Saturday, Feb 25th

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1 Kings 8

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In this chapter we see reference to the “glory of the Lord” coming in a thick dark cloud. Readers should not equate this with the modern ‘glory cloud’ claimed by charismatics. The cloud of God is dark, as it was on the mountain when He spoke to Moses, and it was accompanied by sobriety and fear. Do not confuse the fakery of trite charismaticism with this holy activity!

The charismatic cloud is very different, and is often accompanied by gold particles, or even feathers falling, or faces and hands being covered in an oily substance. None of these are found in the dark cloud from whence God speaks! Rather, these are the result of satanic deception, causing the people to turn even more to the signs and wonders they wrongfully think comes from God. This prompts them to continue listening to their fraudulent pastors and preachers, who help to deaden truth and promote lies.

 Sadly, pastors think that if this phenomenon occurs it is proof that God is blessing what they say and do. They tend to refer back to Old Testament occurrences of the cloud in support of their claims, even though there is no mention at all of party-tricks such as glitter, gold dust, or oil.

There is no mention at all of a ‘glory cloud’! Nor is there evidence that God appeared to men in the New Testament in a cloud (because Jesus, Son of God - God Himself, was present). I have called the modern ‘clouds’ ‘party tricks’ and that is precisely what they are – Satan playing silly-fool with congregations who are gullible enough to listen to charismatic tomfoolery.

Today, these spiritually promiscuous people sit in the ‘cloud’ and applaud the gold. In history, men could not even stand or stay in the cloud of God, such was its heavenly power! There is, then, no comparison. The old cloud spoke of God; the new clouds speak of Satan and hideous spiritual debauchery. Charismatics are deceived because their whole outlook is deceived, and, like Romanists, they cling to a past order (the Old Testament requirements of mankind) that Jesus Himself declared to now be void, because He is Himself the New Testament.

Also in this chapter is a very up-to-date answer to the ‘migrant’ issue, and to those Christians who wonder why they have no help from God. Do not think this book is just about Jewish history!

Verses 1-3

  1. Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto king Solomon in Jerusalem, that they might bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.

  2. And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.

  3. And all the elders of Israel came, and the priests took up the ark.

The Temple has been built. The palace completed. King David’s collection of holy items have been placed in the Temple treasury. So now Solomon calls together the elders of Israel, tribal leaders and chiefs, who met in Jerusalem. The purpose was sombre – to carry the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple. We are told that the Ark was brought out of the city of David, Zion. Zion is another name for Jerusalem (or, more correctly, one of the mountains on which the city was built), so this means that until the Temple was built the Ark had been secured elsewhere in the same city, and was now waiting to be moved to its permanent home.

The gathering took place in the seventh month of Ethanim, September-October. The name of the month means ‘enduring’ and refers to the fact that water streams continued to flow in all seasons, ‘the month of steady flow’. The Feast of the Ingathering was held for a week, starting on the fifteenth day of Ethanim/Tishri, marking the end of the harvest.

But, its significance was deeper, for the feast was held in conjunction with the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles, which commemorates the time the people lived in tents. During the week the participants lived in small makeshift tents as a commemoration. Solomon was, then, moving the Ark from a tabernacle or temporary tent, to a solid dwelling. Priests took the Ark, using the special staves (poles), so as to avoid the same fate as Uzzah. It was a short route filled with both joy and solemnity, as the elders followed the procession to the Holy of Holies, probably with singing and music.

Verses 4-8

  1. And they brought up the ark of the LORD, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.

  2. And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude.

  3. And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims.

  4. For the cherubims spread forth their two wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubims covered the ark and the staves thereof above.

  5. And they drew out the staves, that the ends of the staves were seen out in the holy place before the oracle, and they were not seen without: and there they are unto this day.

As well as the Ark, the priests and their tribe, the Levites, also carried the tabernacle (tent in which the Ark was kept, equal to the new Holy of Holies), with everything that the tent contained. As they walked they recited a special liturgy. The ‘tabernacle of the congregation’ means that it was the appointed place of meeting (God with the High Priest), as is confirmed by the second root, ya’ad.

