By Adrienne Crist
Oh how I wish that I had two or three Tuesday’s to review this portion of scripture. There is so much here to examine! Solomon like his father, and like many other hero’s of faith before him, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, was a flawed man who loved his Lord and wanted to do right by Him. He was chosen for a purpose, a destiny. Solomon was considered the wisest man in history. Writing the book Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and Proverbs, all books which contain wisdom on how we are to live our lives, love one another and walk in reverence to God. Solomon was the son of David and Bathsheba, David’s great indiscretion. God does not hold us responsible for our father’s indiscretion but sometimes he assigns us to carry on our father’s work. Solomon’s legacy was to build the first Temple. He would complete his father’s dream because David had too much blood on his hands to be worthy of the task. 1Kings 5:4 states ‘But now the LORD my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor evil occurrence. And Solomon was dedicated to doing the will of God, he had a heart for God like his father David. In 1Kings chapter 3 you can read about how the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, in the dream Solomon has a conversation with God, prayer, requesting the following from God: v9 “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” and immediately following the Lord honored his request, pleased that Solomon did not ask for riches or long life or the defeat over his enemies but that his desire was to have a wide and understanding heart. v 13 states “And I have also given you what you have not asked: both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days” So the Lord filled Solomon with His wisdom, multiplied his coffers and gave him a unparalleled reputation in the land. He would need all these things if he were to undertake the construction of the Temple.
It was this reputation that in 1Kings 4:34 reads: And men of all nations, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom, came to hear the wisdom of Solomon. In these meetings Solomon was able to obtain the supplies and labor to build the temple. Cedars of Lebanon were sent down the Mediterranean on rafts of Cedar as the wood was commonly used to build ships floated with great ease. Stone was quarried from Mt Moriah, the mountain that Jerusalem sits on. In fact, you can visit these quarries in Jerusalem. The temple’s foundation was made of this Jerusalem stone, and it is law in Jerusalem that all buildings are to have this stone in the old city. Gold and silver, carvings of Cherubim made of olive wood like this, overlaid with gold were fashioned for the Temple. The walls had carvings of palm trees and flowers. Costly stones, bronze pillars decorated with pomegranates were brought in. All the designs were created to mimic the Garden of Eden. The first place where God came to dwell with man. All of the implements, the sea, the carts and lavers, the bowls of bronze were created, The furnishings of the altar of gold, the table of gold for the showbread, the lampstands and censers also made of pure gold. This all being the culmination of the request God made to David through the prophet Nathan, you can read about that in 2Sam 7. When Solomon finished the work he said; The Lord said he would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You and exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever” All the work, all the gold, all the stones, all the craftsmanship, all the blood, sweat and tears so that God would have a dwelling place on the earth, a place of infamy for His name. A place that all the world would be welcome to come, to see, touch, smell and experience the One True Living God. The Temple is the place that will house the Ark of the Covenant, the Shekinah Glory of the Lord. God wants it to be reminiscent of the garden as a reminder that his desire is to dwell with man, but now the sacrificial system has been put in place and just as Tanya taught us last week about the Tabernacle, the same rituals must take place before the priest can enter into the Shekinah Glory. And now these are the words that Solomon prays:
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven; 23 and he said: “Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven above or on earth below like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. 24 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day. 25 Therefore, Lord God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk before Me as you have walked before Me.’ 26 And now I pray, O God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David my father.
Solomon begins his prayer standing, with his hands spread towards heaven, at some point he falls to his knees. This is a perfect example of what happens when we get caught up in worship and prayer. We start off standing in praise and exultation to God and then we wind up falling on our knees. As the spirit moves in our hearts some times we find ourselves on our knees in complete humility. Solomon acknowledges WHO God is, the LORD over Israel, that He is the only God in the universe, there is no recognizing Him as the best and greatest but as the ONLY one. And he is a fulfiller of his promises, the covenant with Abraham and the promise that he gave to David. As we saw when we studied Moses, God does not go back on His word. He is faithful to complete what he has promised, and the bible is full of his promises! He will complete each one!!! And we can recount to God in thankfulness the promises he has fulfilled in our lives and recount them back to Him in prayer.
