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1 Kings 8:22-30 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:54 mins 48 secs

Prayer: Focus on Forgiveness. 1 Kings 8:22-30

1 Kings 8:22 NASB "Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. [23] He said, "O LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and {showing} lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You with all their heart."

Solomon can go to God and claim promises because he knows that God is going to fulfil that which He has said that He is going to do. 

In 1 Kings 8:24 Solomon reminds God of what He has done and how He has fulfilled His Word in the past. So what he is doing is expressing the precedent. Now he reminds Him that He has made a promise and is going to pray that God will fulfil that promise in the future. That is the structure of this prayer. He is using one example of His faithfulness to God's promise as a basis for his intercessory request to God for Israel's forgiveness. NASB "who have kept with Your servant, my father David, that which You have promised him; indeed, You have spoken with Your mouth and have fulfilled it with Your hand as it is this day." God promised David that he would have an eternal throne, an eternal dynasty, and an eternal kingdom, and that this would go through Solomon. Solomon is saying that this has happened today, it is part of the Davidic covenant. It is at the dedication of the temple now that Solomon is reflecting upon this and says that right now he has completed the building of this dwelling place for God and He has fulfilled the promise that He made to David his father.

"You have spoken with Your mouth." In Numbers God talked about the way He spoke to Moses and said: "Unlike other prophets, I speak to you mouth to mouth." So this shows the uniqueness of God's promise to David, that he spoke with His mouth to David; "fulfilled it with Your hand," is a figure of speech speaking about the operation of God, what he does, His power. He has done what He said. Solomon sees that what happened that day is a fulfilment of a promise that God made to David. The word in the Hebrew translated "promise" (there really isn't a word for promise, the nuance is gained from the context) is like "you have spoken." The word can mean "word, thing, incident," it has a wide range of meaning so that we look at other elements in the context to find out just exactly which nuance is being emphasised. 

1 Kings 8:25 "Now therefore, O LORD, the God of Israel, keep with Your servant David my father that which You have promised him, saying, 'You shall not lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.'" Solomon is now telling God that he is trusting Him because God also said that if these people sin He will ultimately and eventually forgive them and bring them back to the land, and he is going to pray that He will do that. That is the focal point of his prayer.

1 Kings 8:26 "Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Your word, I pray, be confirmed which You have spoken to Your servant, my father David." Here we run into another interesting word. It is the Hebrew word aman in the niphal, which means it is a passive, and it is a jussive (imperatival, 3rd person), "let it be done, established." It adds the nuance of "let it become a foundation stone." The root idea of aman is the foundation stone which is unshakeable, totally stable, and doesn't shake or get rattled. So Solomon's initial request is: "Keep what You promised to David." This is his execution of the faith-rest drill, he is reminding God of exactly what He had promised.

Verse 27 is parenthetical. Grammatically it doesn't fit between verses 26 & 28. It is a total aside. As Solomon is focusing on God and on the fact that God has allowed him to build this temple which is the dwelling place for God his mind is already tracking with God's omnipresence and that you can't localise God: How in the world can God dwell on the earth? 1 Kings 8:27 NASB "But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!" The answer is yes, because that is what He promised David. He would allow his son to build the temple that was to be a dwelling place of God, and would be the focal point of the witness for truth on the earth. And all the nations would be able to come there and learn about God and learn truth. That was God's evangelism program in the Old Testament. So Solomon recognises the immensity, the omnipresence and the omnipotence of God, and that that as an aside is a parenthetical, and this prayer shows us that what under girds this is Solomon fully believes and trusts in who God is and that God is able to do what He promised He would do. Then he comes back to his request in v. 28. 

1 Kings 8:28 NASB "Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication …" That just doesn't catch what is said in the Hebrew. The original starts off with a qal perfect. What this shows is that the nuance of this verb—the first two words in the Hebrew are "And turn"—is saying: "Turn and listen to me." The "and" picks up the nuance of the previous verb, and since v. 27 is parenthetical it is going to pick up the nuance of the aman, v. 26—Let your promise be confirmed. "… O LORD my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today." Literally, this is "And turn to the prayer of your servant and to the supplication, O LORD God, to listen." The idiomatic expression is: "Please pay attention to this request."

At this point he uses four distinct words for prayer. He uses one word that has to do with making a request, making a plea. He uses another word that has the idea of requesting a favour—supplication. Another word that expresses either a cry of joy or a moan of misery, and it expresses the emotion that lies behind the request. A fourth word has to do with intercession but it is a word that is laden with judicial overtones and is sometimes found in the Old Testament in judicial contexts. By the time we get into the inter-Testamental period it is used frequently in a judicial context, and so what it does is once again brings us back to the fact that our relationships with God are defined within covenant structures and His righteousness.