The text suggests that the Ark was first put at the entrance of the Temple, before the two great columns. Vast numbers of sheep and oxen were sacrificed on that day. Then, the priests took the Ark into the Holy of Holies, to stand between the two cherubim, whose huge wings covered the Ark. The staves were carefully withdrawn and left in the Holy of Holies, where they stayed.

Verses 9-11

  1. There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

  2. And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,

  3. So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

The text specifically says there was nothing but the two tablets of stone containing the Decalogue in the Ark, as given to Moses. Yet, at one time, it also used to contain Aaron’s rod and a pot of manna. It is possible these were not mentioned because the most important contents were the two tablets containing God’s commandments.

As soon as the staves were removed, the entire Temple was filled with an holy cloud. Use of the word ‘the’ indicates that this is the theophanic cloud that accompanies God’s presence. The cloud was so powerful that the priests could not conduct further religious duties: “could not stand to minister” might mean they had to prostrate themselves on the ground, or, that they were unable to continue because they could not see anything, or that they could not endure the power of God. The cloud was “the glory of the Lord”, because He visited the Temple and showed His approval of the ceremony and Temple.

Verses 12-21

  1. Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

  2. I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever.

  3. And the king turned his face about, and blessed all the congregation of Israel: (and all the congregation of Israel stood;)

  4. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which spake with his mouth unto David my father, and hath with his hand fulfilled it, saying,

  5. Since the day that I brought forth my people Israel out of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build an house, that my name might be therein; but I chose David to be over my people Israel.

  6. And it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

  7. And the LORD said unto David my father, Whereas it was in thine heart to build an house unto my name, thou didst well that it was in thine heart.

  8. Nevertheless thou shalt not build the house; but thy son that shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house unto my name.

  9. And the LORD hath performed his word that he spake, and I am risen up in the room of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.

  10. And I have set there a place for the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, which he made with our fathers, when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.

When this happened Solomon told the hearers that God said He would “dwell in the thick darkness”. This is NOT the same as the darkness of Satan’s evil presence and works, where darkness represents sin and wickedness. The clouds of thick darkness of God are there to protect believers from being struck dead by seeing His face.

God had told Solomon this and Solomon responded by saying that he had finally built the temple where God could reside (not fully but when He came down to speak to the High Priest; the Temple was built to serve God’s Name, rather than His whole presence). Solomon turned to the people and blessed them in Jehovah’s name, as they stood in reverence and fear because of the cloud.

Solomon then spoke of a truncated version of the history of the Temple: Jehovah had spoken to David, his father, and has just brought His word to pass, and now says that He brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage, but did not give them a permanent dwelling place for Himself. He chose David to rule over the people, even when Saul was king. Then, during the statement, the word of God stopped and Solomon spoke, saying that it was David’s desire to build the temple “for the name of the LORD God of Israel”. The “name” means everything that God is, and a constant reminder of His glory.

Solomon continued: God told his father, David, that he would not be the one to build the Temple, though the Lord commended him for his heartfelt desire to do so. The privilege would be given to his son (here unnamed). Note again that the Temple was built for God’s “name” rather than for His actual presence (though both can be regarded as equal in power).

Ending his summation, Solomon said he had now performed the duty instead of his father, David, and now ruled; he completed the task by building a house “for the name of the Lord”, in which sat the Ark of the Covenant, the promises given to the people when He brought them out of Egypt. This was not a boast by Solomon, but a simple resumé of what God planned and did. This is how every Christian must speak – not of what they can do, or how they are, but about Who God is and what He demands.

Verses 22-26

  1. And Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven:

  2. And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

  3. Who hast kept with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him: thou spakest also with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

  4. Therefore now, LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that thou promisedst him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel; so that thy children take heed to their way, that they walk before me as thou hast walked before me.

  5. And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.

Solomon then stood in front of the altar, watched by the congregation – those leaders of Israel who attended the Festival of Booths. He raised his hands upwards, saying that there was no God like Jehovah, Who upheld His covenant and mercy towards those who obeyed His word. Solomon then praised God for keeping his father safe and on the path of righteousness, and for bringing about the building of the Temple.

He then thanked God for allowing him to sit on the throne of Israel because he, Solomon, was faithful, and this itself would cause the people to live likewise*. And now, he said to God, verify your words to David. He wanted God to confirm His promises. It is how every Christian should live, for this is not tempting God – it is merely asking Him to do what he has promised. (* The ruler of a country determines its morality and tone. That is why the West is now degenerate and corrupt).

