This was a high point in the life of Solomon and his people. After his father David had died he prayed for wisdom and was given it in great measure. He also became very rich and powerful. He built himself a palace and also the first great temple – a ‘house of the Lord.’ It was an ambitious and awesome achievement, using all the best materials, impressive architecture and layout and nothing was spared to ensure its impact as the national centre for the worship of God. Although no building on earth could actually contain the God who created heaven and earth – it was seen as the place where his name could dwell – a kind of listening post or sounding board responsive to any prayer and praise that could be offered there.
Solomon makes it clear that in his covenant with his people God remains faithful to his covenant with his people – his steadfast loving kindness and faithfulness towards them – this tireless commitment to seek the very best for them. I Kings 8:29 is a plea that this could be true day and night – the watchful eye and the listening ear and compassionate Spirit of God are always available to those who approach him in prayer.
But the irony and tragedy is that although God was constant, his people proved to be consistently fickle and it was only very much later in history that we see the fulfilment of God’s intentions in the Son of David, Jesus Christ, Son of Man, Saviour of the World, the one of whom the writer to the Hebrews could say was ‘the same, yesterday, today and forever.’

1 Kings 8:22 – 53

Questions:

  • ‘But will God really dwell on earth?’ How goes Solomon resolve this question in I Kings 8:27 – 30?
  • Solomon asks God to hear the foreigners who pray to him in the temple – how does this challenge us as 21st Century Christians. Are our prayers both local and global in their focus?
  • Solomon says we need to admit we have ‘sinned, done wrong and acted wickedly’ (I Kings 8:42). Her also says we need to have a ‘change of heart.’ How does this work out in our ongoing daily walk with Christ and with each other?