1 Kings 8:22-53 (Part 2) – Even If We Had Told You, You Would Not Have Listened!

Posted: December 6, 2018 in 11-1 Kings

1 Kings 8:22-53 (Part 2 of 3)
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

Isn’t funny that how when you go through marital troubles that ultimately end up in divorce, there will be those people who will tell you that “I could have told you from the day that you guys got married that this was not going to work out.” When I married my high school sweetheart back in the day, there were friends of mine who gathered on the steps of the church after the festivities of the day were complete and discussed how long they thought our marriage would last. They said I was thinking with something other than my brain and that one day I would wake up and see the dominating, spoiled personality that my first wife had and then there would be trouble. And there was trouble. So much so that I could write a book about the final years of that marriage. Then twelve years later, it all came true after about six years of mighty trouble in the marriage.

It was then that they told me about their prophecy on the doorsteps of the church. I said why didn’t you say something BEFORE I got married. And then there were the profound words, “You would not have listened to us! We could have told you what we thought but you would have just gotten mad and wouldn’t have listened to us.” Getting married for the wrong reasons. Not having God at the center of your marriage. You insert your own troubles here. How often is this true in our lives? We are blind to the things that are not good for us but yet we continue down the path any way because we try to be our own gods and decide what is right for ourselves. We will not listen to godly counsel from others. For some people, it’s an issue with alcohol, for others it is drugs, for many like me it was the seeking of approval at any cost. Growing up as a Methodist preacher’s kid and moving every few years, I became a person who sought acceptance and approval no matter what. I wanted to be part of the in-crowd. Ultimately, as a teenager and an adult, that seeking of approval led me to be in relationships with women just so I could feel accepted and approved. Instead of finding my value in God, I tried to find it in relationships with women. When you are seeking idols instead of seeking God, you often end up making stupid decisions just to get your fix. And, those words, “you wouldn’t have listened…” is so true. When we are self-seeking our own pleasures and making decisions based on something other than God, we will not listen to wise counsel.

When we are caught up in our self-seeking, we will not listen to others because we think we know best. Even if they lay out the cold, hard truth in front of us, we will still not believe it. It is only when our world based on the wrong things comes crashing down that we open our eyes to the idol worship that we have been participating in.

That’s the thing that struck me this morning as I read this passage once again this morning. Let’s read the passage, 1 Kings 8:22-53, and see what God has to say about the idea of prophetic words that people will not listen to.

22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, 23 and he prayed,

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 24 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

25 “And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow me as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ 26 Now, O God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David, my father.

27 “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 28 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you today. 29 May you watch over this Temple night and day, this place where you have said, ‘My name will be there.’ May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 30 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.

31 “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of your altar in this Temple, 32 then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Punish the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence.

33 “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn to you and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, 34 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave their ancestors.

35 “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, 36 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.

37 “If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— 38 and if your people Israel pray about their troubles, raising their hands toward this Temple, 39 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 40 Then they will fear you as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

41 “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands because of your name, 42 for they will hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, 43 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.

44 “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to the Lord by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 45 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.

46 “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to their land far away or near. 47 But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ 48 If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their enemies and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name— 49 then hear their prayers and their petition from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. 50 Forgive your people who have sinned against you. Forgive all the offenses they have committed against you. Make their captors merciful to them, 51 for they are your people—your special possession—whom you brought out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt.

52 “May your eyes be open to my requests and to the requests of your people Israel. May you hear and answer them whenever they cry out to you. 53 For when you brought our ancestors out of Egypt, O Sovereign Lord, you told your servant Moses that you had set Israel apart from all the nations of the earth to be your own special possession.”

In this passage, we see that there is a prophetic nature to Solomon’s prayer. After Solomon’s reign, the people continually turned away from God. The rest of the kingdom era is a vivid fulfillment of Solomon’s description in these verses. As a result of the people’s sin, God let them be overrun by enemies several times. Then, in desperation, they cried out to God for forgiveness, and God restored them. In his prophetic insight of future captivity, Solomon asked God to be merciful when they cried out to Him, to forgive them, and to return them to their homeland.

Here, Solomon is warning people that if they do not follow God and do not put Him first in their lives, as a nation, they will suffer the consequences. But as we will see in the upcoming chapters of 1 and 2 Kings and the rest of the Old Testament that Solomon could say, “you wouldn’t listen!” That is the prayer for us today, Lord. Help us to have the wax removed from our ears so that we can hear counsel from godly friends. Help us to learn to listen. Help us to see when we are putting things and people and addictions and whatever on the altar of our hearts instead of you. Help us to always put you first in our lives. Help us to seek your will for our lives even when it does not jive with the desires of our flesh. Help us to not be so sold out on the idols of our lives that we cannot see the destruction that it will bring us.

Amen and Amen.

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