1 Kings

1 Kings - Lesson 8B

Chapter 8:12-24

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  • Over the course of several weeks, we have been covering the preparation, transportation, construction, and functionality of the Temple.

    • We have looked back at the significance of the wilderness wandering tabernacle to the now grand and glorious Temple in which Solomon built.

      • We have witnessed the immense detail that was required to build it and the manpower required to complete this task in about 7 years.

      • The house of the Lord would become this great symbol to the world of the power and greatness of Israel’s God.

    • From there we read about the finishing touches of the Temple itself. It could not be complete without the presence of the Lord being there.

      • Therefore, the ark of the covenant is transported there for the presence of the Lord to tabernacle in the house of the Lord.

      • This occasion was one of celebration and indeed it was because thousands of animals were sacrificed as a means of worship to the Lord.

    • We now arrive to the point of Kings that will show to be quite theological and insightful.

      • If I were to outline our time tonight, we will see the following things:

      • 1. Solomon addresses the people (vv.12-21)

      • 2. Solomon’s prayer of dedication - Part 1 (vv.22-34)

    • If I were to put a tag on tonight’s text is would simply be: The Prayer of Dedication.

      • With that being said, I invite you to open a copy of the scriptures and meet me in 1 Kings 8, starting at verse 12-21.

1 Kings 8:12 Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick cloud.
1 Kings 8:13 “I have surely built You a lofty house, A place for Your dwelling forever.”
1 Kings 8:14 Then the king faced about and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing.
1 Kings 8:15 He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who spoke with His mouth to my father David and has fulfilled it with His hand, saying,
1 Kings 8:16 ‘Since the day that I brought My people Israel from Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, but I chose David to be over My people Israel.’
1 Kings 8:17 “Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
1 Kings 8:18 “But the Lord said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.
1 Kings 8:19 ‘Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he will build the house for My name.’
1 Kings 8:20 “Now the Lord has fulfilled His word which He spoke; for I have risen in place of my father David and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
1 Kings 8:21 “There I have set a place for the ark, in which is the covenant of the Lord, which He made with our fathers when He brought them from the land of Egypt.”
  • It is after the ark of the covenant has been placed in the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies) and the glory of the Lord fills the Temple, that Solomon will make a public address.

    • Solomon, seeing the Lord dwell in a thick cloud, sees for himself that the Lord is pleased to dwell there as he first addresses the Lord.

      • It is worth noting however in verse 13, the phrase “Your dwelling place forever” is better understood to mean “as long as possible”.

      • The reason being is twofold, but in part it is key to recognize that God is omnipresent and is not contained to one place.

    • This is oftentimes the misconception of those who may be unfamiliar with scripture as well.

      • Some believe that they have to go to the church building to seek God or to experience His presence, but that is not the case.

      • And in the same way, this elaborate dwelling place was not a means to fully encapsulate all of who God was and is.

    • This bayit was simply a place that reflected the power and magnificence of the glory of God. A place that could be visibly seen because God can’t be seen in His fullness.

      • So after speaking to the Lord in a personal sense, almost in a sense of awe, Solomon then turns to speak to the people regarding this sacred moment.

    • Remember, this ceremonial presentation gathered the entire people of Israel at the king’s request, so they too are witnessing this in real time.

      • So as the king turns, he is facing hundreds of thousands of people.

      • If this were happening in today’s time, every major news media outlet would be present to broadcast this moment.

    • It’s here that Solomon blesses the Lord amongst all the people at the Lord’s promising keeping power and work.

      • Notice Solomon’s words describing the fulfillment of this Davidic outworking because of the mouth and hands of the Lord.

      • In other words, it is the Lord who has fulfilled this work because of His promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7.

    • This all the more speaks to God’s covenantal promises and the fact that we can indeed take Him at His word.

      • Solomon outlines a brief recall of history regarding their ancestors’ deliverance out of Egypt and how the Lord was their deliverer.

      • He then mentions that the Lord’s desire was to dwell amongst the tribes of Israel from the great city of Jerusalem.

      • We find specifically in 2 Chronicles 6:5-6 these words. Check out the text:

2 Chronicles 6:5 ‘Since the day that I brought My people from the land of Egypt, I did not choose a city out of all the tribes of Israel in which to build a house that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man for a leader over My people Israel;
2 Chronicles 6:6 but I have chosen Jerusalem that My name might be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’
  • Solomon continues his address by stating his father’s desire to build a house for the Lord.

    • However, although well intentioned the building of the Lord’s bayit would be, the responsibility would be given to Solomon.

    • You may notice time and again in the address, when Solomon is speaking about the Lord’s attributes and the like, the phrase “for My name” is used.

    • This once again speaks to the Lord’s prominence and reputation being made known throughout the land.

