Friday June 26, 2020
The Dedication of the Temple
I Kings 8:54-65
54 When Solomon finished making these prayers and petitions to the Lord, he stood up in front of the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands raised toward heaven. 55 He stood and in a loud voice blessed the entire congregation of Israel:
56 “Praise the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the wonderful promises he gave through his servant Moses. 57 May the Lord our God be with us as he was with our ancestors; may he never leave us or abandon us. 58 May he give us the desire to do his will in everything and to obey all the commands, decrees, and regulations that he gave our ancestors. 59 And may these words that I have prayed in the presence of the Lord be before him constantly, day and night, so that the Lord our God may give justice to me and to his people Israel, according to each day’s needs. 60 Then people all over the earth will know that the Lord alone is God and there is no other. 61 And may you be completely faithful to the Lord our God. May you always obey his decrees and commands, just as you are doing today.”
62 Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices to the Lord. 63 Solomon offered to the Lord a peace offering of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. And so the king and all the people of Israel dedicated the Temple of the Lord.
64 That same day the king consecrated the central area of the courtyard in front of the Lord’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of peace offerings there, because the bronze altar in the Lord’s presence was too small to hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 Then Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters in the presence of the Lord our God. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south. The celebration went on for fourteen days in all—seven days for the dedication of the altar and seven days for the Festival of Shelters. 66 After the festival was over,Solomon sent the people home. They blessed the king and went to their homes joyful and glad because the Lord had been good to his servant David and to his people Israel.
1 The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 Lord our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
The words of God, the statutes, the commandments, are mini platitudes for a plaque unless we live them out, unless those around us recognize them evidenced in our lives. Knowledge is impotent unless lived. Do our actions match our knowledge?
In Psalm 99, the author speaks of God’s love of justice and equity. The question for us is, do we? Do we speak to these in our decision making, in our devotion to God as one who loves justice and equity?
Solomon prays the prayer of dedication over the Temple, then turns to address the nation gathered before him. Given that all this takes place on the Temple Mount, it is a great gathering of all the priests he is addressing. But these are words for all people, not the priests alone. This can be viewed from our perspective of the “priesthood of all believers” to be a word for us all.
Solomon addresses the behavior of God and our behavior based on who He is and who we are called to be. There is one primary assumption in the Psalm and Solomon’s prayer and blessing. We know who God is, how God behaves and how we are to behave. As we make decisions, we do so with a clear knowledge of God’s law and the commandments by which we are called and have committed to live. While we might struggle with exactly how we apply them, we know what is required of us.
Solomon shared a simple pattern: devote ourselves to God, learn what is required, and then do it. While the pattern is simple, living it requires perseverance, and self awareness.
Will we commit to be faithful priests? Will we join in this priestly struggle to follow a pattern set before us as a path to justice and equity?
Prayer for Today
May my prayer be Godly prayer and my decisions be Godly decisions. Amen.
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