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Feb 27, 2015

90 Day Challenge – Day 58

Sarah Christmyer

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Bible Time Period: Royal Kingdom

You established a kingdom on your servant David and promised him an eternal throne: Establish your kingdom in our midst.

Reflection

The building of the Temple is a significant milestone in the history of Israel.  This is a permanent place for the Lord’s presence in the midst of His people and the primary place of worship (the only place of true sacrifice).  That presence will be evident to all on the day the Ark of the Covenant is brought into the sanctuary:  “when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (8:10-11).

Today’s Reading

1 Kings 5-8

Today’s Question

What is at the heart of Solomon’s prayer in chapter 8?

Join the discussion below!

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  • At the heart of Solomans prayer was raw, emotional and complete faithfulness and dependence on God. Also, the understanding and recognition of God’s Loyalty to his faithful servants, as long as we continually uphold our end of the deal. I just love this picture of art I found. How pure, majestic, and just shows the ultimate faith in dependence at throwing your hands and soul up to something greater and allowing it to fill your life.

  • This is a beautiful prayer of praise, thanksgiving and petition; Solomon implores God to remember His covenant always, even when people turn away in sin 8:46 – “When they sin against you (for there is no one who does not sin)…”.
    Something new occurs to me, though, reading this prayer this morning: it is very like the Lord’s Prayer (though not necessarily in the same order of the prayer):
    Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…thy will be done… (8:23-26 “Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below;…”)
    Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us (8:31-36, 46, 50 “Forgive the sin of your servants”)
    Give us this day our daily bread (8:37-40)
    Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (8:44-59 “When your people go out to war against their enemies, by whatever way you send them”….”grant them mercy I the sight of their captors, so that these will be merciful to them….”)
    It may be a stretch, I know, but the Lord’s Prayer came to mind when I read this prayer. One more thought: I love how Solomon prays for the rest of the world to be blessed by God through this nation (8:41-43, 60).

    • Wonderful connection, Kerry!! Never far from Jesus’ mind was the readings of Scripture…His were always sum and summation of Scripture…this is totally what Jesus would have done…Thank you for making this connection…I will remember our closeness to Jewish history, whenever I pray the Our Father…

      • Thanks, Beverly. Yes, Jesus IS the sum and summation of Scripture, the Word, and all that came before pointed to Him!! And I appreciate the thought – “remember our closeness to Jewish history when praying the Our Father.” Recently, I have been called upon to remind some people locally that ours is a Judeo-Christian faith.

    • The connection to the Lord’s Prayer was exactly what I was searching for but my brain never put it together. I also saw the hope that the Gentiles would be eventually included in the covenant.

      • Thanks, Jacqueline and Barbara Ann. This is the 4th time I have gone through Salvation History and the 1st time this prayer has struck me this way. The Holy Spirit is amazing.

  • It took another 11 months after its completion (chapter 8:2) before its inauguration of the temple. I was wondering why it takes too long to set its feast. After few research, I agree with the king and its wisdom to wait until there will be a general rendezvous of the people in Jerusalem and the timing is the feast of Sukkoth or booth or the feast of Tabernacle. That annual festival had been instituted in commemoration of the Isra
    elites dwelling in booths during their stay in the wilderness, as well as of the tabernacle, which was then erected, in which God promised to meet and dwell with His people, sanctifying it with His glory.

  • There is nothing much I can add given the wonderful insights already posted. It seems a multi-layered prayer, confirmation and affirmation of the promises to his father David and the people of Israel, law (asking God to judge), petition and request for mercy for future sins. The prayer is to God but it is also a description of the Israelites journey through salvation history rather like a BC Great Adventure (sorry Jeff, Solomon beat you to it). And as someone already said it included a plea to welcome foreigners who are seeking God, maybe another step to moving from a kingdom towards a universal nation.

  • Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly of Israel, and stretching forth his hands toward heaven he said, “LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below; you keep covenant and love toward your servants who walk before you with their whole heart
    the covenant that you kept toward your servant, David my father, what you promised him; your mouth has spoken and your hand has fulfilled this very day”.

    This chapter was really emotional for me this morning. It really started in full force in ch. 6-7, but most intensely moved me during Solomon’s prayer in chapter 8. During that moment tears were flowing down from my eyes. Solomon gave every ounce of breathe of life to God at that time. Wow! It was absolutely beautiful and reassuring.