      • Every time the Israelites or foreign travelers would see the Temple of the Lord it was a powerful reminder of Yahweh’s presence and character.

    • Two details that I want to highlight in verses 20 and 21 and that is the phrase, “Now the Lord has fulfilled His word”, and “the covenant of the Lord” in verse 21.

      • Both terms are intricately connected in that they both deal with the covenantal character of God.

      • In other words, when the Lord makes a promise, He always keeps His word.

      • God’s word is always tied to His character!

    • The next term is dealing with the word covenant or the covenant of the Lord.

      • The word for covenant in Hebrew is be-rit. It means an agreement or contract.

      • And in this case this particular contract was one signed by God in regards to His promises towards the Jewish people.

    • The contract is best known as the Mosaic Covenant which is the means by which Israel maintained their fellowship with God.

      • The Lord’s promise to them concerning this contract was that if they obeyed there would be blessing and if they disobeyed there would be punishment.

      • It’s in Deuteronomy 30:15-18 that we are able to see the outline of these contractual conditions regarding the Lord’s blessing and curses.

Deuteronomy 30:15 “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity;
Deuteronomy 30:16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it.
Deuteronomy 30:17 “But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them,
Deuteronomy 30:18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it.
  • What’s important to take note of is that the prosperity and blessing for the Israelites is directly tied to their living in the land.

    • But most importantly, the Lord remaining with them in the land for it is the Lord who is the divine distributor of their sustained blessing.

    • Understand that the Torah (The Law) itself was not a means of salvation as it relates to what we know of in the New Testament through the death of Christ.

      • The Torah and obedience to it for the Israelites was a means of spiritual life.

    • And now for New Testament believers, life in Christ moves us from spiritual death to Spiritual life.

      • And this is possible because Christ fulfilled the Law to a “t” and was completely obedient to the Father.

    • This is why Paul in his epistles is always stressing the importance of living “in Christ”.

      • Because it is “in Christ” that there is true spiritual life.

      • The Law simply served as a tutor and was pointing to the greater grace that was ahead – Jesus Christ.

    • Therefore, this covenantal promise and the reminder of the ark was a way to have people understand that the God of Israel is a promise-keeping covenantal God.

      • So, as they submitted and obeyed the Law, they would experience the blessings of the Lord accordingly.

      • And what we are going to see throughout all of Chapter 8 is the constant emphasis of the Mosaic Covenant.

      • The language of Solomon and the appearing of the name Yahweh 21 times in this chapter are meant to stress to the reader the importance of the Law.

    • There is no doubt in the writer’s mind and there should be no doubt in our minds, that Solomon understood well the Law of Moses.

      • We now move to Solomon’s prayer of dedication in which he prays before the people, personally leading them into worship to the Lord.

      • And you’ll notice that his prayer is not pawned off to the priest or to the prophets in that day.

      • He alone, the King over Israel, the custodial representative, will lead the people into right worship of their God.

      • Check out verses 22-27.

1 Kings 8:22 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.
1 Kings 8:23 He said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart,
1 Kings 8:24 who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which You have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day.
1 Kings 8:25 “Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.’
1 Kings 8:26 “Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Your word, I pray, be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant, my father David.
  • In verse 22, Solomon stands before the assembly of people before the altar of the Lord and he goes into a posture of prayer and worship.

    • As a quick side note, notice that Solomon is not on his knees in prayer or lying flat on his stomach. This prayer is the longest recorded prayer in the bible.

      • His physical prostration before the Lord is not what the focus is, rather it’s Solomon’s heart before a Holy God.

      • Our heart before Holy God should be set upon making much of Him, His greatness and grandeur – nothing else.

    • Along with Solomon’s public prayer came 9 requests to the Lord.

      • Let’s begin with the first which was for God’s presence and protection.

  • Solomon first begins by acknowledging the very presence, promise, and power of God.

    • He begins in verse 23 with how Holy God stands alone and can not be compared to another.

      • As one theologian states, God is Holy other. There are no pagan gods or idols that can even stand against the Creator God Himself.

      • Notice Solomon’s words here. He says, “…there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath.”

      • Check out what Solomon’s father, David, said regarding his own prayer and abiding trust in the Lord.

Psalm 86:8 There is no one like You among the gods, O Lord, Nor are there any works like Yours.
Psalm 86:9 All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, And they shall glorify Your name.
Psalm 86:10 For You are great and do wondrous deeds; You alone are God.
  • Not only does Solomon look back at the stand-alone uniqueness of the God of Israel, but he speaks to the faithfulness of Yahweh.

    • Notice in 23b, he says, “keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to your servants”

    • That word “lovingkindness” is the Hebrew word hesed which means loyal love.

    • The God of Israel is the God who He alone exists in which none can compare, His word is true (promise keeper) and when He speaks His word is so!

