But who am I, and who are my people, that we would hold the strength to make an offering like this? All things are from you, and from your own hand we give you.
Foreigners are we before your face, and sojourners as all our fathers; our days upon the earth like a shadow without hope.
O LORD our God, all this multitude which we have established to build a house for your holy name, is all from your own hand. Everything is yours.
Solomon’s reign represented one of the high points of the life of Israel; culturally, economically, politically, the land was thriving and expanding. Israel experienced a time of consolidation, piece and prosperity:
For the first time in Israel, its leadership had a successful example of passing of power from father to son. The reign of Solomon served to make actual and legitimate the covenant God made to David concerning the continuity of the House of David as a ruling power in Israel…Costly though it was, Solomon’s building projects gave Israel a sense of national pride and of security which it had never known before. Finally they had constructed something which could stand in the world of the day as both artistic and magnificent. Pomp and ceremony augmented this new sense of nationhood effectively.
Solomon, G. H. Livingston, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible
So it is amazing that at this high point of wealth, peace, security and “settledness”, Solomon’s primary identification was as a ‘foreigner and sojourner’. At the point of dedicating the Temple to God, he remembered that for Israel, ‘a wandering Aramean was my father.’ A permanent capital for the people of Israel centred around a permanent dwelling place for the God of Israel was founded on the principle of temporary and provisional citizenship. Solomon recognised that permanence was a myth, that ownership was a myth, that “settledness” was a myth.
What would it look like if we really lived our lives as people who were just passing through? What would it look like if we realised that permanence was temporary? What would it look like if we honestly believed that we owned nothing but borrowed everything?
All things come of thee, and of thine own do we give thee.