God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June 13 - 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5: The Pinnacle of Ancient Israel: the Dedication of the Temple

Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 8; 2 Chronicles 5

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

This could possibly be the peak for the Israelites as a culture and a nation.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

Solomon brought the Ark of the Covenant into the Temple with multitudes of sacrifices.
God entered the Temple, ending all other work by the priests.
Solomon blessed God for his peaceful kingdom. He prayed:
"God, keeper of all promises if we obey, are You really moving into our neighborhood? Stay forever!
"We will sin. You will punish us with plagues, drought, and captivity. When we return our hearts, return our land. Foreigners, attracted by your majesty and grace, will turn their hearts and prayers to You. Hear their cry, too!"
Solomon charged Israel with these words and sent them home.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Obedience (not perfection) unlocks God's promises and returns God's favor.

Solomon makes this clear when he mentions David's promise, "You'll always have a descendant to represent my rule on Israel's throne, on the condition that your sons are as careful to live obediently in my presence as you have" (1 Kings 8:25, The Message), and in his prayer to God for the removal of punishments,
then they pray at this place, acknowledging your rule and quitting their sins because you have scourged them, listen from your home in heaven, forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Then start over with them: Train them to live right and well. (8:35-36)
Solomon understood that God would punish His Chosen People. But punishment would not be the final word! If Israel learned from their mistakes and tried to follow God again, Solomon called on God to save and return Israel to their land. Obedience brings God's blessings into fruition. If you are being punished, obedience and a contrite heart will restore God's blessings.

God's reputation attracts foreigners.

In his dedication prayer, Solomon specifically mentions the foreigner who "has come from a far country because of your reputation" (8:41). Solomon wants God to bless the foreigner, too, because God blesses anyone and doesn't differentiate between the Chosen and the non-Chosen. The entire world praises Him because of His mighty works!
What does this mean for churches today? At first it seems to be obvious—God blesses anyone who prays to Him, regardless of their "Chosen" status. Although this may seem easy to comprehend the implications of it are difficult for Christians. Christians do not hold a monopoly on God's blessings. We have spent so much time focusing on what Solomon said about Israel that we forget to read the section on foreigners. God's name is famous around the world because of His wondrous works. Anyone who wishes to set things right on this earth does so with His help, even if they do not acknowledge it openly.

Are you bringing God's blessings into fruition?

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