Read verses 2-6
Q: So having established himself personally, what does Solomon seek next to establish?
A: God’s people corporately.
Q: What is significant about how Solomon leads the people? What is Solomon’s goal?
A: He is simultaneously leading them all back to God. His goal is to achieve for the group what is stated in v.1 as having already been achieved for him personally, for God to be with them to the degree that it becomes visibly evident that it’s God who’s exalting them greatly.
Q: Why is the tabernacle at Gibeon?
A: We don’t absolutely know for sure. The locations of the tabernacle in Israel as specifically stated in Scripture were first Gilgal, then Shiloh, then Nob, and finally Gibeon. It’s probably because this is a town belonging to the Levites, chosen so it would be near those charged with its care and operation.
Q: What is unusual about this tabernacle and the things associated with it?
A: The ark of the covenant is not present in this tabernacle, but residing apart in a special tent provided for it by David in Jerusalem. Ever since the ark was lost to the Philistines during Eli’s days (and then recovered), the ark has never been placed back into the tabernacle, but maintained separately. But all the rest of the original things of the tabernacle were still in Gibeon, such as the original bronze altar mentioned in v.5
Q: So what do you think is implied as one of Solomon’s goals for building a temple?
A: To unite all the things of God under one roof, so to speak.
Point: It’s actually amazing that Solomon and the people knew to still go to the altar at the tabernacle in Gibeon to worship God and render sacrifices, since they could have interpreted all that happened to establish a separate place for the ark as a sign to worship there. Some might have argued that God’s presence was only with the ark or at the least that neither was fully complete without each other.
Q: What can we learn from the fact that God responded to them at the tabernacle even though the ark was in Jerusalem?
A: God cannot be contained by ANY earthly structure or constraint. He is not restricted to man’s setting things up in a certain way but responds to a right heart wherever it is.
Q: Why do you suppose they went to the extreme of offering 1,000 burnt offerings?
A: In Old Testament terms it was a way of expressing to God the depth of their sincerity towards Him, that they weren’t just ritually coming together to make a token gesture. Solomon was leading them to seek God in earnest in the best way they knew how for their time.
Point: True spiritual leaders lead by example by first establishing the quality of their own spiritual walk before leading the people back to the proper beginning of that process for them as well.