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Wednesday, March 09, 2022

2022.03.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ 1 Kings 8:54–66

Read 1 Kings 8:54–66

Questions from the Scripture text: Before what had Solomon just finished doing (1 Kings 8:54)? What did he do now? In what posture had he been? What posture did he now take (1 Kings 8:55)? To do what? With what kind of voice? Whom does he bless when blessing them (1 Kings 8:56)? What had He done? To whom? According to what? What does Solomon request in the blessing (1 Kings 8:57a)? What does he ask not to happen (verse 57b)? What does he want Yahweh to do to their hearts (1 Kings 8:58)? So that they would do what? Whom had Yahweh commanded all these things? What did Solomon want Yahweh to do with his words (1 Kings 8:59)? When/how much? For what goal (1 Kings 8:60)? Whom does 1 Kings 8:61 command that these things would happen? Who do what before Whom in 1 Kings 8:62? What type of offering does Solomon offer (1 Kings 8:63)? How many of which animals? How does the end of verse 63 summarize the whole chapter thus far? When does 1 Kings 8:64 take place? What did the king consecrate? Where? With what three things? Why did this area have to be consecrated—why not just use the bronze altar? When does 1 Kings 8:65 take place? What did Solomon host? With whom? Where? How long? What does he do to the people after (1 Kings 8:66)? What do they do to the king? Where do they go? With what kind of hearts? Why? Whom had Yahweh done good?

At one point in my life, I had a pastor who used to give doxologies (like Jude 24–25 or in Revelation 5:12-13) as benedictions. It struck me as odd then, but that was because I did not love the glory of God enough or see how completely my blessedness was bound up in that glory. Apparently, Solomon sees both of these things, because when he goes to bless all the assembly of Israel (1 Kings 8:55) what he speaks with a loud voice is the blessedness of the LORD (1 Kings 8:56). As this passage holds forth the blessedness of belonging to the ever-blessed God, it emphasizes three things to us:

God’s Promises

It is a wonderful thing to have promises from the LORD, for not one word of all His good promise has ever failed (1 Kings 8:56). Now, if that was true already in 1 Kings 8, how much more can we be sure about His promises after the coming of Jesus, in Whom all of those promises find their “yes” and “amen” (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20)? 

And what are some of those promises? There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (cf. Romans 8:1). He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies (cf. Romans 8:11). We are “joint heirs with Christ” and will “be glorified together with Him” (cf. Romans 8:17). All things work together for good for those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose (cf. Romans 8:28). Those whom He justified He also glorified (cf. Romans 8:30). He Who delivered His own Son up for us will surely together with Him freely give us all things (cf. Romans 8:32). In all these things we are more than conquerors (cf. Romans 8:37). Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God (cf. Romans 8:39). And that’s from just one chapter! Not one word of any of that will ever fail.

Many of us have as one of our favorite promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (1 Kings 8:57, cf. Hebrews 13:5), but let us take to heart what that means in 1 Kings 8:57-58. The LORD is not with us unto our ends, but unto His infinitely good ends; His pledging Himself to be with us is “that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways,” etc. (1 Kings 8:58).

God’s Glory

Right hearts and right walking are the purpose for which we most need His nearness. By being near His people to make them walk in His ways, the LORD displays His exclusive glory as God (1 Kings 8:60).

May I ask you, dear reader, whether this was the case with Israel during the time of Solomon’s temple? Is it not more so with the church, and ought it not be more so? O how we should love for “the peoples of the earth to know that Yahweh is God; there is no other” (verse 60)! Therefore, let us seek from Him to be near us to make us walk in obedience to all that He has commanded.

Notice that what Solomon prays for in 1 Kings 8:58, he commands the people in 1 Kings 8:61. It is perfectly consistent to pray to the Lord that people would do something, and to command the people to do it. Both wills are involved, but except for the mercy of God, there will never be any obedience from sinful man.

Our Joy

Finally, the blessing produces joy. There is no joy greater than seeing the glory and goodness of God. This is the ultimate joy unto which the Lord has created us and redeemed us. The sheer volume of sacrifices in this feast of joy requires that the entire middle court be consecrated into a makeshift altar (1 Kings 8:62-64). The feasting from those sacrifices lasts two weeks for the entire nation (1 Kings 8:65). And on the eighth day of the second week, when they return home, their hearts are still ringing with joy over the goodness of God.

Marvelously, this great joy is only anticipatory of what our joy will be like with God, not just for two weeks, but continually and forever in the New Heavens and New Earth. The mind cannot comprehend what that joy will be. And if the mind could comprehend it, the heart would not be able to endure the intensity of considering it. Blessed be the Name of our God; we literally cannot imagine what is being pronounced upon us in His benedictions!

When do you hear benedictions? How does this passage help you think through what is being pronounced upon you at that time? How should you think/feel during a benediction?

Sample prayer:  Lord, thank You for choosing to glorify Your everblessed Self by enmeshing our blessedness with the glory of Your Name. Forgive us for when we lose sight of the greatness and certainty of Your promises in Christ. And make us to rejoice over Your glory and goodness, even as we look forward to doing so forever in Christ, in Whom we ask it, AMEN!

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