Jul 10, 2022. I Kings 8:22-40

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TEMPLE MERCY. I Kings 8:22-40. 7/10/2022. #21.

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. 24 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day. 25 Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.’ 26 And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father. 27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! 28 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: 29 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. 30 And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive. 31 “When anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, 32 then hear in heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness. 33 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, 34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers. 35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance. 37 “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 38 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), 40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.

1. Perspective

                a. Solomon acknowledges the limitations of the Temple

                                a1. The God of the universe can’t be confined to a building or location (not contained by multiple universes)

                                a2. God, and not the temple, is key to Israel’s wellbeing

                                a3. The temple exists due to God’s covenant

                b. The temple will be God’s “dwelling place” (point of contact between God and Israel as long as the people obey the covenant)

                                a1. God’s covenant with Abraham = eternal

                                a2. David will have a descendent to sit on the throne until all is fulfilled

                                a3. God’s blessing upon Israel is contingent upon their obedience (Deuteronomy 28)

2. Prayer of forgiveness

                a. Only a small portion of this prayer of dedication deals with dedicating the temple

                b. Solomon spends most of his time on a key purpose of the temple

                                a1. Not focused on the worship of God (a prime consideration for holiness)

                                a2. Centers on God forgiving Israel when they sin (key focus of offerings in Leviticus)

                c. Solomon recognizes how sinful Israel is

                                a1. Not “if” we sin, but “when” we sin

                                a2. The history of Israel was full of rebellion

                d. Solomon acknowledges that God will send disease, blights, famine, pestilence, enemies, and plagues when Israel rebels and refuses to repent

                                a1. There is no logic to sin against God, but men do so anyway

                                a2. Even when severely punished men often rebel and stubbornly refuse to repent

                e. Notice that the supplication to God that Solomon has in mind is the plea for forgiveness

                                a1. When God’s people plead for mercy, Solomon asks that God will forgive them

                                a2. This prayer begins the tradition of praying toward the temple

                                                b1. No such concept about tabernacle

                                                b2. Daniel 5 Daniel prayed toward Jeremiah

                                a3. God was said to dwell between cherubim

                d. Solomon makes 2 pleas

                                a1. If someone swears an oath before God, may the petitioner be heard

                                a2. Judge the evil person and sustain the righteous (must include himself)

3. Repentance

                a. Sol. admits that Israel is going to rebel

                                a1. Often, they will not repent

                                a2. God will judge them with plagues, famine, and invaders

                b. Sol. pleads that God will forgive them when they turn back to God

                                a1. Notice that Sol. knows that Israel will not turn back until they are severely punished

                                a2. The fear of the Lord is illusive for selfish people

                c. Even though forced repentance is not freewill repentance, Sol. pleads for forgiveness, even when the repentance is coerced

                d. Sin nature means that few truly righteous exist                 e. Only God’s mercy prevents total destruction