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1 Kings 8:25-30 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:55 mins 25 secs

Promises of Judgment; 1 Kings 8:25-30

 

In the first part of chapter eight we saw Solomon bring the ark into the temple and all of the pomp and circumstance related to that, showing how serious they were about the worship of God and showing all of the things that they did making sure that the people focused on God, not observing ceremony for ceremony's sake, and honouring the God who is not only the creator of the heavens of the earth but is the God who redeemed Israel from slavery in Egypt.

 

Solomon began his introductory address in verse 12 and he focused on what God had done in the past and the promises that God had made to David and to Moses. So this sets the context of his prayer in terms of these two covenants. As we have studied many times we see that God establishes His relationships with man on the basis of these legal contracts—from the creation covenant, it's modification in the Adamic and Noahic covenants, and then with Israel under the Abrahamic covenant. It is that Abrahamic covenant that provides the framework for all subsequent history is the promise "those who bless you I will bless, and those who curse you I will curse." That promise is in relationship to how Gentiles treat Israel and that all subsequent history is Israel-centred. Whether they are apostate or whether they are in obedience all human history is related to the Abrahamic covenant and to God's working in Israel, even in the church age because the New covenant is a covenant with Israel and the church, but it is because that covenant shift from the old covenant to the New covenant brings in a new priesthood, a new high priest which is Jesus Christ, and we are related to the new covenant by virtue of our relationship as believer priests to the high priesthood of Christ. The New covenant is the expansion of the third paragraph in the Abrahamic covenant, "those who bless you I will bless, those who curse you I will curse." And it manifests the specifics of how God is going to bless all people through the seed of Abraham who, according to Galatians chapter three, is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Then in verse 22 Solomon stand up before the altar of the Lord and offers his introductory prayer. The key verse in this prayer is verse 25 NASB "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.'" That reminds God in the opening of the prayer that he is grounding his prayer in previous revelation: "God, this is what you promised."

 

Then in verse 28 NASB "Yet have regard to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Your servant prays before You today." We saw as we went through this that there are at least four different words for prayer in this verse and in these verses which are repeated again and again as we go through the rest of this chapter, and that is what ties it together. The words for prayer and the word salach for forgive are the words that are constantly woven through the rest of the chapter, giving it a tight unity in the Hebrew. It show the tremendous wisdom and skill that Solomon had even in the writing. The requests of verse 28 are infinitives but they all lead to the final and ultimate request which is in verse 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." That sets the theme for the whole prayer of dedication, that when the people of Israel turn to this place, putting their focus on the temple as the place where God resided, the place where He manifests His name upon the earth, He will forgive them and restore them to the land.

Now when we enter into the main body of the prayer from verse 31 to 51 there are seven petitions contained in it. The first request is in verses 31 and 32 NASB "If a man sins against his neighbour and is made to take an oath, and he comes {and} takes an oath before Your altar in this house, then hear in heaven and act and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness." This is about a man who has some how violated his neighbour. He is now in a courtroom situation and he has to take an oath and swear out exactly what he has done under oath. The situation here is about where a man has expressed a false witness against his neighbour. It appears that there is an accusation against the neighbour where there is no witness or evidence. So they have come in before the Lord in the temple in order to have it adjudicated in the house of the Lord. What Solomon is praying is to "hear in heaven and judge Your servants." So it is an appeal to the fact that God is the ultimate source of righteousness and justice in the land. All law in human history ultimately derives from a divine standard. As Christians we know that in principle law has its origin in the integrity of God and in His righteousness and in His justice. Specifically under the Mosaic Law it is God who is the ultimate judge in the affairs of Israel and so Solomon says that it is up to God to secure and maintain justice in Israel. He calls upon God to oversee the justice of Israel and to make sure that those who violate the Law are to be discovered and condemned and those who obey the Law are dealt with according to righteousness, i.e. the standard of the Mosaic Law. Leviticus 19:18; 8:30, 31 cf. Exodus 22:8-11.

The second request begins in verse 33. In this situation it has to do with the military defeat of the people. NASB "When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy, because they have sinned against You, if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house." The situation is that Israel is defeated because of sin. The ultimate causative factor in history is spiritual, it is not material, not economic, not education, etc. We see this in Israel's history and in the Law because they could have a free market manual and be doing everything right according to the Chicago School of Economics or whatever free market system you want to go with and if they are not right with God then no matter what they do it is going to fail. God rules in the affairs of men, and God is going to rule those affairs of men in terms of His plans and purposes. It was understood on the basis of what Moses had said that Israel would eventually be removed from the land. So the situation in the second request has to do with their military defeat. There are various examples of this in Israel's history—at Ai, in the book of Judges, the defeat by the Philistines, etc,. all of which were examples of this type of discipline. We see the parallel in Deuteronomy 28:25 NASB "The LORD shall cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you will go out one way against them, but you will flee seven ways before them, and you will be {an example of} terror to all the kingdoms of the earth." This divine discipline is targeted to Israel.

We see the response at the end of the verse: "if they turn to You again and confess." The word for "turn" is shub, meaning to turn or to return, to go back. It also has the idea of change and it relates to a spiritual change. The reason they are now going to have victory instead of being defeated militarily is not because they gained a greater understanding of military tactics or because they acquired more advanced technology, it is because their relationship to God changed. Their basic problem, and this is the problem with all of us when we are defeated in any area of life, has to do ultimately with sin. We have to learn to be honest enough with ourselves to evaluate ourselves in terms of where there is continuing or ongoing sin. It is not just enough in spiritual growth to confess our sins. Confession of sin is enough to be restored to fellowship but if 30 seconds later we commit the same sin and keep that cycle going, then we are not growing. There is no forward momentum. "…if they turn to You again and confess Your name and pray and make supplication to You in this house." Turn again and confess are simultaneous actions, it is not first one and then the other. The issue of confessing "Your name" is that they have been involved in idol worship and now they are turning back to the true God and they are going to apply the first commandment to have no other God's beside the God of Israel. 1 Kings 8:34 NASB "then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers." This is related to what we find in the covenant in Deuteronomy. When we read through Deuteronomy 29 we see the affirmation of the land covenant.

Then we have the third request. 1 Kings 8:35 NASB "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain [2nd cycle of discipline, Lev. 26:19], because they have sinned against You," … Notice that sin is what caused the drought."… and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, [36] then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance." The point to see here is how Solomon is praying on the basis of the Scripture. God made promises of judgment and what Solomon is saying here is that God promised to judge Israel, and he will, but He also promised that when the people turned back He would bring them back to the land. His whole prayer here is a manifestation of the faith-rest drill.