Wednesday, March 02, 2022

2022.03.02 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 8:22–53

Read 1 Kings 8:22–53

Questions from the Scripture text: Before what did Solomon stand in 1 Kings 8:22? In whose presence? What does he do with his hands? Whom does he address (1 Kings 8:23)? What doesn’t exist? What about God is so unique? What do His servants do? What has God done (1 Kings 8:24a)? How does verse 24b describe this? What does Solomon now ask Yahweh to do (1 Kings 8:25-26)? Upon what condition had this promise been made? What does Solomon ask (1 Kings 8:27)? How does he himself answer? What does he ask in 1 Kings 8:28, as an indication that the Lord was making His dwelling known/experienced there that day? And at what other times (1 Kings 8:29)? In response to whose else’s prayers (1 Kings 8:30)? What is the great response from God that we need to all of the prayers that we make? What situation does 1 Kings 8:31-32 treat? For what outcome does Solomon ask (verse 32)? What situation does 1 Kings 8:33a describe? With what response from the people (verse 33b)? And what desired response from God (1 Kings 8:34)? What does verse 34b imply would have happened? What situation does 1 Kings 8:35 describe? For what three responses does 1 Kings 8:36 ask? What situation does 1 Kings 8:37 ask about? But what is the real plague (1 Kings 8:38)? For what does he ask, when they come to recognize this (1 Kings 8:39)? For what ultimate goal/outcome (1 Kings 8:40)? About whom does 1 Kings 8:41 address God? Why would this foreigner come to Israel (1 Kings 8:41-42)? What does he do in verse 42? What does 1 Kings 8:43 ask for him? Why? About what situation does 1 Kings 8:44 ask? For what does he ask (1 Kings 8:45)? To what situation does 1 Kings 8:46 return (cf. 1 Kings 8:33-34)? What would they do in captivity (1 Kings 8:47)? With what attitude and actions (1 Kings 8:48)? For what does he ask (1 Kings 8:49-501 Kings 8:52)? Why (1 Kings 8:511 Kings 8:53)? 

Yahweh is incomparable (1 Kings 8:23a) in keeping His covenant and steadfast-love (verse 23b). Man’s idol gods end up reflecting man. But God’s faithfulness and glory have been demonstrated just in the construction of the temple. His faithfulness is shown in the fact of the structure’s existence; God had promised David this would happen (1 Kings 8:24), and it has. God’s glory is shown in the intricacy of the structure’s details, hinting at Eden and the heavens with an other-worldliness that we have seen over the last two chapters.

But God’s incomparable glory presents a problem (1 Kings 8:27). Heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him. The temple, of course, cannot contain Him. But the answer to the question is, “Yes! God will indeed dwell on the earth.” To be sure, He will make His presence known in the temple. But there would come a day when a human body would be the actual temple (cf. John 2:19–20). Solomon’s question seems like a rhetorical question with an implied answer of “no,” but one of the great wonders of the gospel is Whose blood it is flowed through those veins and was poured out at the cross (cf. Acts 20:28). In Jesus, the fullness of the Godhead has dwelt bodily (cf. Colossians 1:15–20, Colossians 2:9). In Him, God dwells with us in a way that has a final and complete fulfillment yet to come (cf. Matthew 1:23; Revelation 21:3). 

And God’s faithfulness presents a problem. He is faithful to do what He says! So far, so good, when we’re talking about 2 Samuel 7 and the promises concerning David’s seed, David’s [S!]eed, and the building of the temple. 1 Kings 8:26 basically pleads for Christ to come. When we see God’s past and present faithfulness, we are strengthened to believe God’s future faithfulness.

But He’s also faithful to Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.  That means the covenant curses aren’t the vain threats of a parent who never follows through. They’re so certain to happen that much of Solomon’s prayer is pleading with God forgiveness after they have been carried out. Historically, this is interesting because by the time Judah is fully exiled, the structure before which the king is praying will be gone. 

But the presence of God will still be known in His hearing prayer. And the presence of God will still be known in His forgiving the penitent. 

Whatever other good we are asking God for, we are asking Him for forgiveness. Considering the wilderness period, the period of the judges, and what is to come in the divided kingdom period, Israel is in a season of comparative faithfulness. But 1 Kings 8:301 Kings 8:321 Kings 8:341 Kings 8:361 Kings 8:391 Kings 8:50 all ask for forgiveness. Why? Because the Lord is faithful to Himself, and our sin means that His righteousness and holiness must be vindicated, and we must be punished.

We are not entitled to any good thing. So, when we ask for any good thing, we are asking first and foremost for forgiveness. This is why we ask always in Jesus’s Name. It is in Him alone that we have forgiveness from God. This is another way in which the temple, and the sacrifices which were offered there, looked forward to Christ. Solomon’s prayer asks God to have regard for His promises, and His determination to make a safe way for man to come into His presence, and His provision of sacrifices through which to draw near. 

Solomon’s prayer, ultimately, asks God to have regard for Christ and His sacrifice to come. And all of our praying must be built upon asking God to have regard for Christ and His sacrifice already made, once-for-all.

Forgiveness is granted with its corresponding benefits: instruction and repentance. We need to note at least one more thing before we leave this passage. There are two other things that we need from God, along with forgiveness and as a result of forgiveness. We need Him to bring us to repentance. Leviticus 26:40–45 promised that God would use the exile to bring about 1 Kings 8:47–48. Even in 1 Kings 8:36 we see this: that when God is forgiving His people’s sin, He uses their affliction to “teach them the good way in which they should walk.

So, as we ask God for forgiveness along with whatever other good thing, let us also be asking that He would make us to walk in righteousness and holiness. For, this is what forgiven people do. 

What have you been asking God for in prayer? What must you necessarily be asking for as well? What hope do you have that these prayers will be answered? What will your life look like as they are?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for coming and dwelling among us in Christ, so that we may know that through Him we have the forgiveness of our sins and the hearing of our prayers. Forgive us for being so slow to hate our sin or to appreciate what You have done about it in Christ, and grant that we would rejoice in Him and walk with You, we ask in His Name, AMEN!

Suggested songs: ARP122 “I Was Filled with Joy and Gladness” or TPH164 “God Himself Is with Us”

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