites played the Lord’s musical instruments. King David had made them for praising the Lord. They were used when he gave thanks to the Lord. He said, “His faithful love continues forever.” Across from where the Levites were, the priests blew their trumpets. All the people of Israel were standing.

Solomon set the middle area of the courtyard apart to the Lord. It was in front of the Lord’s temple. There Solomon sacrificed burnt offerings. He also sacrificed the fat of the friendship offerings there. He did it there because the bronze altar he had made couldn’t hold it all. It couldn’t hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat parts.

At that time Solomon celebrated the Feast of Booths for seven days. The whole community of Israel was with him. It was a huge crowd. People came from as far away as Lebo Hamath and the Wadi of Egypt. On the eighth day they held a special service. For seven days they had celebrated by setting the altar apart to honor God. The feast continued for seven more days. 10 Then Solomon sent the people home. It was the 23rd day of the seventh month. The people were glad. Their hearts were full of joy. That’s because the Lord had done good things for David and Solomon and his people Israel.

The Lord Appears to Solomon

11 Solomon finished the Lord’s temple and the royal palace. He had done everything he had planned to do in the Lord’s temple and his own palace. 12 The Lord appeared to him at night. The Lord said,

“I have heard your prayer. I have chosen this place for myself. It is a temple where sacrifices will be offered.

13 “Suppose I close up the sky and there isn’t any rain. Suppose I command locusts to eat up the crops. And I send a plague among my people. 14 But they make themselves humble in my sight. They pray and look to me. And they turn from their evil ways. Then I will listen to them from heaven. I will forgive their sin. And I will heal their land. After all, they are my people. 15 Now my eyes will see them. My ears will pay attention to the prayers they offer in this place. 16 I have chosen this temple. I have set it apart for myself. My Name will be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.

17 “But you must walk faithfully with me, just as your father David did. Do everything I command you to do. Obey my rules and laws. 18 Then I will set up your royal throne. I made a covenant with your father David to do that. I said to him, ‘You will always have a son from your family line to rule over Israel.’

19 “But suppose all of you turn away from me. You refuse to obey the rules and commands I have given you. And you go off to serve other gods and worship them. 20 Then I will remove Israel from my land. It is the land I gave them. I will turn my back on this temple. I will do it even though I have set it apart for my Name to be there. I will make all the nations hate it. They will laugh and joke about it. 21 This temple will become a pile of stones. All those who pass by it will be shocked. They will say, ‘Why has the Lord done a thing like this to this land and temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have deserted the Lord. He is the God of their people who lived long ago. He brought them out of Egypt. But they have been holding on to other gods. They’ve been worshiping them. They’ve been serving them. That’s why the Lord has brought all this horrible trouble on them.’ ”

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