I actually loved this chapter, which is something that I haven’t said in a while…possibly since the start of the Chronicles portion of Tanakh. Solomon is narrating, and is talking to God about how, after all the effort of building the Temple, it’s not like He will actually be there all the time. The Temple, referred to as a House of God, was much less about actually providing God with a dwelling place and more about providing the people with a central location to focus their intentions and to feel close to Him.
“But will God indeed dwell with man on earth? Behold the heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You; much less this House that I have built (Chronicles II 6:18).” This level of awareness is wonderful, particularly because it brings home the true mission of a holy site. It’s of course in God’s honor, but is ultimately about human beings, and is symbolic of the unfathomable wonder of divinity. It’s easy for us to become attached to these symbols, because we like tangible representatives, but we also need to remember the breadth and depth of what they actually represent, and the small roles that we play in bringing them forward.