Verses 27-32

  1. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

  2. Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and to the prayer, which thy servant prayeth before thee to day:

  3. That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of which thou hast said, My name shall be there: that thou mayest hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall make toward this place.

  4. And hearken thou to the supplication of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place: and when thou hearest, forgive.

  5. If any man trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house:

  6. Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

Solomon then made a statement about the Temple – could God dwell in the Holy of Holies? No, of course not! The whole of Creation, with its billions of stars and worlds, including the earth, could not contain God! He is bigger and beyond everything He made. Yet, would He listen to the prayer of Solomon and allow him to make his request? Solomon asked that Jehovah would watch over the Temple night and day, because He had already said “My name shall be there”. Would the Lord listen to the priest and the people, when they prayed in the Temple for God to hear them and apply mercy?

If a man grieved his neighbour, would God listen to the one who was grieved, who was forced to swear an oath; and punish the one who committed the offence, while rewarding the one who was righteous? And so Solomon made a distinction between those who were righteous before God, and those who required punishment. In this we see yet another indication that a believer may utter imprecatory prayers for God to silence his, and God’s, enemies.

Verses 33-36

  1. When thy people Israel be smitten down before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee, and shall turn again to thee, and confess thy name, and pray, and make supplication unto thee in this house:

  2. Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest unto their fathers.

  3. When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:

  4. Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

Solomon is pleading Israel’s case with Jehovah, even though they might, at times, not live as they should or worship God properly. The “smitten down” reference in this context, nagaph, can mean war, or being harmed in other ways. In today’s world this can thus apply to the ugly work of terrorists who kill and maim, or even their threats to do so. It can also apply to other kinds of enemies, such as those who cause us moral and spiritual harm. But, note the cause of these types of harm – our own sinfulness, as individuals and as a nation! That is, God has either sent, or allowed, a disaster or circumstances that harm us, when we do not obey Him.

This means there is no point in calling on Him for help until we have cast out the sin in our lives. To do so nationally is almost impossible because leaders are themselves godless, making unrighteous laws. The answer to these people, if we have repented ourselves, is to utter imprecatory prayers for their removal, in whatever way God sees fit, whether by sudden death, or some other form of removal. Whatever we say and do, it must be preceded by our own repentance and return to godliness. This is particularly hard when we have personally sought God’s mercy and others around us do not (the situation today!).

Solomon is, then, anticipating a time when these activities will be necessary. For us, today, that time is now, and is extreme in its spiritual, moral and other wickedness. Even if we see fellow Christians not bothering or succumbing to sinful lies, we must continue to repent in our own lives, confessing His Name openly. When we obey in this way God WILL listen. And, if the nation (in our time this can only refer to those who belong to Christ) returns to holiness, all will be well. For us, we must repent and do what is right; all others, who are unsaved, must return to what is moral and ethical.

The Jews were promised a return to their land if they obeyed. Christians can expect a return to peace and balance, without evil dominating the country. This all depends on their compliance with God’s demands, as Solomon and his father, David, knew only too well. Christians, however, are mainly devoid of this intense understanding. We must, as individuals, pray that the Holy Spirit will shock them into realisation.

Without this realisation there will be no action and repentance. This is when “heaven is shut up, and there is no rain”. Solomon was talking here about physical lack of rain, drought and famine, but also about spiritual lack of rain, the blessings of our Lord. How many brethren understand WHY they suffer on this earth? It is because Christians do not take life seriously and do not repent in the face of adversity. The many evils we are now pressed-down by are not only caused by our own sins, or even by Satan, but by God reminding us that unless we turn back to Him, our lives will be miserable, with many woes.

In recent days I received an angry communication from someone who said that her depression and anxiety were not sins, so her misery must be the result of mental illness. Not so! The depression and anxiety ARE sins in their own right! Large numbers of Christians suffer these maladies, needlessly; they are their own enemies. They are harmed by their own selves. (And by ‘they’ I include myself and everyone who thinks they are above this kind of attack). Our true inheritance is holiness, purity and love. When we do not obey, we receive the opposite.

