By Dustin Allman
Pastor, The Fort Church, Kingsport
Focal Passage: 1 Kings 8:46-60
A man was praying with his pastor at the altar. He prayed a prayer the pastor had heard often. “Lord, take the cobwebs out of my life.” Just as he said this the pastor interrupted, “Kill the spider, Lord.”
We can offer God our sincere apologies, but actually fail to repent. We may show remorse, but biblical repentance is a turning from sin and turning towards God.
In chapter 3, Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom. By chapter 8, Solomon is executing this wisdom as he prayerfully dedicates the temple. Charles Spurgeon noted that Solomon’s prayer in verses 31-60 is essentially a summary of every prayer that would be prayed in the temple in the future.
We will sin against God. In verse 46, he prays “When they sin against you — for there is no one who does not sin …” Let’s not gloss over the word ‘when’. He doesn’t say ‘IF’ they sin, but WHEN!
Solomon doesn’t try to rationalize or excuse their sin. He asks God to forgive them when they repented. Solomon never diminished the people’s responsibility, but he does acknowledge man’s sinful nature. If you’ve ever struggled with sin and areas of weakness, you’re in good company! But being in good company with sinners doesn’t mean we have a license to sin!
God’s discipline is a means of grace. Hebrews 12:6 indicates that God allows His children to experience the consequences of their sin as motivation to repent. We sometimes overlook that discipline is a means of God’s grace to His children.
Just as a father disciplines and corrects a child to bring about something good, so God deals with us similarly. Solomon is prophetic in a couple of ways. There’s no way that Solomon would have known the exact dates and times, but Israel did fall into the habitual sin of idolatry and found themselves in exile. Yet God never abandoned His people.
Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this prayer. The temple symbolized God’s presence, but God would soon send something greater than a man-made temple to His people.
He would send Jesus, who would be greater than the temple, and in Himself, would inhabit the praise and worship of His people — all the peoples of all the earth! King Solomon pleads to God to uphold Israel’s cause (I Kings 8:60). Not for national prominence or royal superiority but so “all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God … ” Thankfully, we’re given a solution to our greatest problem, which is really, a sin problem, and our repentance is not in vain!
Perhaps the most profound part of this temple construction was the placement of the mercy seat. On the Day of Atonement, the high priest entered the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of sacrificial animals on the mercy seat, for the atonement of sins.
This image was meant to convey that only through the offering of blood could sins be covered. Jesus would be the Lamb slain for all sins — past, present and future! In Christ, there is abundant mercy!
We have great hope in Christ. He bears the sin of the people forevermore. He bears our sin, forgives our sin, and redeems us from the penalty of sin!. B&R