Solomon Praises the Lord
1 Then Solomon prayed, “O Lord, you have said that you would live in a thick cloud of darkness. 2Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever!”
A sense of fulfillment: The temple has been built! It is a beginning as well as an end, for it not only signals a fulfillment for God’s plans for Israel, but also it becomes a reference point for the stories of subsequent kings. Will they be able to secure the blessings of God through obedience? That is the challenge for the community of Israel then — and for us as Christian believers now. If we love the Lord, John 14:15 says, we will keep his commandments.
3 Then the king turned around to the entire community of Israel standing before him and gave this blessing: 4 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. For he told my father, 5 ‘From the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have never chosen a city among any of the tribes of Israel as the place where a Temple should be built to honor my name. Nor have I chosen a king to lead my people Israel. 6 But now I have chosen Jerusalem as the place for my name to be honored, and I have chosen David to be king over my people Israel.’”
7 Then Solomon said, “My father, David, wanted to build this Temple to honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 8 But the Lord told him, ‘You wanted to build the Temple to honor my name. Your intention is good, 9 but you are not the one to do it. One of your own sons will build the Temple to honor me.’
10 “And now the Lord has fulfilled the promise he made, for I have become king in my father’s place, and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the Lord promised. I have built this Temple to honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. 11 There I have placed the Ark, which contains the covenant that the Lord made with the people of Israel.”
HERE is “You’re Worthy of My Praise.”
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication
12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel, and he lifted his hands in prayer. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform 7½ feet long, 7½ feet wide, and 4½ feet high and had placed it at the center of the Temple’s outer courtyard. He stood on the platform, and then he knelt in front of the entire community of Israel and lifted his hands toward heaven. 14He prayed,
The subject of this prayer is, in a sense, prayer itself (vv. 19-21). It envisages Israel, in future generations and as a matter of habit, seeking God in prayer in the Temple. Prayer is to be the essential instrument in the continuing relationship between God and his people. Notice how Solomon’s first petition is that God would keep the promises that he has already made. This says much about the role of prayer in the relationship between God and man. If we feel that prayer is not worth while on the grounds that God is sovereign and will do what he pleases in any case, we fail to perceive that it belongs fundamentally to God’s purposes for humanity that we should identify and come to desire the things which he desires for us. When Solomon pictures future generations at prayer, it is for them to be laying claim to things God promised long ago.
–J. G. McConville
Here are the words of a chorus my mother taught me when I was a small child, back in the last century:
Every promise in the Book is mine,
Every chapter, every verse, every line,
All are blessings of His love divine,
Every promise in the Book is mine.
“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.
16 “And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow my Law as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ 17 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David.
18 “But will God really live on earth among people?
Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 19 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. 20 May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 21 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.
It is as if Solomon has an intimation, or even a foreboding, that the normal behavior of future generations will be of unfaithfulness rather than obedience. Solomon knows that God will certainly keep his covenant and show steadfast love. Paul says it another way: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
22 “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of your altar at this Temple, 23 then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Pay back the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence.
24 “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn back and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave to them and to their ancestors.
26 “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.
28 “If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is—29 and if your people Israel pray about their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, 30 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 31 Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.
32 “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands when they hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, 33 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.
34 “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 35 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.
36 “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far away or near. 37 But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ 38 If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their captivity and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name—39 then hear their prayers and their petitions from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned against you.
40 “O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place.
41 “And now arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place,
along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation;
may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness.
42 O Lord God, do not reject the king you have anointed.
Remember your unfailing love for your servant David.”
Let us praise God today that he DOES dwell among us as we live out our salvation in the power of our risen Lord!
Let us rejoice in his everlasting goodness and thank him for always hearing and answering our prayers!
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.