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1 Kings 8:25-30 by Robert Dean
Series:Kings (2007)
Duration:58 mins 44 secs

Promises of Judgment; 1 Kings 8:25-30

 

We have come to the fourth request. 1 Kings 8:37 NASB "If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight {or} mildew, locust {or} grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness {there is,} [38]  whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man {or} by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; [39] then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, [40] that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You have given to our fathers."

 

This is an allusion to two passages in Leviticus 26. Verse 16 which is in the first cycle of discipline: NASB "I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you will sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies will eat it up." There is the idea of foreign invasion. Verse 25 NASB "I will also bring upon you a sword which will execute vengeance for the covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so that you shall be delivered into enemy hands." This is all part of the backdrop for understanding this type of discipline. Then we could also go to Deuteronomy 28:21, 22, 25, 38 NASB "The LORD will make the pestilence cling to you until He has consumed you from the land where you are entering to possess it. The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew [disease that would affect the crops], and they will pursue you until you perish…. 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…. You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather in little, for the locust will consume it."

 

As Solomon prays he is thinking through these passages and he is summarising all of the different ways God is going to bring judgment on the people for disobedience—famine, disease, plague, various diseases that affect the crops, the locusts, military defeat. Then he says, "whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man." The emphasis always goes from man's failure and God's judgments to grace. This whole prayer is an appeal to the grace of God which is part of His promise to forgive them; that despite their disobedience, their rebellion, all of their idolatry, always there is a way of salvation and a way of deliverance. So no matter what happens in our lives, no matter what sin or failures there are, the principle is that God always has a gracious provision for us so that we can recover, and after we confess our sin and return to Him God then can bless us and restore us.

 

The fifth request focuses on the stranger in Israel, the foreigner who is living in the land. This is very important to understand because Israel is the land that God gave to Israel. Under the Mosaic Law there is no inheritance and no possession in the land for the non-Jew, for the foreigner. That doesn't mean that they can't live there, that they are not protected by the Law; they can live there and are protected by the Law and can experience a measure of blessing but they can't enter into ownership and inheritance because they are not of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They are treated fairly and with grace and according to the Law, they are not demeaned but they can't have the same level of ownership and inheritance rights as the Jews—unless they marry, unless they become a convert and a proselyte as, for example, Rahab and Ruth.

 

1 Kings 8:41 NASB "Also concerning the foreigner who is not of Your people Israel, when he comes from a far country for Your name's sake." So this is a Gentile believer on the Old Testament coming from anywhere outside of the land, an Old Testament believer but not a Jew. Then there is a parenthetical explanation. 1 Kings 8:42 NASB "(for they will hear of Your great name and Your mighty hand, and of Your outstretched arm); when he comes and prays toward this house." The reputation of Israel's God had gone out throughout the ancient world. The idea of the reputation of Israel's God going throughout the Gentile world was not unusual and it is backed up by episodes in the Scriptures. Solomon refers to this and says that when these Gentiles from distant countries "come here," and we are going to see one in Solomon's very own lifetime as the Queen of Sheba will be one of these Gentiles who will hear about God, hear of the reputation of Solomon, and will travel from her country to Jerusalem in order to see the splendours of Solomon's empire and to learn about God. Much of what Solomon says is a foreshadowing of what will take place in the rest of Kings. When the Gentile believer comes and prays at the temple Solomon says [43] hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name, to fear You, as {do} Your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by Your name." So here we see the outworking again of the Abrahamic covenant. Gentiles are blessed by association with Israel, and when Gentiles come to the temple they would have their prayer answered as well because they are believers and can come before God on the basis of the Abrahamic covenant. "…that all the peoples of the earth may know Your name" emphasises a principle in prayer, that one of the reasons we call upon God to act in our lives and in the lives others is for the sake of His reputation and that His Word [gospel] will go out to be heard by those who don't know it. This is the beginning of wisdom—to fear God. It is more than respect; it is a healthy respect, a sense of also fear of the consequences of disobedience. The prayer is theocentric. He is calling upon God not because of what it is going to do for him or the Gentile but because of the way it will enhance God's reputation among people. He is concerned about the influence of the gospel and the truth among all of mankind. So he is focused on the reputation of God.

The sixth petition is in verses 44 and 45. "When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, by whatever way You shall send them, and they pray to the LORD toward the city which You have chosen and the house which I have built for Your name, then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause." So the situation is when Israel is going into battle in a just war that God would listen to their prayer and would give them victory in the battle. The prerequisite for this is that Israel would not be in a position of disobedience which would call for defeat in that situation, but that it would be a situation where they would be obedient to God and that God would be protecting them from their enemies as was promised in the Law.

The seventh and last petition again turns to the scene of sin and discipline, God's judgment on them. The backdrop to this is Leviticus 26:27-35 NASB "Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with wrathful hostility against you, and I, even I, will punish you seven times for your sins. Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat. I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you. I will lay waste your cities as well and will make your sanctuaries desolate, and I will not smell your soothing aromas. I will make the land desolate so that your enemies who settle in it will be appalled over it. You, however, I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste. Then the land will enjoy its sabbaths all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies' land; then the land will rest and enjoy its sabbaths. All the days of {its} desolation it will observe the rest which it did not observe on your sabbaths, while you were living on it."

It goes on to explain in verses 36-38 "As for those of you who may be left [alive], I will also bring weakness into their hearts in the lands of their enemies. And the sound of a driven leaf will chase them, and even when no one is pursuing they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall. They will therefore stumble over each other as if {running} from the sword, although no one is pursuing; and you will have {no strength} to stand up before your enemies. But you will perish among the nations, and your enemies' land will consume you." This is the promise of divine discipline.

