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Solomon's prayer of dedication. 1 Kings 8
Solomon's prayer of dedication
I Kings 8

This morning I want to talk to you about a vital aspect of our faith-- PRAYER

-Prayer is the act of talking to, communing with, drawing near to God.
-To pray is an act of faith, for in praying we believe that God exists, that He cares, that He is able to help us, that He will answer
-We are to pray in everything and about all things and at all times
-Prayer has different aspects-- praise, thanks, confession of sin, intercession, petition, silence, complaint, surrender, trust
-Before we make any decisions in life- personally or here at church, we need to pray- bringing it to God- seeking His will, His direction, His blessing, His wisdom, His help.

The Bible contains a number of recorded prayers. A really big one is found in 1 Kings 8- which I hope you had a chance to read this week.

In 1 Kings 8 the Ark of the Lord/covenant is brought to the newly finished Temple - a building that took 7 years to build, cost innumerable dollars, and involved over 100,000 workers.

As part of the dedication ceremony for Temple (which until Christ finished his work was the most important building on earth and the center of Jewish worship of the Lord) Solomon offers up a long prayer to the Lord on behalf of the people.

One really neat thing about this prayer is that it was all future oriented- meaning that no immediate needs are addressed. Secondly: The prayer is prophetic, for as Solomon prays, he prays about the exile to come, asking God to forgive His people and to restore them to their land. Thirdly: Solomon's prayer has a lot of NT connections (i.e when read in conjunction with James 4:9 and 1 John 1:9)


LETS READ THE TEXT TOGETHER- that we might learn some more about prayer and be inspired to keep on with the Lord


OBSERVATIONS, LESSONS, PRINCIPLES

1. The preamble of Solomon's prayer emphasizes the faithfulness of God to his promises and Word v.15-22

We need to hold on to this truth: God always keeps His promises! Hold on to them

Great verse: Psalm 145:18 "The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises and faithful in all He does"


2. Solomon's many references (8x) to his father David (v.15-26) shows how much he respected his fathers faith

This leads me to believe that the faith of his Father was something that he wanted to copy into his life. He wanted the relationship with God that David had.

As for this faith, Solomon started out on the right foot-- sadly, he didn't continue

Further evidence that he wanted to be like his dad as it related to God note how Solomon copies the pattern of David-- The first big act of David as King over all Israel was to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (symbolically putting God first). In parallel, the first big act of Solomon is to build the Temple and then bring the Ark of the covenant (containing the 10 commandments and the basis for God's relationship with Israel) to it.

Point: If you are a father-- the example we set as it regards our walk with the LORD is a big deal!


3. By his dedication prayer, Solomon turned the focus of the Temple from animal sacrifice to being a house of prayer for all nations see v.41-43

While at the end of the dedication of the Temple a mind boggling number of animals are offered as sacrifice to the Lord, during the main part of the dedication service the focus is not on the Temple being a place of sacrifice but as a place of prayer for all nations.

Indeed: remember Jesus' rebuke of the Pharisees in Matthew 21:13 'It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it 'a den of robbers.'"

Solomon's emphasis shows us how important prayer is for us and that we are to be a people of prayer.

4. The theology of Solomon's prayer is high, holy, and meant to draw us to the Lord in faith and in trust

Note how Solomon speaks of God:

-He is the only true God (this assertion brackets the core of his prayer v.23, 60***
-He is the ultimate Judge v.32
-He knows every heart v.39
-He keeps every promise He makes
-He relates to his people in love v.23 "a covenant of love"
-He is not a God who is far away and unknowable-- He is one who hears the cries of people and draws near to those who call upon him in faith and with repentant hearts.


5. Over the course of his prayer Solomon makes 7 petitions, 5 of which have sin as their focus -- this focus highlights what our biggest problem is: Our SINFULNESS. This of course takes us to Jesus who is the answer to our sin and the only way to be forgiven. v.30-53

Sins Solomon addresses

-The sin of Injustice and lying v.31-32
-Sins that result in military defeats v.33-34
-Sins that result in drought v.35-36
-Sins that brings famine famine, plague, mildew, locusts, disease, enemies at the gate v.37-40
-Sins that result in captivity in foreign lands v.46-51

In each case Solomon calls upon God/intercedes- asking that when the Israelites confess their sins, repent, turn back to God, begin to worship Him again in truth- that he would hear their prayers, forgive them, return to them, restore them

NOTE v. 46 says; "for there is no one who does not sin" this parallels Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"

READ V.46-48 and note how it sounds so familiar to us as the pattern for getting right with God in Christ.

Take a close look at v.47 and the phrase "We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly" Why is so hard for us to say this-- about our lying, our sexual immorality-- whether it be having sex outside of marriage or internet porn, our attitudes, our negativity, our lack of forgiveness, our bitterness, our jealousy, our refusal to share or to give faithfully.

We must learn to follow the pattern of repentance and blessing that the Scripture lays out!

Our sin is why Jesus came-- to save us from the judgment to come and to grant to us the forgiveness of sin and eternal life.

There is one way to be saved-- in the person of Jesus who perfectly kept the law and then died as a once for all sacrifice for our sins. Hence the call to confess our sins, repent of them and believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and so be saved. I John 1:9


6. The repeated phrase "then hear from heaven" remind us that God hears the prayers of those who call upon Him in truth- and that He will draw near to them. See v. 30, 32, 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 50

James 4:8 says; "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." Note how this follows the exact pattern of Solomon's prayer!

Psalm 145:18 says; "God is near to all who call to Him - to all who call to Him in truth."

Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you! 1 Peter 5:7



CONCLUSION

If you remember anything about I Kings 8 remember that its about prayer

We are to be a people of prayer

We are to keep on praying in joy, sorrow, the good, and the bad times.

Reminder: For our prayers to be effective (1 Peter 3:7)- we need to deal with the sin in our lives-- confess it, repent of it, turn from it.

A new initiative: I've just started sending out the prayer list from our Sunday service-- If you'd like to receive the email, that you can be better informed and join in our community of prayer-- please pass your email along to me and let me know-- for the more prayer, the better.



A fitting song to sing based on what wraps the core of Solomon's prayer -- being his statement about God being awesome and the only true God: "Our God" by Chris Tomlin