Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 8
The temple was the house of God. However, we may ask what it means to build a house for God. Clearly, it is easy to build a house for an idol, the image of a false god. The builder places his idol in its temple and, afterwards, he goes there to pray to his false god.
The real God, who created heaven and earth, is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7-10; John 4:19-24; Acts 17:24). God’s home is above the highest heaven (Isaiah 57:15), although he also lives with his humble people. When they pray, he hears and answers from heaven (8:34). So, we ask in what sense Solomon’s temple was the house of God.
God’s answer was that this was a temple for the ‘name’ of God (2 Samuel 7:13). In other words, he had promised David that his (God’s) name would be there (8:29). In the Bible, a person’s ‘name’ is a frequent word-picture for the honour that is due to that person (for example, 2 Samuel 7:9). So, the temple was the place where God would bring himself honour. People would pray here, and God would answer their prayers. They would praise and thank God, and that would bring great honour to him.
In his prayer, Solomon asked God to do this, even as God had promised to David. Solomon saw that there is no limit to God’s power to answer prayer. God’s people must look towards the temple, in other words, they must depend on God’s name. God would hear his people’s prayers by night as by day. He would answer their prayers whether they were present at the temple or far away. They would pray on earth, but he would hear and answer from heaven, for the honour of his name.
Next part: An appeal for God's help in a legal matter (1 Kings 8:31-32)
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