“Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven Your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart You know, according to all his ways, for You, You only, know the hearts of the children of mankind, that they may fear You and walk in Your ways all the days that they live in the land that You gave to our fathers.”
2 Chronicles 6:29-31
These words are from Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. There’s quite a bit more, but this is the heart of it. In his prayer, Solomon recognizes that the Temple itself could not possibly contain God, Who fills heaven and earth and is present everywhere. It was intended to be a meeting-place, where men could come with repentant hearts to meet with God, and where God would mercifully look into their hearts, forgive them, and hear their prayers.
The most important feature of the Temple was the Ark of the Covenant that Moses had made, which held the stone tablets of the Law of God. The Ark sat in the Most Holy Place of the Temple, where the presence of God dwelt in a special sense. God, who is everywhere present, was especially, fully present there. The Ark of the Covenant and the whole Temple were a prophetic picture of Jesus, the Messiah.
Today the Temple is no more. It was finally destroyed in 70 AD. There are always rumors that it might be rebuilt some day, but it really doesn’t matter; the Savior that it was intended to represent has already come. Jesus is where God and man meet. “In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;”
When we turn toward Him, wherever we are, with a heart of repentance, bringing whatever sorrow or affliction we carry, stretching out our hands toward Him, He sees into our hearts, and forgives and listens to our prayers. He alone knows the hearts of all the children of mankind, and calls us to fear Him and walk in His ways “all the days that we live in the land that He gave to our fathers.”
Lord Jesus, I come to you with the sorrows and afflictions in my heart that You alone can see. Hear me, and as You hear, forgive, cleanse, and restore me, so that I can fear You and walk in Your ways here, in the land You have given me. Keep me close to You. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles