1 Kings 8

1 Kings 8 has Solomon calling the people together to dedicate the temple.  “Then Solomon assembled the elders….to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David”.  He is finally bringing the ark to place it in the temple where it belongs.  And as part of the celebration, scripture tells us they were “sacrificing so many sheep and oxen that they could not be counted or numbered”.  We find out at the end of the chapter that “Solomon offered as peace offerings to the Lord 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep”.  I can’t imagine the scene of that many animals being sacrificed to the Lord.

Solomon reminds the people “I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the Lord promised, and I have built the house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel”.  He is where God has planned for him to be and he’s doing what God had planned for him to do.  So now he is blessing what has been built.  “Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day”.  He reminds the people of God’s promises which are coming true.

He moves into intercessor mode and asks God “If they sin against you – for there is no one who does not sin….and pray to you toward their land….then hear in heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their plea, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you, and all their transgressions that they have committed against you”.  Solomon knows the people will sin.  He has history to validate that plus the fact that he’s the wisest man to ever live.  Sin is unfortunately part of being human, so Solomon is asking God to go easy on His people when they pray and seek forgiveness.

Solomon was very visible and transparent and “as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice”.  Solomon made a statement to his people as he blessed them before God.  And he reminded them “Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments”.  Obedience brings blessing and Solomon wants his people focused on walking well with God.


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