Commitment to Success
(Solomon’s Blessing)
1 Kings 8:54-61

January 26

 

Background Reading: 1 Kings 8:54-66
Devotional Reading: Psalm 136:1-16, 23-25

Keep in Mind:

“The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he not leave us or abandon us, but incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors.”  1 Kings 8:57-58

Lesson Aim:

EXAMINE Solomon’s prayer of dedication;
AFFIRM God’s continued faithfulness to His people; and

COMMIT ourselves to obeying God’s commands.

Background

As recorded in 1 Kings 8, King Solomon offered three prayers during the dedication ceremony: the first in verses 14-21; the second in verses 22-53; and the third in verses 54-61.  The first prayer in verses 14 through 21 concentrates on God’s promise to Solomon’s father, David, to always have an heir from his family sitting on the throne throughout eternity (2 Samuel 7:5-16). 

 

The second prayer verses 22 through 53 concentrates on the expansion of gratitude to God for His faithfulness to His promises and a plea to believe God hears our prayers.  King Solomon reminded the people that God’s presence is not confined to a building.  God is everywhere.  Therefore, the message was that when they found themselves far away from the Temple in Jerusalem, if they would physically turn toward the Temple and pray, God would hear and respond.  Today, Christians only need to call on the name of Jesus in prayer wherever they find themselves.  Our location and physical posture are not important.  It is the spiritual condition of our hearts that matters. fundamental core of the dedication ceremony. 


Lesson Commentary:


Renewed Commitment (1 Kings 8:54-58, NRSV)

54Now when Solomon finished offering all this prayer and this plea to the LORD, he arose from facing the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven;
55he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice:
56"Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel according to all that he promised; not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke through his servant Moses.
57The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our ancestors; may he not leave us or abandon us,
58but incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances, which he commanded our ancestors.

The third prayed King Solomon offered during the dedication of the Temple is in verses 54-61.  After the conclusion of the second prayer in verses 22 through 53, he stands up and faces the people.  He has humbled himself in the sacred space that will be used to worship and honor God.  He understands the historical and spiritual importance of the dedication of the Temple for the Israelites at the moment and in the future.  Now he has to address the people of Israel who have assembled for the historical occasion (verses 54-55). 

 

The priests were the ones who blessed the people (Numbers :23-27).  However, Solomon’s “blessing” here is actually a prayer of blessing and praise to God.  King Solomon praises God for rest from Israel’s enemies and His faithfulness (verse 56).  His father, David, was a great warrior who defeated many of the nations who were enemies of Israel (2 Samuel 7; 1 Kings 5:3-4).  These nations had not been eradicated when Israel took possession of the Promised Land in Canaan (Judges 1).  The nation is now at rest from the threat of attacks because David defeated these enemies.  However, this made David a warrior who had shed blood, which disqualified him from building the Temple.  God was gracious and promised David that his son would be the one to do it. 

 

Solomon and his generation of Israelites need God’s presence just as much as their ancestors did (verse 57).  God promised to “not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).  But King Solomon knew there was a commitment needed on their part to “incline our hearts to him” to keep the covenant.  The Israelites, like us, had a tendency to stray away from God.  If we love God, we should obey His laws and commands, not our own desires.  We have to yield our hearts, minds, and souls totally to Him.

1.     How does God’s presence make a difference in our lives?

2.     Why is it important to seek Gods direction before implementing a plan?

3.     What role does prayer have in our success as we engage in new endeavors?

Confronting the Fear (1 Kings 8:59-61, NRSV)

59Let these words of mine, with which I pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires;
60so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.
61Therefore devote yourselves completely to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day."

King Solomon was appointed by God to serve.  However, he recognized his and the people’s necessity of requesting God’s help meeting daily needs (verse 59).  We, too, have to seek God to provide our daily need so we will not yield to the temptations of the world.  God will provide for His people.  We can depend on Him.

1.     How does God provide help in meeting our daily needs?

2.     For a long period of time, the Israelites did not have a permanent place to worship God.  How do you think the building and dedication of the Temple influenced them to recommit their lives to God?

3.     We need God’s presence in our lives.  How can we draw closer to God and discern His will?

Lesson in Our Society

When we endeavor to develop a church project or ministry, it must begin and end with prayer.  Prayer is necessary to discern the will of God.  Every goo idea is not God’s plan.  Sometimes, when we do nth ae success with our church projects or ministry ideas, perhaps it is because the flesh is trying to get the glory and not God.  We can become competitive in the church and want to outdo other churches that have flourishing ministries.

 

King Solomon prayed that God’s presence would be with hum and the nation of Israel.  He recalled God’s faithfulness to their ancestors and desire for God’s presence to continue to be with them.  When we have God’s presence and know we are following His commands, our church projects will succeed.  But do not get caught up in the number of people reached.  Maybe the purpose of the project or ministry is to reach one specific person or a small select group.  For example, you may pool your resources over five years to help one inmate be exonerated and released from prison.  It is a success since it fulfills God’s divine plan.

Daily Bible Readings

 

Monday: Hezekiah Restores the Temple – 2 Chronicles 29:3-11
Tuesday: Solomon Seeks Wisdom to Govern
1 Kings 3:5-14
Wednesday: Solomon’s Success Based on His Obedience
1 Kings 9:1-9
Thursday: Solomon and God’s Glory Compared – Matthew 6:25-30
Friday:
Temple Completed and Dedicated2 Chronicles 7:1-6
Saturday: Festivities Ended; People Return Home
2 Chronicles 7:8-11
Sunday: Solomon Blesses the People; Urges Faithfulness
– 1 Kings 8:54-61

 

 

Sources:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Harper's Bible Dictionary. 1st ed. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1985.

Biblical Studies Press: The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006.

Brown, Raymond E., S. S., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, S. J.; Roland E. Murphy, O Carm. The Jerome Biblical Commentary. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968.

DeVries, Simon J., Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 12, 1 Kings. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2015

Dummelow, J. R., M.A. Rev. The One Volume Bible Commentary. New York: The Macmillan Company Publishers, 1961.

House, Paul R.: 1, 2 Kings. electronic ed. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2001, c1995 (Logos Library System; The New American Commentary 8).

James Orr, M.A., D.D., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Edition, Parsons Technology, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa 1998.

Keck Leander E., The New Interpreter's Bible Commentary Volume II: Introduction to Narrative Literature, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, 1& 2 Chronicles, New York: Abingdon Press, 2015

Morris, William, ed., Dictionary of the English Language, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.

Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Hrsg.): The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Kings. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2004

Strong, James, Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries, Electronic Edition STEP Files, QuickVerse, a division of Findex.com, Inc., Omaha, Nebraska. 2003.

Vine, W.E. Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words. Edited by Merrill F. Unger and William White Jr., Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996.