But in the next chapter (7), after he makes an end of praying, the fire comes down. For we read: "Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Jehovah filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of Jehovah, because the glory of Jehovah had filled Jehovah's house." And so there is nothing but worship according to their measure. "And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of Jehovah upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised Jehovah, [saying], For [He is] good; for His mercy [endureth] for ever. Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before Jehovah. And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen" - the nation was so very great that a thousand would not do now - "and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God."
And this was most admirable in its season. The admirable thing then for an earthly people was to pour out all the wealth of the earth at the feet of God. The admirable thing now for a heavenly people is to count whatever we have as nothing for the sake of Christ. That is, it is suffering now. As the Apostle Paul said, "What things were gain to me [as a Jew], I counted loss for Christ." He counted them dung; and not only did he so begin, but, as he adds, "and I do count them." He counted them so when he began, and he counted them so still. There is many a man that counts them so at first; but he begins to like them afterward. But it was not so with Paul - "I counted," and "I do count." It is a great thing to make a good start and to continue accordingly. So did Paul, but so has not done the Church of God. The Church of God began well, but where are we now?
So "Solomon finished the house of Jehovah, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of Jehovah, and in his own house, he prosperously affected." And then Jehovah appears to him again and confirms what he has done. "I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to Myself for a house of sacrifice.'' And so He not only says this, but "now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there for ever: and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually." Now I take that as it plainly means. You will tell me, Well, the Gentiles are there now; some of the most wicked of the Gentiles are there now. But faith can wait. It need not be in a hurry. "He that believeth shall not make haste," and, therefore, as sure as God has spoken it, Jerusalem will be recovered - not by foolish crusaders, not by the power of man, but by the power of God. He means to have the glory to Himself. The whole idea of the crusades was a fundamental mistake from beginning to end, and arose from Christians fancying that they were Jews, taking the place of God's people and, consequently, denying Israel's place. The greatest enemies the Jews had were those same crusaders who fought against the Turks. The place of the true Christian is the very contrary. We ought to be the shelter of the Jew; we ought to be a sort of city of refuge to the Jew, till the day comes for the Jew to enter upon his heritage. We ought always to plead the rights of Israel as we know the wrongs of Israel. We ought to mourn deeply the unbelief of Israel; but, at the same time, we ought to protect them and show them all kindness for the fathers' sake." The Church of God can afford to do so. If we were an earthly people, we might be a little jealous of those who are going to be put in the highest earthly places; but the heavenly people have no need for it. And that is what delivers Christians from foolish vanity in competing with the Gentile, and from jealousy as we think about the Jew.