      • We will see as we continue through this prayer that Solomon is going to both look back at Yahweh’s faithfulness as well as look forward towards His mercy.

    • Notice that the text mentions that the Lord has “Spoken with His mouth” and “fulfilled it with His hand”.

      • This once again reaffirms the promise-keeping faithfulness of the Lord.

      • Therefore, we know that the Lord is covenantal, a promise-keeper, steadfast, and can be taken at His word.

    • Furthermore, in verse 25 we see that as Solomon looks back on the faithfulness of God and His covenantal promises, that He request the Lord to continue to be faithful.

      • Solomon himself is seeing the Lord working out, yet not fully, the Davidic covenant at this moment.

      • This covenantal promise was provided with a conditional statement that David reminded his son about in 1 Kings 2.

      • That, if your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as David had walked, that the throne of David wouldn’t lack a man to sit on it.

      • Therefore, Solomon anticipates the same faithfulness of God given to him in his reign as was given to his father, David.

    • And he asks that the Lord confirm this promise. In other words, show this word to be truth as His word is truth.

      • And as we have studied throughout the scriptures, God’s word does not return to Him void. He always fulfils what He says He will do.

      • And this covenant would be no different even if the king and the people fail to uphold their conditional ends.

    • In other words, the Mosaic Covenant is not reliant upon the people to do their part in order for God to be faithful to His word.

      • Their success is blessed by God and their disobedience is rightfully judged by God, therefore God will always uphold His word!

      • Check out verses 27-30.

1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!
1 Kings 8:28 “Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today;
1 Kings 8:29 that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place.
1 Kings 8:30 “Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive.
  • Solomon continues on by acknowledging the reality that this permanent building on earth, by no means, was able to “contain” the Living God.

    • The reality was God was not contained just in the Temple, or even in the earth for that matter.

      • God dwelled in heaven yet He has the ability to be omnipresent which is being present everywhere and anywhere at any and all times.

      • This is what David was writing about in Psalm 139 talking about the omnipresence and omniscience of God. Check out Psalm 139:7-10.

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psalm 139:8 If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psalm 139:9 If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psalm 139:10 Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.
  • Yet even with God’s ability to be in any place at any moment in time, verse 28 reveals that the Lord inclines His ear to His children.

    • How good it is to know that the Lord is so far yet so near.

    • So grand yet so intimate with His creation.

    • That the Lord dwells in the highest place yet at the same time draws near to hear the cry and prayers of his people.

    • You don’t get too far in verse 30 without coming to the question of praying towards a particular direction.

      • It would seem that Solomon is advocating for the prayers of the people to be directed towards the Temple in order for the Lord to hear.

      • However, as we just discussed, God is omnipresent.

    • That whether you are facing west, east, north, or south God can hear you – the prayers of His people.

      • This aspect of the text is not prescriptive on the matter of prayer.

      • The Temple of the Lord simply served as a symbol of God’s everlasting character and presence.

      • And Solomon was very careful not to equate God’s presence as being in the Temple alone and this was made clear in verse 27.

    • Solomon now moved to asking the Lord to show mercy upon Israel when the people committed covenant violations when they turned back to Him.

      • The following verses, between this session and the next, are quite prophetic.

      • I say this because with all the shortcomings that Solomon mentions in the prayer, in verse 30b Solomon continues with the phrase, hear and forgive.

    • In other words, Solomon understood that with covenant violation came the curses of the Lord as mentioned in Deuteronomy.

      • And with those curses, there would require a turning of the people’s hearts from disobedience to obedience.

      • Therefore, mercy would be essential that the people may be restored not only in right fellowship with the Lord, but back to their spiritual life (blessing) in the land.

      • Check out verses 31-34.

1 Kings 8:31 “If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and he comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this house,
1 Kings 8:32 then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
1 Kings 8:33 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house,
1 Kings 8:34 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.
  • As we walk through the subsequent verses, you will see the pattern of future violations of the people related to the Mosaic covenant.

    • The first one that Solomon mentioned is sinning against one’s neighbor.

      • This was a covenant violation in several ways: 1) It was a violation against a fellow countryman (Jew), 2) a violation against God

      • Whether it is dealing with a neighbor’s property or the like, restitution would be required.

      • In the same way, we also know that the Law required according to Leviticus to love our neighbor as ourselves.

    • And with that violation, we are failing to truly love God.

      • So we see that Solomon has quite a good handle on understanding Torah as this is communicated through his prayer life.

    • I have mentioned before, how important it is that we as believers learn how to pray the scriptures.

      • This becomes essential because the more that we increase our scripture reading and time with the Lord, the more we can increase our prayer life.

      • And the more that we increase our prayer lives, the more that we get into alignment with the will of the Lord for our lives.

    • It is often said that our prayer life helps to align our affections and will to that of the Lords will.

      • We can adjust our temperament and focus on kingdom-minded matters rather than our own personal matters.

