Real World, Real God
Sovereign Lord, on this day dedicated to gratitude, I offer thanks for all Your blessings, including the privilege of living in this nation.
Read 1 KINGS 8:46-61
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Heb. 4:16).
I enjoy watching good impressionists, but I watched a student in a concert years ago whose imitation of a colleague caught his mannerisms exactly, yet came across as cruel and unkind. I decided you can only do such things well if you really like the person you are imitating. Kindness is important–but sometimes we are mistaken if we think that real Christians should only ever say nice things about people, never acknowledging that they may have done something which ought to be challenged. That is not what it says in the Bible. Solomon ends his prayer with the realism with which he began. Israel will go wrong–because we all do. The point is that when they do and when they find themselves suffering the consequences of what they have done, there is a way forward. Of course this involves more ifs. If they acknowledge what they have done, if they “have a change of heart” (47) and are really sorry, and if they “turn back to [God] with all their heart and soul” (48), then he will be only too ready to receive them. Perhaps Jesus had been reflecting on passages like this one before he told the story of the prodigal son.
Solomon’s prayer is quite long, but basically it boils down to a request that God will continue to be who he is. God doesn’t really need to be told who he is and certainly doesn’t need a reminder to be who he is. It is we who need to be reminded, and the best way to do that is to talk about it to each other and also to him. Remember that one of our key purposes is that “all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other” (60).
Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves of who God is and of how we have failed. Maybe today is a good day to pray verses 56-61 for ourselves.
Lord, at this Thanksgiving time, may I remember that all I have is Your gift. I thank You, Lord, for Your provisions and blessings.