NO ONE IS WITHOUT SIN
Lord, be with us as You were with Your people Israel.
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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Separation from the ungodly is a salient theme in both testaments, actually predating the Mosaic era. See Genesis 12:1.
We have passed over some of Solomon’s protracted prayer. Refer to verses 41–43, where he refers to the evangelistic emphasis of the temple. Israel may have been singled out as God’s special inheritance among the nations, but that is so that all the peoples of the earth might know that there is no God other than the Lord. Solomon is aware that the witness of Israel to the world may lack consistency. There is a recognition that sin is never far away from everyone—and the consequences of sin for Israel would be defeat in battle and, the ultimate sanction, exile from the land.
During his prayer Solomon does not contemplate Israel as an unrepentant nation. He sees Israel, like the prodigal son, coming to her senses in the far country and then directing her prayers towards the temple. That the temple itself would be destroyed at the bidding of God is not in his thoughts, but he at least knows that God’s presence is not restricted to the temple. Not yet revealed is that the problem of sin is so great that the only means of ultimate forgiveness will be through the destruction of the true temple, Jesus Christ, and through his resurrection after three days.
A consciousness of the mercy and forgiveness of God compels us to be fully committed to the Lord. How could we not respond fully to a God who cares so much for us? Obedience is the highest expression of love. Jesus tells his disciples that if they love him, they will keep his commandments. He then promises that the Spirit of the living God will dwell in them. We become the temple of the living God. We need no physical temple in Jerusalem. God dwells in us and will never leave us.
Reflect on Solomon’s prayer from the conviction that you are now a living temple.
Lord, we acknowledge the responsibility attached to living a life as the temple of Your Holy Spirit.
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