I know in my heart that when I teach every Sunday, some just listen (maybe). It is only those who act on what is taught that good results ensue. Without a true response my words are as nothing, and God’s word is left to evaporate like a vapour, soon dispersed. Some, too, might be so wrapped up in their personal woes that genuine listening and action are not really there. (I speak of personal and internet students of the word).

Verses 37-40

  1. If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be;

  2. What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:

  3. Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)

  4. That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.

Solomon’s words to God and the people are not just preacher’s license, something to ‘fill up’ the allotted time! (Today’s preaching is the result of much study and little true spiritual truth and application). No, what he said came from God.

Some awful situations are caused by our own fault. Some are attacks by Satan. Others are trials from God to test our resolve and holiness. Solomon might be talking in this text about all three. (Technical note: ‘pestilence’=a plague, including cattle illness that led to murrain, or death. ‘Blasting’=scorched grain, anything damaged by sun. ‘Mildew’=when plants are killed by a kind of rust and become yellowed, as in, for example, drought. Locust=the destruction of crops by these winged pests. ‘Caterpillar’=locusts without wings). Such attacks can be by animals/insects, sickness, or by men: all are enemies. When under these attacks we must repent and pray. Note that all these attacks begin in our own hearts; we suffer individually and nationally because of “the plague of his own heart”... sin. Once recognised as sin, the man will raise his hands towards God’s house (today – towards Heaven) and repent.

God knows what our hearts are like. He knows the sin within, and even knows our sins before we commit them! So, to try to keep them secret from ourselves and from God is absurd. Facing our inward sins is essential for our return to holiness. There is no need to tell all and sundry what these sins are. It is sufficient to know that GOD knows, and that we recognise them enough to repent. This utter reality is necessary for God to forgive us – He does not forgive a superficial repentance. Real acknowledgement of our sins leads us to fear God... to see Him with awe, respect and real fear. These cause us to repent and to live holy lives. As a preacher, when I do not see these signs (a lot!), I know that faith is superficial. God sees the same!

Verses 41-43

  1. Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;

  2. (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;

  3. Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.

Solomon adds a comment about strangers (non-Jews, foreigners), who travel long distances to enter Jewish territory, to learn more about Jehovah. Though from distant countries, they have heard of God’s exploits on behalf of His chosen people, and wish to pray at the Temple. God is asked to hear their prayers and to give to the foreigner whatever he asks for. Why? So that everyone, everywhere, will know God is alive and true. In turn, they, like the Jews, will honour and fear Jehovah, and know that God visits His house, the Temple.

In the West today the opposite is happening: pagans are forcing people to obey their own false gods, on pain of death. They arrive in the lands that once feared God, and replace His Name with the name of Satan’s fake gods. Those who leave their fake gods are put to death, and their places of worship are burned to the ground, there being no fear, or honour given, to the true God known to Christians.

This is why no pagan should be given refuge in a land once ruled by fear of God. Rather, true worship must be brought back and pagan worship rejected and denied freedom. Those who now flee to such lands do so in the name of their false satanic gods, and expect free people to obey them. Such are not refugees but deniers of the Lord, deserving of no help. Indeed, if we dare to help them God punishes us, because we help those who reject Him (as in 2 Chronicles 19:2). The only strangers/foreigners we may help are those who call upon the one, true God, the God of Israel and of Christians. By helping deniers of God we condone their worship of false gods, thus angering our Lord, and so punishment is deserved in our day.

Verses 44-53

  1. If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:

  2. Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

  3. If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;

  4. Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;

  5. And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:

  6. Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,

  7. And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:

  8. For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron:

  9. That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.

  10. For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.

Note that Solomon does NOT reject the idea of a battle against God-hating nations. ‘If’ can also be read as ‘when’. He says that when such a war occurs, if the people turn to God and the Temple, let God support them in what they do (win the battle). Christians should not stand by and invite disaster upon themselves! They should not be weak-spined cowards, willing to have wicked boots stepping on their necks! There ARE a few occasions when being submissive to harm is God-ordained as a witness to faith... but this must be on an individual basis, not a national one.