      • Because as we discovered, when we seek first the Kingdom of God and all His righteousness, all these things (whatever our needs are) the Lord will provide.

      • Again, our needs not our greeds!

    • Therefore, within Solomon’s prayer, he understands that no man will be able to keep the law perfectly.

      • He mentions this very reality in verse 46 of Chapter 8, check out the text:

1 Kings 8:46 “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near;
1 Kings 8:47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly’;
1 Kings 8:48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name;
  • So, Solomon is speaking to both the righteous judgment of God in accomplishing His justice for Jews who have wronged one another. (Exodus 22:8-11)

    • Solomon then moves to discussing forgiving the Israelites for their sins which ultimately will cause them to lose in battle.

      • Remember, when they are in right fellowship with Yahweh, the Lord always provides them victory.

      • However, when there is covenant violation, the Lord, by means of divine discipline will give them over to the hands of their enemies.

    • Notice the language that Solomon uses in verse 33b and 34. That where there is violation, he asks for mercy.

      • This mercy becomes an extension of the people’s recognition of their violation against Holy God.

    • That there must first be a turning of the hearts of the people of Israel and confession of their sin before God.

      • The word for “turn” in Hebrew is sheen-vav-ved it means to return or turn away from something and come back to a place or condition.

      • It’s what we know of in the New Testament as repent.

    • In order for there to be a turning from one thing, a recognition that violation has occurred must be made evident.

      • When that violation is made known something must be done and in this case forgiveness must be sought after, and that comes when there is a turning of the heart.

    • And notice that as it relates to the Jewish people when violation occurs the result is that they are removed from the land.

      • This all connects to the Abrahamic Covenant.

      • The Abrahamic covenant provides three things: 1) Land 2) Seed, and 3) Blessing.

    • We know that the seed is directly tied to that of the Davidic covenant which connects to Messiah, Jesus Christ.

      • The Land deals specifically with the promised land of Israel in which God has given the Jewish people.

    • Lastly, is the blessing which is the promise of the New Covenant for the Jewish people.

      • This promise is what Jeremiah talks about in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Check out the text:

Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah,
Jeremiah 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 31:33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • This future promise of the law being put upon the Jews' minds and hearts and them knowing the Lord because of an inward ability, through the enabling power of the Holy Spirit, was a yet future event for them.

    • This is ultimately the thrust of Peter’s message in Acts 2.

      • That in order to understand what had been completed through the person and work of Christ, there first had to be a turning of the heart.

      • The New Testament word for repent in this sense is metanoeo which means a change of mind.

      • A change of heart and an abandonment of former dispositions occurs which is the action of New Testament repentance which leads one to knowing Christ.

    • This is why in Acts 2, after Peter’s sermon, verse 37 mentions that “they were pierced to the heart”

      • That word “pierced” means wounded in conscience, there was a realization of an egregious violation, and in this case the realization of the death of Christ because of their sin (“whom you crucified”).

    • So when we go back to 1 Kings 8:34 what we see is Solomon asking the Lord to show mercy to the people when that time comes that they may return back to the land.

      • We know that this mercy was extended at a particular time in history.

      • The culminating piece of Israel’s history regarding their disobedience led to them being removed from their land in the Babylonian captivity.

    • Therefore, Solomon is given prophetic insight into the prophet’s days as it relates to the discipline in which Israel is going to go through.

      • However, even in their discipline and ultimate removal from their land, it would only be for a time.

      • And the reason being is because of one simple thing – God’s mercy shown towards them by the reemergence and revival of His word in their hearts.

    • So when we get to books such as Ezra and Nehemiah or even Zechariah and Malachi, it is the prophets trying to get the people back to the heart of God by way of Torah.

      • The words of Solomon would ultimately be necessary for the Jewish exiles in a future day, to plea for repentance in order to return to Jerusalem.

    • And in a similar manner, it will not be until towards the end of the tribulation when national Israel declares Matthew 23, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”, responding to Jesus Christ as their Messiah, that Christ will return.

      • And in His returning, the fulfilment of their hearts being made new and their return to the Land that they will see the fulfilment of God’s promise.

  • What a day that will be in which all who have placed their faith in Christ will witness the culminating power and glory of our promise-keeping God.

    • That every nation will be represented in the Kingdom, both Jew and Gentile, all singing praise to the King.

      • And of the celebrations in which will inaugurate the Millennial Kingdom will be the very feast celebrated as in Solomon’s day of prayer and dedication – the Feast of Tabernacles.

    • There is a future day in which the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man and King, will dwell with His people here on earth in Jerusalem for a thousand years.

      • And in that yet future day, He will reign gloriously with justice and righteousness.

      • The promise of the Lord will be fulfilled, and His glory made continuously known throughout the earth.

      • Let’s Pray.