Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May the peoples of the earth know that the Lord is God!




Scripture

“And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to 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 requires,
(1 Kings 8:59 NASB)
so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else.
(1 Kings 8:60 NASB)
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”
(1 Kings 8:61 NASB)

 

Observation


Solomon has completed the work on the Temple and the time of dedication has come. After the ark is placed in the holy chamber of the Temple, the presence of God fills the place. His presence is visible as the cloud envelopes the Temple and God resides in his new home. The people carry on an elaborate ceremony in their worship of God. You can sense their excitement as the story is recounted. Solomon's desire is that the whole world would see the faithfulness of God! He knows that this is only possible if the people of Israel remain faithful to God in all things. He challenges them to be wholly devoted to Yahweh, walking daily according to the law and keeping God's commands. Solomon understands that this is necessary for God to be glorified and for the people of the earth to know that Yahweh is the One true God! There is no one else!

 

Application


What a challenge to the people of God -- both then and now! I believe that we often fail to realize that we exist to glorify God. Our lives are to be a living and breathing testament to the work of God in our lives, however this is only possible when we give him first place in our lives. What does it mean to be wholly devoted to God? How many other ways can we say it? We aren't supposed to be half-way devoted, or occasionally devoted to God, but we are to be wholly devoted to him. We are to be like the Apostle Paul who believed that it was possible to "pray without ceasing." We are to keep our faces constantly turned toward God in all facets of our life, day in and day out, we are to breathe him!

Solomon understood that this type of intimate relationship with God was necessary for the people to remain faithful. He had been a personal eye-witness to his father David's relationship with God. He had seen and experienced the intimacy which happens when two are in this type of a relationship and he understood that the same relationship was available to the people of God, if only they would seek the face of God by being wholeheartedly devoted to him.

Solomon admonished the people to walk in God's statutes. A statute constitutes the underlying foundational law of a land, and for the Israelites, they were to be God's people. They were not to worship any other gods, but were to focus their lives on the worship of God and being in a faithful relationship with him. The entire nation was built upon this foundational understanding. As long as they did not turn to chase after the things that other nations had to offer, as long as they remained faithful to God, he would be with them and he would bless them. Throughout the entire Bible the metaphor or a marriage is utilized. Israel was the bride, and the foundational principle for Israel was to remain in a faithful marriage relationship with God! We are challenged today to remain in a faithful marriage relationship with our Lord. We are not to commit adultery with the world. This is what it means to follow God's statutes.

Finally, the people are told to keep God's commands. These are the specific rules which God laid down for the his people. The stone tablets from Moses were the only items to be found in the ark of the covenant. The commands which God gave to his people were quite simple -- ten items which, if followed, would radically change God's people and they would be a glorious representation of him here on this earth. If Christians today would follow God's commands -- if they would live according to the ten commandments -- the world would see that Christianity is real and God would be glorified.

The sad part of this story is that we know the ending. The Israelites literally commit adultery with every neighboring god. They don't follow God's laws and in their self-centeredness they become self-destructive. The world does not get to experience God because of their unfaithfulness. What a challenge to us today! Christianity truly has the answer to the needs of humanity, if only we would be faithful day in and day out to the calling to which he has called us. So much is done in this world in the name of Christianity -- and often it is done by those who are only culturally Christian. Maybe today we need to listen to the call of King Solomon and return to the Lord our God. We are being called to a personal daily walk with him, one in which we find an intimacy which is normally reserved for the marriage relationship. This is what he wants and desires from us. He wants his people to make him the first priority in their lives and serve him in faithfulness. And what of the ten commandments? Yes, we know that since the coming of the Holy Spirit the laws are written on our hearts -- but are they? Is the result that we actually live by the ten commandments without even thinking about it? That is what God wants from us.

May we live in obedience and faithful before the Lord our God and may the world know that He truly is the One and only God of all things. May our lives lead people to him today, and every day. That is the challenge which Solomon places before us.

 

Prayer


Lord, help us today to seek you with all of our hearts and to live faithfully before you. May you be glorified through our lives. Amen.

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