    This section has left my mind thinking and thinking of the spiritual feeling felt by the assembly go people present during Solomon’s prayer.

    • Solomon’s heart-wrenched prayer, his humble spirit and sincere concern for God’s people is very moving. He not only wanted the people of Israel to worship God at the Temple and seek forgiveness…..He wanted all foreigners to come worship and honor the Lord, seeking God’s love and forgiveness….that all the peoples of the earth may know and fear Him. What an awesome king Solomon was humbling himself before the King of Kings! If only ALL leaders today would follow his example.
      This is my first year doing the 90 day challenge. I am learning so much…and all the readings are so pertinent for today! I love all the comments everyone shares. God bless you all!

      • Rosi,

        Welcome! Reading scripture with a group and seeking a purpose and message within the readings are amazing. Each and every day is like Christmas. Glad you are with us.

  • I stumbled on this website and joined this great adventure 30 days after it started so I have been catching up ever since. I find that if I go back and forth I get confused so I have been moving forward instead. Thank you all so much for your sharing. I am learning so much from this and really enjoying it too. This is a first for me, both the journey and the post. Like Carla, I felt incredibly moved during Solomon’s prayer, a beautiful reminder that God is faithful and keeps his promises. And I love the connection Kerry made to the Lord’s Prayer. Thanks for all your insights. Some of the chapters are pretty confusing but all your sharing helps me understand it better. God bless.

    • Welcome Florence, reading the Bible and their commentaries helps me too in understanding many difficult passages. At the same time this is also a good occasion for reflecting in our lives what we read and pray. I will include you Florence in my prayers that you may receive more blessings and gifts from our most loving and merciful God.

      • Thank you, Jose. The beauty of an online programme is that anyone anywhere is able to journey and learn together. Over in Kuala Lumpur, my day has just begun…Blesings to all.

        • That’s right, we may have almost same time zone, as I am away from home for vacation in far South Of Manila. We can get to a computer cafe to do this. Our sharings are very insightful on our prayers and songs.

    • Hello Florence. Welcome to this bible study group. I too am a newby. I am gaining so much more reading and studying biblical scripture as a group versus reading and studying on my own. This group brings so much knowledge about the bible and offers revenues and resources for deeper understanding. I truly believe the Lord led me to this 90 challenge.

      Already, I am wondering where I can join the next bible study group once this was is complete.

  • Solomon seems to anticipate the sins of Israel as a people and the sins of individuals. He prayer is for repentance and forgiveness. The house he has built for the Lord is not a House of Containment but a Place refuge for the People. A place where the people will find forgiveness and justice from the Lord.

      • Amen Kerry, I have been in Parishes that have driven priests away. Unfortunately the entire town was that way. A very good friend of mine father was the pastor of the First Christian Church and they destroyed him.

        • And I have been in parishes where the priests have driven people away — I guess it can happen both ways when we forget how we are supposed to all work together, utilizing our gifts and talents as God intended instead of for some power trip or earthly glory.

  • Solomon’s prayer recounts the sin-supplication-forgiveness cycle the Israelites have proven is their habit. Solomon takes great pains to recount the situations to the Lord that the Israelites find themselves in and prays that the Lord will indeed forgive them once they repent and ask for forgiveness. Had I not known that Solomon would become one of the greatest hypocrites in salvation history, I would have read his prayer with greater hope for the Israelites; however, this prayer falls on skeptical ears knowing how Solomon will turn from the Lord and be sinful and disobedient to the Lord.

  • I am confused. At the beginning of Solomon’s reign, he seems to kill for negative reasons; e.g. revenge for past perceived insults. How does he get away with this? Aren’t we taught to forgive? I don’t understand why he gets away with murder.

