56 “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us nor forsake us. 58 May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands, decrees and laws He gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may uphold the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel according to each day’s need, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 61 And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by His decrees and obey His commands, as at this time.”
1 Kings 8:56-61
This chapter of 1 Kings begins with the ark of the Lord’s covenant being brought from King David’s home in Zion to Jerusalem where Solomon had completed the temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel (v20). After the ark of the Lord’s covenant was brought to the temple Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, (v22) and presented a prayer of dedication for the temple to the Lord of Israel. At the end of his prayers Solomon rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice (v54-55) with the verses we have for today.
Solomon begins his blessings to the whole assembly of Israel by praising the Lord who has kept all of His promises and then asks that the God of Israel remains with them never forsaking them. He immediately follows this with a request that God would turn their hearts to Him to walk in obedience to Him. God would provide every opportunity for His people to turn their hearts to Him and to walk in obedience to Him, but He would leave it to them and to make their own choices. Solomon seems to sense this or simply knows this as he closes his prayer to the assembly with And may your hearts be fully committed to the Lord our God, to live by His decrees and obey His commands, as at this time. He knows on this day they are committed to God and His commands, but his prayer is that they remain fully committed to the Lord our God.
This is not so different for us today as Christians committed to Jesus, our Lord and Savior. We go to church and Bible study – the classrooms if you will – and then go out into the world. And it is in the world where we are to show our commitment by applying what we have learned from the teachings at church and in our Bible studies.
All too often we believe we have to not only live in the world, but be of the world. We do not. Instead we are to acknowledge that God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. 2 Corinthians 5:18-20
It’s Monday and I hope you have a great week and consider how you can put what you have learned and know of God’s directions and commands into action in every aspect of your (our) daily lives.