God Manifest in the Flesh
2 Chronicles 6:18
But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain you…

1. The mightiest monarch of his time hesitates not to appear in the midst of his subjects in the attitude of supplication, to lead the devotions of his people and to put himself on a level with the humblest individual in the congregation of Israel.

2. That the exclamation of the text primarily referred to the permanent abode of the cloud of glory over the mercy-seat in the temple is evident from the circumstances in which it was uttered, but though the words had never been intended to be otherwise applied, there was enough of the Divine condescension manifested even in that dispensation to call forth the tribute of admiration here offered by the King of Israel.

3. Of the state of the heathen world, and of the propensities of his own subjects, Solomon could not be ignorant; and when he reflected how little the character both of one and the other corresponded with the forbearance which they had experienced, and the revelations of the Divine will by which they might have profited, he had good reason to stand astonished at the Divine condescension, and to say, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?"

4. To what extent the mind of Solomon was enabled to foresee or understand the mystery of the Incarnation we do not venture to determine. But Christians cannot fail to perceive that if the whole scheme of redemption had been fully unfolded to him, he could not have more emphatically expressed the sentiments which that event was fitted to awaken than in the words which he has here applied to the appearance of the Divine glory in the temple.

5. Whatever might be the amount of the revelation granted to Solomon, we can be in no doubt about the practical application which it becomes us to make of the text. It was dictated by the Spirit of God, to be put on record as a portion of those Scriptures that testify of Christ. I would advert —

I. To the simple fact THAT THE GLORIOUS EVENT CONTEMPLATED IN THE TEXT HAS ACTUALLY BEEN REALISED IN THE APPEARANCE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE LIKENESS OF OUR SINFUL FLESH; and that in His person "God has in very deed dwelt with men on the earth." The symbol by which God gave intimation of His presence in the Old Testament Church, though fitted to keep alive in their minds an habitual impression of His being and supremacy, and to furnish to them a permanent pledge of security and protection, so long as they adhered steadfastly to His covenant, yet did not immediately address itself to the sympathies and affections of their nature. They were reminded in every act of religious worship of the infinite distance at which they stood removed from the High and Holy One of Israel. But when He condescended to appear in the likeness of sinful flesh, the barriers which had formerly shut up the way of approach were broken down; mankind were permitted to hold intimate converse with Him in the same way, and through the same medium, by which they hold intercourse with one another.

II. TO THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH. It was not only that, through the medium of human nature, He might convey to mankind a more distinct conception, and leave upon them a more vivid impression of the Divine character; but that He might take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

(R. Gordon, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!

WEB: "But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can't contain you; how much less this house which I have built!

God in the Sanctuary
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