1 Kings 8:46 NASB "When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; [47] if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly." One thing we want to note is the basis for divine judgment. Again and again as we go through both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament we come across terminology related to God's judgment. We see this in revelation where we use the term "anger" and we use the term "wrath." When most people see those terms they think in terms of human emotion, in terms of God's witnessing disobedience in a sort of real time scenario and then God gets mad at Israel or at believers because of what they do, and so out of anger God judges. But this doesn't fit a sound understanding of the character of God. God does not judge out of emotion; God does not discipline out of emotion; God judges from the basis of His legal contracts and brings discipline on the basis of His character. He is slow to bring discipline and He is slow to bring judgment and is constantly extending grace to the sinner. One of the things that is brought out in these kinds of passages is demonstrated in this word that is translated "anger." These kinds of words are anthropopathisms, where human emotions are ascribed to God and He doesn't possess those emotions but they are used that way in order to give man a point of contact or comparison in order to better understand the plans and policies of God. What is behind all of the idioms is not to say that God is losing His temper or that he gets all emotional because man is disobedient. You never want a judge to execute judgment from emotion but rather from a position of objectivity and integrity.

Once they are captive, verse 47 describes what happens after they have been disciplined. 1 Kings 8:47 NASB "if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly'." This is their confession. They admit their sin and how they have violated the Law and have acted wickedly. So the petition is expressed through the "if" clause. [48] "if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and the house which I have built for Your name; [49] then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, [50] and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them {objects of} compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them." This is what happened when Cyrus issued a decree in 538 BC. [51] "(for they are Your people and Your inheritance which You have brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), [52] that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and to the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You."

A parallel passage for this is found in Deuteronomy 28:36, 37 which talks about the judgment of God and His discipline. But in Deuteronomy 28:49ff NASB "Deut 28:49 "The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as the eagle swoops down, a nation whose language you shall not understand" – this is the backdrop for Isaiah 28 where the Jews are warned of divine discipline and they would hear a foreign language in the streets of Jerusalem. That is picked up in the New Testament in 1 Corinthians 14 when the apostle Paul is talking about the gift of languages and that one of the purpose for the gift of tongues was that when the Jews would hear Gentile languages in Jerusalem it would be a sign of impending judgment. [50] "a nation of fierce countenance who will have no respect for the old, nor show favor to the young." So there is a long description here down to the end of the chapter as to how God is going to bring discipline upon Israel.

Deuteronomy 28:62 NASB "Then you shall be left few in number, whereas you were as numerous as the stars of heaven, because you did not obey the LORD your God." That will be fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation period. At least half of the Jews who are alive at the beginning of the Tribulation will die during the Tribulation. [63] "It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it."

Then God's grace is mentioned in verse 68 NASB "The LORD will bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the way about which I spoke to you, 'You will never see it again!' And there you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but there will be no buyer." Then in chapter 29 there is the promise of the land again restated and how God is going to give them the land, and in chapter 30:5 there is the promise of restoration. NASB "The LORD your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers." This is also the first hint of the New covenant: how the Lord will change them from the inside.

So in the seventh petition there is an emphasis on the forgiveness of God and his ultimate restoration of the people.

So that brings us to the conclusion of the prayer and his benediction on the temple which begins in 1 Kings 8:54 NASB "When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven. [55] And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: [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 promised through Moses His servant'." So He has already fulfilled promises to David, to Moses, to Abraham, and because he has fulfilled these promises literally we know that the other promises that are made in Leviticus 26, 27 and Deuteronomy that these promises will also be fulfilled literally. Not one word has failed of all of His good promise. We can all count on God to fulfil His Word. His promises will not be broken and His promises will not b3e made in vain.

1 Kings 8:57 NASB "May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, [58] that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. [59] And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires." These two verses emphasise volition and the personal responsibility side on the part of Israel. On the one hand Solomon knows that Moses has prophesied and God has promised that the people would eventually be disobedient, that they would not walk with God, that God would discipline them and take them out of the land, but that God in His grace would forgive them when they turned back to Him and restore them to the land. Nevertheless, even though he knows that that is going to happen he still prays for what they should do, because they have volition and they have personal responsibility. And it is not a fatalism because God has said this will happen, it doesn't mean that it will happen in this generation or to them, so there is constant prayer that this generation and these people will be obedient to God and will keep His commandment and His ways and be faithful to Him. [6] "so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else." Notice, again everything is oriented ultimately to God's reputation and God's character.

In conclusion in v. 61 he says: "Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day." So the prayer also functions as a reminder to the people and warning of future disobedience and divine judgment which should challenge them to make sure that they walk in obedience before the Lord.

1 Kings 8:62 NASB "Now the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifice before the LORD. [63] Solomon offered for the sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered to the LORD, 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the sons of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD." Imagine the blood! This is to remind us of the horror of sin and the horror of the kind of death that is required to pay for sin. All of these sacrifices are very unpleasant. [64] "On the same day the king consecrated the middle of the court that {was} before the house of the LORD, because there he offered the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings; for the bronze altar that {was} before the LORD {was} too small to hold the burnt offering and the grain offering and the fat of the peace offerings. [65] "So Solomon observed the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt, before the LORD our God, for seven days and seven {more} days, {even} fourteen days. [66] On the eighth day he sent the people away and they blessed the king. Then they went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had shown to David His servant and to Israel His people." The entrance of Hamath to the brook of Egypt defines the land that is under the control of Israel at that time, and the people came from throughout the land in order to celebrate this feast for two weeks.

This marks the high water mark of Solomon's reign. From this point on he succumbs to apostasy gradually and falls away from God.