2Cor 1:20 20 For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!28 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication , O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: 29 that Your eyes may be open toward this [ f ] temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place . 30 And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear i n heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.
We are studying the prayer of who God calls the wisest man on the earth. Now granted he did not follow his own wisdom when he took foreign brides, hundreds of them! But in the end of his days he recognized his own folly, which is wisdom. The wisdom we can gain from this passage is that we can call out to God and ask him to listen. Solomon must have heard these phrases often as he penned proverbs:
A wise man will hear and increase learning Prov1:5
My son hear the instruction of your father 1:8
Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares…she speaks her words 1:20-21
But whoever listens to me will dwell safely 1:33
Incline your ear to wisdom 2:2
Hear my children the instruction of a father 4:1
Hear, my son, and receive my sayings 4:10
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings 4:20
Ok so that was just in the first 4 chapters! Solomon recognizes how effective it is to speak to the Lord in a language that He uses with himself. Have you ever heard one of your children say something to you in the exact language you use, or explain a concept to you or make an argument you would use?? Sometimes I hate that! But you know what, I listen! Solomon is wise, he is wise to plead with the Lord…we can too.
But the most important thing he prays in this section is “forgive” Repentance is a theme of this prayer. This is because Solomon through a spirit of revelation knows that the Israelites will constantly, again and again fall away from following the Lord. They will need to seek forgiveness for their transgressions. The temple is the place to go to receive forgiveness. I want to repeat that: The temple is the place to go to receive forgiveness.
What did Jesus say : 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
I just get so excited when I see Jesus in the Old Testament!!!! Jesus is the Temple!!! Jesus is the place to go to receive forgiveness!! But you will receive so much more than forgiveness. You will receive the power to overcome sin, and the power to live life in Christ, the power to pray in the Spirit…
Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus and the Holy Spirit are such a great point of transition here, in this prayer because we are about to move into a very prophetic section of Solomon’s prayer.
31 “When anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, 32 then hear in heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, condemning the wicked, bringing his way on his head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
I need to stop right here, why? Because I immediately thought of the example that I read from you about Jesus clearing the temple of the money changers and merchants. Ok I know it says forced to take an oath so he is talking about a different situation but bear with me here quickly, The place where Jesus condemned these wicked merchants was in the Courts of the Gentiles. The Temple mount is a large area, probably about 5 acres or so. The merchants were changing money from people who came from afar. Probably giving them a bad exchange rate. The sellers were possibly providing what they deemed as more appropriate sacrifices. These gentile travelers were being taking advantage of. And Jesus’s response was just that, a response, not a reaction because he had formed the whips that he brought with him ahead of time. There is to be no sinning against your neighbor at the altar.
33 “When Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and when they turn back to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication to You in this temple, 34 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.
35 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.
37 “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemy besieges them in the land of their [ g ] cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is;38 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), 40 that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.
Here is a very prophetic passage, now we don’t have time to review each instance but it is powerful to note that by the Spirit Solomon is prophesying about the future of the nation of Israel. The concept of exile is all throughout the scriptures. Beginning with the first exile out of the Garden of Eden. Man’s heart is towards himself and this causes defeat by an enemy, primarily the enemy of our soul, Satan. But when we turn our hearts away from God we can find ourselves captive to sin. Just as God allowed the Israelites to be taken off, captive to the Babylonians and the Assyrians, even allowing the temple to be destroyed so too can we be taken captive, exiled by our own making.
Psalm 81:10-12 I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide and I will fill it. But my people did not listen to My voice, And Israel did not obey Me. So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices”
I recently read that passage in a bible study I am doing about my struggles with eating. It is a powerful scripture. When Solomon prays the Spirit is speaking, sending a warning. We suffer the consequences of sin when we have stubbornness of heart and walk in our own devices.
41 “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for Your name’s sake 42 (for they will hear of Your great name and Your strong hand and Your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this temple, 43 hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.
So how is to be that people come from all around the world to visit Jerusalem? Who are these foreigners? Well the Jews call them Gentiles. What is the name of the God that drives them there? It’s Jesus.
