1 Kings 8 takes us back to one of the most celebrated events in Jewish history. The Tabernacle of the wilderness had given way to the Temple in all of its magnificence and splendour. After seven long years of sacrifice and labour, Solomon completed what his father could only dream of. A new era had begun as the Temple stood as a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness and the crowning achievement of the Jews. The congregation of Israel gathered around their king as he stood with outstretched arms by the altar of the Lord (1 Kings 8:22). What a powerful gesture this was. Solomon wanted the nation to know that he expected the success of his prayer to be linked to the sufficiency of the sacrifice. So too we learn that God will heed our prayers because of the sufficiency of our sacrifice, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Three keys can be noted in this chapter that will unlock the doors that lead to the pathway of powerful service.
First, Solomon recognized that God was much bigger than his plans, activities and accomplishments (1 Kings 8:27- 28). Here is this splendid piece of architecture, and yet we find a humble confession that God would not be bound to it or by it. God cannot be limited to nor confined by our ministries, no matter how great we may think they are. His work reaches beyond the confines or borders of our influence and His work will not rise or fall based upon what we might be attempting for Him. We are often guilty of overestimating our greatness and underestimating the greatness of God.
Second, Solomon asked that God’s eyes would be towards this Temple (1 Kings 8:29). King Solomon wanted himself and his people to live under the watchful eye of God and be open to the scrutiny of God. As believers, we must faithfully serve the Lord, and do it in such a way, that we would not fear the glance of God upon us. It is also impressive to consider where the eye of God will be found. God will certainly take note of the place where He can say, “My name is there.
Third, Solomon wanted God to “maintain their cause” (1 Kings 8:49, 59). This is a world where everyone has rights and everyone has a cause. The saint has a cause and the apostle Paul summarized it beautifully. “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20). If God doesn’t maintain our cause, then we don’t have a cause. When is it that we need God to maintain our cause? “At all times as the matter shall require.” (1 Kings 8:59)
These three things together paint a wonderful picture. We should recognize the greatness of God, live under the watchful eye of God, and trust in the power of God to maintain our cause.
This article appears in the February 2010 Open Bible Bulletin.