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1 Kings 8: 22-30, 52, 53
“Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” we are told in Psalm 127:1. King Solomon, in his prayer of dedication for the temple, understood that without the Lord’s presence and blessings, Israel would only labor in vain.
According to 1 Kings 8: 22, the king “stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven.” We find in 2 Chronicles 6: 13 he stood on a brass scaffold, and then knelt “down upon his knees.” 1 Kings 8: 54 supports this by saying Solomon “arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees.”
The Jews did not pray in the way we pray. Looking upward in faith, they lifted up their hands as needy people expecting the Lord to answer their prayers, and this was the way in which Solomon prayed from the platform.
“There is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath,” he prayed. In all the earth and in heaven above, there is no one who compares to God. Scripture leaves no doubt that man is to have no gods but the one, true God. Moses, in Deuteronomy 4: 39, said, “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.”
He recalled how God had been good to his family, especially the covenant the Lord made with David. God kept His covenant, and on that day of dedication and Solomon said He, “fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.” The Lord kept His promise in allowing David’s offspring to inherit the throne, and Solomon prayed that God would remember His promise to future generations.
Solomon never ceased to be amazed that he could build a house for the all-present God who could not be contained. “The heaven of heavens cannot contain thee,” he prayed. When he had looked at the work of building the temple, Solomon asked Hiram, “But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? Who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?” (2 Chronicles 2:6)
Hear the prayers of the people, Solomon pleaded, even when they were not in the temple, but prayed “toward this place.” Hear the prayers, he asked, and “hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.” We ask God to answer our prayers as long as they are in accordance with His perfect will.
As he prayed, Solomon recalled how God favored Israel “to be thine inheritance.”
Christians have an inheritance because of Christ Jesus. The Apostle Paul wrote of Christ and our inheritance when he said, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1: 11).
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church. He can be reached at [email protected]
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