Isaiah 2:2 – “In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it.”
Psalm 64:9 – “All mankind will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done.” Psalm 72:11 – “All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.
God told Abraham that all nations would be blessed through Him. Through Jesus. The renown of the Lord was known throughout the ancient world and not jut Jews wanted to follow the Lord Most High.
44 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemy, wherever You send them, and when they pray to the Lord toward the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, 45 then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their [ h ] cause.
46 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; 47 yet when they [ i ] come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness’; 48 and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: 49 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their [ j ] cause, 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them 51 (for they are Your people and Your inheritance, whom You brought out of Egypt, out of the iron furnace), 52 that Your eyes may be open to the supplication of Your servant and the supplication of Your people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to You.
Solomon is now interceding for the people for what he has prophesied. He is acknowledging that man will sin, he will be held captive and this calamity will cause the people to turn their hearts back to you. We are like a broken record my people! But Solomon reminds God once again that they are HIS people. Just like Solomon we will need to take people to the throne room repeatedly. But God is faithful to listen, and at the appointed time, he will answer that prayer. So be persistent! Kielo had a word about this a few weeks ago and it was powerful. His encouragement was just about this. Maybe you have been praying for something, a personal struggle, a prodigal child, a broken relationship? At the appointed time God will answer that prayer in the goodness of His will.
53 For You separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be Your inheritance, as You spoke by Your servant Moses, when You brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”
A lot of what Solomon prays is a sermon of sorts. It’s a praise, its thanksgiving, it’s a sermon on redemption. That is what the Temple stands for, it’s a place where God and Man can meet. Where Heaven touches the earth, but not just anyone can come in. All are welcome but they must be clean. Clean of their sins, redeemed by blood. Jesus said that we must eat of his body (the showbread) and drink of His wine (the blood) if we are to taste Heaven. We must be brought out of Egypt, out of our bondage, and only the Lord can do it. By prayer we enter that inner court, the place that He dwells. He meets us there, we are transported into his Temple, transported by the Spirit.
Solomon Blesses the Assembly
54 And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven. 55 Then he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying: 56 “Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest[ k ] to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers. May He not leave us nor forsake us, 58 that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, which He commanded our fathers. 59 And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day may require, 60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. 61 Let your heart therefore be [ l ] loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
Solomon was filled with the Spirit that Day, he was praying in the Spirit. Now I know I have read so much scripture but there is more that we need to see. Because Solomon’s prayer caused a response from God. Turn to 2Chronicles 7
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,
“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
Oh to have been a witness to that! The sacrifices had to be offered in the courtyard! Fire came down from Heaven. The peoples physical response? On their faces!
Fire is a picture of the work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is like a fire in at least three ways: He brings God’s presence, God’s passion, and God’s purity. The Holy Spirit fills us with Gods presence as he dwells within us (Romans 8:9) Romans 8:9 New King James Version (NKJV)
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
. In the Old Testament, God showed His presence to the Israelites by covering the tabernacle with fire by night(Numbers 9:14-15) 15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the Testimony; from evening until morning it was above the tabernacle like the appearance of fire.. In the New Testament, God guides and comforts His children with the Holy Spirit dwelling in our bodies—the “tabernacle” and the “temple of the living God” (2 Cor 6:16 ). 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[ a ] are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
He purifies us Psalm 66:10 For You, O God, have tested us;
You have refined us as silver is refined and he sanctifies us 1Peter 1:2. To the [ a ] pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
So We know that Solomon’s prayer was inspired by the Holy Spirit because of the resulting Fire! Fire that did not burn down the Temple, but purified it.
We too can access the Spirit in our prayers. We must include Him in if we want our prayers to become effective and alive. Ephesians 6:18 18 praying at all times z in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
And when we do not know what to pray for the spirit helps us :
Romans 8:26 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
We will be learning more about the HS this summer, but I have a handout of an article written about this topic I would like to share, available in the back.
Lastly I want to share the very special promise that the Lord made to Solomon and to us:
Turn to 2Chronicles 7:12 God makes another appearance to Solomon, Read V 12-16