Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | June 19, 2015

“The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Kings 8:1-21.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+8&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, which is Zion.  2 All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.  3 Then all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.  4 They brought up the ark of the Lord and the tent of meeting and all the holy utensils, which were in the tent, and the priests and the Levites brought them up.  5 And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered. 6 Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the house, to the most holy place, under the wings of the cherubim.  7 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim made a covering over the ark and its poles from above.  8 But the poles were so long that the ends of the poles could be seen from the holy place before the inner sanctuary, but they could not be seen outside;  they are there to this day.  9 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.  10 It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord. 

12 Then Solomon said,

“The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.”    1 Kings 8:1-12.

—————————

What does the dwelling of the LORD in the thick cloud teach us about the LORD? 

Let us look at some of the Scriptures.

“The Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words of the people to the Lord.”  Exodus 19:9.

“So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.”  Exodus 19:16.

“All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking;  and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood at a distance.  Then they said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen;  but let not God speak to us, or we will die.”  Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid;  for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.”  So the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.”  Exodus 20:18-21.

“These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain from the midst of the fire, of the cloud and of the thick gloom, with a great voice, and He added no more.  He wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me.”  Deuteronomy 5:22.

“12 “And He made darkness canopies around Him,
A mass of waters, thick clouds of the sky.
13 “From the brightness before Him
Coals of fire were kindled.
14 “The Lord thundered from heaven,
And the Most High uttered His voice.
15 “And He sent out arrows, and scattered them,
Lightning, and routed them.
16 “Then the channels of the sea appeared,
The foundations of the world were laid bare
By the rebuke of the Lord,
At the blast of the breath of His nostrils.”  2 Samuel 22:12-16.  See also Psalm 18:11-15 which is very similar.

“22 “Out of the north comes golden splendor;
Around God is awesome majesty.
23 “The Almighty—we cannot find Him;
He is exalted in power
And He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness.
24 “Therefore men fear Him;
He does not regard any who are wise of heart.”  Job 37:22-24.

“1 The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice;
Let the many islands be glad.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.
3 Fire goes before Him
And burns up His adversaries round about.
4 His lightnings lit up the world;
The earth saw and trembled.
5 The mountains melted like wax at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
6 The heavens declare His righteousness,
And all the peoples have seen His glory.”  Psalm 97:1-6.

First, the thick cloud separates us from the LORD, so that we on our own can not easily or casually approach Him and think we are equal or comparable in any way.  We need Him to draw us to Himself through His Almighty Power.

“Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,”  Isaiah 46:9.

Jesus Christ “… is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.  To Him be honor and eternal dominion!  Amen.'”  1 Timothy 6:15-16.

Second, the thick cloud leads us to fear the LORD and tremble in His presence.    Exodus 19:16 and Exodus 20:18-21 as quoted above.

“Do you not fear Me?’ declares the Lord.
‘Do you not tremble in My presence?  …”  Jeremiah 5:22.

Third, the thick cloud helps us to understand that we cannot know everything about the LORD.

“The Almighty—we cannot find Him;
He is exalted in power”  Job 37:23 as quoted above.

Fourth, the thick cloud makes us willing to generally talk about the LORD’s absolute sovereignty.  We can not see all the details of the  LORD’s works behind the scene, so we are inclined to trust the LORD and His absolute sovereignty and His righteousness and His justice without even trying to explain all the details of why and how the LORD acts as He does.

“Clouds and thick darkness surround Him;
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.”  Psalm 97:2 as quoted above.

In conclusion, it is noteworthy in today’s Scripture that the thick cloud did not enter the LORD’s house until the priests left the holy place and was such “so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud”.  Verses 10-11.  This humbles the proud priests and preachers who think that they are righteous enough to draw the LORD to appear in their midst.  This is consistent with man’s “Total Depravity”, the “T” of “TULIP”, the Five Points of Calvinism, the Reformed Doctrine of Salvation, which leads us to give up in trusting man in any way and which leads us to trust the LORD alone to handle all the points of salvation from “Unconditional Election” to “Limited Atonement” to “Irresistible Grace” to “Preservation of the Saints” (the “U”, “L”, “I”, and “P” of “TULIP”) as if the LORD was saying:  “Priests, you can leave My temple now.  I will do My work.  This is not a joint venture.  You do not need to understand those things that are hidden in My cloud and not revealed to you.  Fear Me.  Trust Me.”

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