David had brought the Ark of the covenant up from the home of Obed-Edom (2 Samuel 6), but the tabernacle had been left in Gibeon. In chapter eight, Solomon unites the two in Jerusalem as the temple takes the place of the tabernacle. This will be the last mention of the tabernacle in the Old Testament. The dark cloud of the Lord filled the temple of the Lord, driving out all the priests and God took up his residence there among His people.
Solomon’s prayer of dedication is significant for several reasons:
First, Solomon acknowledges that the temple is not, really, the dwelling place of God. Certainly no human built edifice could contain the maker of heaven and earth.
But second, the temple is the symbol of God’s dwelling among his people. That is why Solomon so often refers to it (note “this temple,” and “this place”). When God’s people seek God’s presence in prayer, Solomon prays that God will hear them.
Third, Solomon justifies his request for God to hear his prayer and the prayers of his people because God has made promises to do so.
Fourth, Solomon acknowledges that God is the God of all people in that he asks God to hear even the prayers of those not His people IF they will turn to God.
The Church, according to Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, is the temple of God today. It is the symbol of God’s residence among His people and connection with God, in life and in prayer, is intended to be through His Church.