Every man sins (verse 46), but when they do, God will be angry and they will lose against an enemy, who will take them as their slaves and bondmen. Is this not what is happening to Christians today, because they do nothing against sin and support evil men and godless regimes (even in our own country)? The same punishment is due to those believers who sit back and allow spiritual liars to take over their churches, pulpits and hearts. They are taken captive by Satan’s envoys, who teach them falsity... charismatics are the latest prominent examples of such slaves to lies.

After they have been taken captive by a lying spirit, they might think, and regret what they have done. Though now deep in the enemy’s territory they will repent and call upon the true Lord to forgive them. They will cast off the deceptions they have imbibed and their wickedness before the Lord, and the Lord will hear them, delivering them from their evil. It took 70 years for the Jews to be released from Babylon! Christians should not imagine that God will quickly release them from the effects of their errors, even if He swiftly forgives them! Far better not to enter into wickedness in the first place.

See how God will cause the enemy who enslaved His chosen people to have compassion upon them. This will only happen if the people repent and turn back to their true Lord. God can, and does, reverse the hatred of an enemy, when His people repent. Only God can do this.

God WILL do this, NOT because we are anything in and of ourselves, but because He has chosen us to be His. We are His inheritance. He brought us out of Egypt (our sin), so He will not just allow us to be destroyed. (The “furnace of iron” is a metaphor for harsh oppression. Sin is itself a furnace of iron that oppresses the unsaved AND the saved who will not repent).

So, God will listen and bring us out of our misery IF we repent; we are separated from the unsaved, to belong to Almighty God. As saved people we are no longer part of the general human race in their sins, but are waiting to take our place in Heaven with our royal Master, Jesus Christ. The Hebrews were chosen, and were saved from Egypt. Being chosen by God gives us a divine advantage over all who are unsaved. Let us remember this eternal privilege.

Verses 54-61

  1. And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

  2. And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,

  3. Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

  4. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:

  5. That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

  6. And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

  7. That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.

  8. Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

Solomon now finishes his long prayer to the Lord. He got up from his knees, facing the holy of holies, and put down his arms. Then, he turned towards the people in the outer courtyard and blessed with a loud voice all who were gathered there. He blessed the Lord for saving His chosen people from tyranny and keeping His promises to them, made through Moses.

Solomon then asks God to keep the Jews, just as He kept their forefathers. Let God turn their hearts towards true worship, and to keep His commandments and laws. In fact, to keep everything promised by God to their fathers. It is a reminder to us today, that ALL parts of God’s word are weighty and of great worth, not to be discarded or twisted or made lame. Solomon pleads that God will sustain him as ruler, and the people, in all circumstances (except sin). He pleads this so that all the people of the earth will see that God looks after His own, thus proving He exists and is with them. (Verse 60).

(This was my own plea at a time when I was under severe attack from vicious enemies: I was very concerned that they did not win their cause and argue that my God was incapable of keeping me safe, but that God would sustain me in order that their arrogance would be overturned. This He did). Solomon then urges the people to have pure hearts, reject sin, and to walk in God’s laws and ways. Note that he says “at this day”... not sometime in the future. When we know we sin we MUST repent and change IMMEDIATELY. (With God, there is no therapist time-scale, requiring change over long periods. Any change must be NOW).

Verses 62-66

  1. And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD.

  2. And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.

  3. The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.

  4. And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days.

  5. On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

All prayers finished, Solomon led the people in peace-offering sacrifices, on an unprecedented scale, in recognition of the enormity of the occasion: a staggering 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep were killed to the Lord, as the temple was dedicated to Him. Solomon also dedicated the courtyard in front of the holiest place, making burnt offerings so great that the bronze altar made for such offerings was too small.

Following this amazing spectacle, Solomon held a feast that all of Israel took part in, wherever the people were, from Syria down to the Nile. The feast lasted not just the usual seven days (Festival of Booths), but an extra seven days, to mark the solemn act of dedicating the Temple.

When the 14 days were completed, Solomon dismissed the chiefs and others who were in Jerusalem for the dedication, so that they could report back to their tribes and cities, telling them of God’s requirements. Before they left they formally blessed the king, returning to their travelling-tents with great joy. In the fourteen days of feasting and dedication they experienced the nearness of the Lord and were glad. It was a time of new beginnings for the whole of Israel. Have WE experienced this new beginning in our lives? Do WE have this same joy?

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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