    • Hello Vincent, Welcome to the forum! You ask tough questions, but I like that you are direct and to the point! This is my first time actually reading through the Old Testament, so I have many of the same questions in my mind. The best I can describe, is that the Old Testament times were “Pre-Jesus”, and “Pre-Bible”. They did not have the Bible to read, nor all the refinements of God’s teachings that Jesus brought to the world yet. Also, I think because of this, God actually spoke directly to people back then in one way or another, WAY more than Post-Jesus/Bible.
      God seems to be much more harsh back then. People back then had Free-Will also. I believe He looked into the hearts of the people back then, and often killed entire groups of people that he KNEW there was no salvation for them. Sometimes doing it himself with Hail, Fire, etc, but almost always using Men to do the killing. I think he did it to protect those people who he knew did have a chance of salvation.
      There has been few time where I have read, and thought, “Wow, that was WRONG”, and sure enough, often times much later, there were consequences for the person or persons that did it.
      I think we also have to remind ourselves that the reason for the bible is not as a history book, it is a book written for Salvation of Souls. It tells a lot about things/events that happened, but not for Historical purposes. I think it is written to be timeless. So people can read it and learn lessons from it to help them be better people to achieve Salvation.

      To me, it gives me hope. It shows me that “even in biblical times, even God’s Chosen People were not perfect either” Even during the times when God was speaking often directly to them!, giving them HUGE miracles for them to see!, they still fell to sin. Oh, what I wouldn’t give, to have just a little of those two things from God during our lives.

      Sorry, I have drifted off topic a little, but please “Have Faith” while reading the Old Testament!!! It has been tough for me to read too!

        • Vincent, Margie, and Janet, you are most welcome! I hope what I have said turns out to be true, but even if not, it is still truthfully saying what I “feel” as of my current understandings of all of this. I think Marianne is 100% correct in her comment below.(Thank you Marianne!) I’m just not all the way there yet, however, I am starting to get little bits of God speaking once in a while lately, and it is VERY exciting!!! Maybe an analogy might be in learning a language of another country. If/When actually “living there”(Christian Life), and had not “given up”, and are actually TRYING, people would quickly start picking up words and phrases, until you would probably soon become quite fluent…???
          (However… I STILL wished that God would speak outwardly/directly like he did back then with words and miracles!!! ha ha ha)

          I am also excited to see how I feel and understand at this point (and all through this study) a year from now when going through this study in 2016!!!

      • Yes. thank you Kevin for taking the time to provide an understanding of the Old Testament for me too. This is my first time to read it also, and I have found my self reacting in so many different levels of confusion, acceptance, logical and ill-logical interpretations, but when I began to search for the lessons, for the reasons some acts were done, I began to understand God’s ways just a little bit more.

      • Thanks for the explanation, Kevin. I, like you, have often thought how wonderful it would be if God would speak to me as he must have spoken to those back in the OT. But since we have the scriptures and Jesus’ example, I’m sure the people from the OT would say we’re the greatly blessed ones.

        • Yes, the bible is full of great timeless truths and is very relevant to our lives today.

          I think that God DOES speak to us today, Janet. We just have to train ourselves to “hear” his voice. It could be a passage of Scripture that you’ve read dozens of times before but then suddenly, it pops out at you as if you never read it before. It could be the homily at Mass… or the
          words of a friend… or even a stranger… Sometimes we may actually hear a voice, like the time I heard I must “do something” after an unusual cryptic dream that I actually remembered…

          It could be the symbols of nature. The little bird that lands on the bare branches of the tree out my window on a cold winter’s day… seemingly lost… then suddenly I’m reminded that God “feeds the birds in the air and clothes the lilies in the field”. Therefore (I am reminded) “do not worry about your life” (Matthew 6:25) And of course, every time I look up from my prayers, I see the cross in the woods across the street. I am blessed with this daily reminder of the presence of Christ in my life, watching over my home, and a constant source of encouragement.

          • Yes, it’s as you say, Marianne! I have heard God speaking a quiet voice to me at times. Sometimes I like what He has to say, other times not so much. But I know I’m called to listen and obey. I also hear His message in scripture at Mass, in the books I’m reading, in conversations with my discipleship groups, even strangers. I simply am imagining what it must have been like to hear an audible voice speaking. There are times I hear a quiet voice and it’s not so clear to me where the voice is coming from. Is it from God? Is it from the evil one? Or is it from me, trying to impose my own will in a situation? It’s at these times when an audible voice from God would come in handy, wouldn’t you say? 🙂 But eventually, after more prayer and asking for clarification, I get my answer.

          • I hear you, Janet! Another thing I’ve noticed is that you’ll “hear” the same message three times from some of the different sources that you mentioned. I think we know it’s from God instinctively, deep in our hearts. If it’s what we wanted to hear anyway, we need to examine our motives and keep praying till we feel confident and certain that it’s from God. If we have doubts, we have to ask ourselves “is this in line with the Scriptures and teachings of the church?”

