THE PROMISE OF PRAYER
Thank You, Wondrous God, that You hear me when I call to You.
Read 1 Kings 8:46–61
46 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.
52 “May your eyes be open to your servant’s plea and to the plea of your people Israel, and may you listen to them whenever they cry out to you. 53 For you singled them out from all the nations of the world to be your own inheritance, just as you declared through your servant Moses when you, Sovereign Lord, brought our ancestors out of Egypt.”
54 When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. 55 He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhy did the Temple exist in the first place? Why was the entire sacrificial system necessary?
Solomon now identifies the key reasons for visiting the Temple. Each proves that dependence on God lies at its heart (note the six reasons given in verses 31–45). Now comes the seventh and central reason in verse 46. Solomon is not telling God something he doesn’t already know. The very existence of the Temple presupposes our sinfulness and God’s commitment to forgive. Verses 46 to 49 allude to the period of the judges. They didn’t have the Temple then, of course, but they did endure this depressing cycle 12 times!
Israel sins—Israel handed over to enemies—Israel repents—God forgives and restores.
On this basis, the king prays for God to continue the same commitment. Now that the Temple is built, it should be much harder for Israel to forget the covenant. Notice his plea on the basis of what God did in constituting Israel after their rescue from Egypt (50,51). If God did that, why wouldn’t he forgive them? The Temple is in keeping with God’s character—he longs to forgive. This is a watershed moment in Israel’s history (54–61). A permanent home for the Ark marks the end of their nomadic existence. Solomon blesses the nation—but not just for their own sake. The whole world would be blessed through it (60; Gen. 12:1–3).
Do you often find yourself in the same cycle of sin, consequences and repentance? Find a godly accountability partner to walk alongside you as you break free from this cycle.
Confess your sin—and your wonder at being cleansed and forgiven.
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