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1 Kings 8:25-30 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:1 hr 4 mins 35 secs

Praying through Scripture; 1 Kings 8:25-30

 

By way of review it has been pointed out that in this prayer in the temple Solomon is pleading with God on the basis of promises that God gave in the Pentateuch that even though Israel would eventually disobey God and God would have to discipline to the point of removing them from the land, God had promised in those passage that there would come a time that He would bring them back from the four corners of the earth and would restore them to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that there would be a special spiritual bond between Israel and God. This is yet to come, it hasn't happened yet, but this is the backdrop of Solomon's prayer. So we see that this prayer grows out of Solomon's understanding of Leviticus 26 & 27 and Deuteronomy 30. His mind is so saturated with the Law, the instruction of God, as it was supposed to be. According to the Mosaic Law the king of Israel was supposed to handwrite out his own copy of the Law and look at it every day under the supervision of the priests. This is what Solomon did. At this stage of his life he was extremely positive, he loved God with all of his heart, and he is studying and applying the Word, and we see here an example of how our prayer should be. It should be so saturated with the Word of God that when we pray our prayers should sound like they come right out of the Bible.

 

1 Kings 8:30 NASB "Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive." Here is the first time we have the word "forgive." That is what this whole prayer is about and it sets the tone for what he is going to ask. Verses 23-30 is just the introduction or the prologue to his prayer. The word here for "forgive" is salach and it means to forgive, sometimes it is translated to pardon, to spare someone, to be forgiven. This particular verb is special because only God "salachs." Salach is only used of God's activity, never of man's. This shows that this is a paradigm. We model our forgiveness on God's forgiveness but our forgiveness of one another will never approach that of God's. We see a glimmer of this in Ephesians chapter four where Paul challenges believers to forgive one another as God for Christ's sake has forgiven them. That is the standard.

 

A key psalm for forgiveness is Psalm 103. It is a psalm that is a declarative praise declaring what God has done in forgiveness. It is a psalm of David and it is to be sung. Blessing God is this psalm isn't just about saying "Praise God," it is about talking about who he is and what He has done. It puts substance and content to the praise. It is not just some rhetorical device; it is a response from the heart to God's grace and what He has done.

 

This psalm was the inspiration for a hymn. Praise my soul the King of heaven: 

 

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;

To His feet they tribute bring;

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven

Who, like thee, His praise shall sing?

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Praise the everlasting King.

 

Praise him for his grace and favour,

To our fathers in distress;

Praise Him, still the same forever,

Slow to chide and swift to bless;

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Glorious in His faithfulness.

 

Father like, he tends and spares us;

Well our feeble frame he knows;

In his hands He gently bears us,

Rescues us from, all our foes;

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Widely yet His mercy flows.

 

Angels, in the height adore Him;

Ye behold Him face to face;

Saints triumphant, bow before him,

Gathered in from every race;

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Praise with us the God of grace.

 

That is an example of someone who let their mind be saturated with Scripture then takes the doctrine that is there and reshapes it and writes a psalm of praise that reflects what is in the Scripture. It has depth and richness to it because there was a depth and richness in the spiritual life of the man who wrote the words.

 

The first fives verses of Psalm 103 is a call upon people to praise God for His loving kindness expressed in forgiveness. The psalmist reminds himself to not be forgetful of God's forgiveness in the first two verses and then he is praising God for what He does for all of us. He does four things. He forgives, He heals, He redeems and crowns.

Psalm 103:3-5 NASB "Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, {So that} your youth is renewed like the eagle." This goes back to the Mosaic Law. God said if they were obedient in the land they were not going to be visited with all of these diseases as a pagan. If they were disobedient then that would be part of the divine discipline. Redeeming "your life from the pit" is not talking about eternal salvation; the pit is death, and what this is talking about is that in life-threatening situations God protects and watches over and takes care of us. The pit is a metaphor: the pit of destruction. So it is the idea of God protecting us. Satisfying with good things means God gives us what we need; he gives it abundantly. He gives us strength and energy to meet every element of every day.

Another thing that is interesting in terms of the words that are used here is that starting in verse 6 we have the actions of God's righteousness and judgment toward the oppressed. This is not social oppression. It is the Hebrew word asaq, and this word is used sometimes of somebody who is socially or politically oppressed. But this doesn't fit the context at all; this is a hymn of praise for forgiveness. The word also refers to someone who is oppressed by their indebtedness. There are some who are so burdened by debt that they can't get out from under the burden. It is not talking about poor people who are being maltreated by a government, it is talking about sinners who have a debt of sin, a debt penalty to pay to God in terms of the penalty for sin. It is impossible for us to pay that debt and that is the sense of oppression here in verse 6: NASB "The LORD performs righteous deeds And judgments for all who are oppressed." Then the psalmist gives a historical illustration, verse 7 NASB "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel. [8] The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness [chesed]."

Ps 103:9-12 NASB "He will not always strive {with us,} Nor will He keep {His anger} forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." He separates us from our sin so that sin is no longer the issue when we are forgiven. He is mindful of the fact that we are oppressed, we are in debt. He has compassion for us, recognising our limitations.

That is what forgiveness is, and so Solomon is going to call upon God to make sure that God fulfils His promise to forgive the Israelites. Once they had grievously sinned and He has disciplined them, taken them out of the land, but when they confess their sins and turn back to God then God will indeed forgive.