1 Sept. 1 Kings 8:22-34,54-57,62-63

1 Sept.  Solomon prays in the Temple

“Then Solomon stood facing the LORD’s altar, and all the Israelites were standing behind him. He spread out his hands towards the sky and said: ‘LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below.’”

“’You keep your agreement of love with your servants who truly follow you. You have kept the promise you made to your servant David, my father. You spoke it with your own mouth and finished it with your hands today… You said, “If your sons are careful to obey me as you have obeyed me, there will always be someone from your family ruling Israel.” Now, God of Israel, please continue to keep that promise you made to your servant David, my father.’”

“’But, God, can you really live here on the earth? The sky and the highest place in heaven cannot contain you. Surely this house which I have built cannot contain you. But please listen to my prayer and my request, because I am your servant… Night and day please watch over this Temple where you have said, “I will be worshipped there.” Hear the prayer I pray facing this Temple… Hear from your home in heaven, and when you hear, forgive us.’”

“’If someone wrongs another person, he will be brought to the altar in this Temple. If he swears an oath that he is not guilty, then hear in heaven. Judge the case, punish the guilty, but declare that the innocent person is not guilty.’”

“’When your people, the Israelites, sin against you, their enemies will defeat them. But if they come back to you and praise you and pray to you in this Temple, then hear them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors…’”

“Solomon prayed this prayer to the LORD, kneeling in front of the altar with his arms raised toward heaven. When he finished praying he got up. Then, in a loud voice, he stood and blessed all the people of Israel, saying: ‘Praise the LORD! He promised he would give rest to his people Israel, and he has given us rest. The LORD has kept all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses. May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our ancestors…’”

“Then King Solomon and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the LORD. Solomon killed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. So the king and all the people gave the Temple to the LORD.”

          (1 Kings 8:22-34, 54-57, 62-63)

 

 

Solomon’s prayer stands out as the highlight in the ceremony of the dedication of the Temple.

Solomon stood before the altar, lifted his hands up towards heaven, and acknowledged that there was “no God like you in heaven above or on earth below.” (1 Kings 8:23) Then he implored God to keep the promise he made to his father David, that “there will always be someone from your family ruling Israel.” (1 Kings 8:25)

Solomon then recognized that, however magnificent the new Temple was, it could never contain God – whose glory fills the whole of the heavens and the earth.  “The sky and the highest place in heaven cannot contain you. Surely this house which I have built cannot contain you.” (1 Kings 8:27)

So, unlike many of the temples in surrounding countries, there was no image of God in the Temple in Jerusalem. While the Temple was built to worship God, Solomon recognised that God was not confined to this building. So he prayed, “Hear from your home in heaven, and when you hear, forgive us.” (1 Kings 8:30)

Finally, Solomon recognised that if the Israelites turned away from God, he would allow their enemies to defeat them: “But if they come back to you and praise you and pray to you in this Temple, then hear them in heaven. Forgive the sins of your people Israel, and bring them back to the land you gave to their ancestors.” (1 Kings 8:34)

The dedication of the Temple ended by offering numerous sacrifices to the LORD. Solomon killed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep as fellowship offerings. Indeed, there were so many burnt offerings that the sacrifices had to be made in the courtyard outside the Temple because the bronze altar was too small to hold all the offerings (see 1 Kings 8:64).

The photo shows a painting by James Tissot (1836-1902) of Solomon dedicating the Temple at Jerusalem (in the Jewish Museum in New York).

You can read more about Solomon’s Temple @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/31-the-golden-age-of-israel-under-king-solomon/solomon-build-the-temple-in-jerusalem/


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