  • “On that day God’s feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east. The Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west by a very deep valley, and half of the mountain will move to the north and half of it to the south” Zechariah 14:4

    The Mount of Olives Cemetery in Jerusalem is the city’s oldest functioning cemetery. Its earliest tombs are located at the foot of the mountain in the Kidron Valley, where Jewish kings, priests and prophets (Zechariah) are said to be buried. Elsewhere in the cemetery are Jewish rabbis and Zionist leaders, a Nobel Laureate for Literature (S.Y. Agnon), and an Israeli prime minister (Menachem Begin). All the bodies in the cemetery are buried with their feet facing the Temple Mount so that when the Messiah returns to earth, there will be no confusion s to which direction they should go. The cemetery is still used today but could run out of space in 10 years. There are more than 150,000 identified plots in the cemetery, and scholars expect there are many more than have not been identified.

    10th day of Lent. It is going fast. We all want to enjoy this time. Think of Jesus in the desert and Jesus had to fight the devil but Jesus like the saints knew the “sweetness” of prayer. For, what seemed to be bitterness before for St. Francis of Assisi with avoidance of the leper, was “sweetness” when he picked up the leper. “And after he had given his cloak to the leper, St. Francis looked behind him and saw no one for that leper was Jesus Christ.”

  • “Then going out, Jesus went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. When he arrived at the place he said to them, “Pray that you may not undergo the test.” After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” Luke 22:39-42

    Jesus had a strong sense of a God-given purpose in his life. When in Capernaum, he said–“To the other towns also I must (go)….because for this purpose I have been sent.” Told of Herod’s death threat, he says–“I must continue on my way today, tomorrow, and the following day. Now in Jerusalem, hours away from his death, Jesus says to the Father—“…not my will but yours be done.”

    Now this forty days of Lent, we push on, It is not so bad is it….we must enjoy it for it will be filled with even greater joy at the Resurrection Easter Sunday and then Divine Mercy Sunday also. Penance is the only way.

    Perhaps God is nudging me to do something I do not want to do. From time to time, a certain thought runs through my mind, an inkling to do something (or stop doing something). I shy away from it, slough it off and figure it’s just one of those odd thoughts, daydreams. But maybe it did not come from me. Maybe it came from the Lord. That makes a difference. Now, early into Lent, I Should take a long look at this. If the Lord is nudging me toward something, I ought to do it. Remain quiet for a moment and listen to what the Lord is saying to you.

  • Solomon begins by reiterating that he is the fulfillment of God’s promise to David (v 23–26; 2 Sam 7:13–17), hinting that his throne will be established forever (2 Sam 7:16). He then focuses on the consequences of disobedience and the desire for justice (vv. 31–53). It seems that the author has two audiences in mind: God and whoever hears or reads the prayer. First Kings 8:22–53 acknowledges that the temple has great social and religious significance as Israel’s central shrine, but asserts a struggle with the idea that God can be contained in a space measuring 20 cubits (30 feet) in all directions. As a result, I suggest, two related ideas run throughout Solomon’s dedication prayer: that God dwells in heaven while His name resides in the temple (v 27, 29, 39, 43, 49), and that the temple serves as a building for people to pray toward so that God hears their prayers from the heavens (v 29, 33, 35, 38, 42, 44). While sacrifices are offered at the temple (v 62–64), Solomon’s prayer emphasizes the role of the temple in the daily life of the people.

  • Solomon’s prayer and dedication to the house he built for the Lord was a good way to explain to the people who assembled what an important place of worship this will be. I like how he reasoned that this doesn’t mean God will dwell on earth, because heaven and the highest heaven couldn’t contain God, much less this house. But, when a person prays for forgiveness for their sins in this house, God will hear them. That dedication helped me to understand why I feel so accepted and hopeful when I walk into any church that is blessed by God. I also want to thank Kevin for giving me some insight on what reading the Old Testament has done for me.

  • Solomon has asked for God’s blessing over his home and the people dwelling in the house. He sakes God to watch over them as long as servants are faithful to God with their whole hearts. Throughout this chapter he also asks God to keep the bloodline as Kings as long as they shall live.

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