Solomon climbed on the bronze platform in front of the new temple, the crowning achievement of his young kingdom. The crowd before his was vast.
He fell to his knees. The bronze sang a solemn note.
Solomon’s hands raised toward heaven.
“LORD God of Israel, there is no god like you in heaven or on earth. You keep your promises to those who commit their way to You. You promised David, my father, that he would have a son build You a house to dwell in. Today that commitment is kept. Now continue to uphold Your word by keeping a son on Israel’s throne as long as we follow Your words and commandments.
“But, how can a God who cannot be contained in all of heaven abide in a building? Indeed, this building can contain Your name alone. I beseech You to stay attentive to prayers said in this place. Listen to the broken and contrite, LORD.
“When people pray toward this place hear from heaven and forgive.
“If neighbors take an oath judge between them. Bring retribution on the wicked and justification on the righteous.
“If your people are defeated in battle because of sins against You and they bow before You to confess their wrong then hear from heaven and forgive the sinner to return the land back to them.
“When You shut off the rain because of sin and Your people come and confess their sins then hear from heaven and return Your blessings to our land.
“When You send a plague of any kind and people come to this temple I have built and confess their guilt to You then hear from heaven and heal the land to return your people to prosperity.
“When a foreigner comes to this temple to pray to You because they recognize Your awesome power hear from heaven and do all that is asked of You, LORD.
“When Your people are in battle and they pray toward this place then hear their plea and fight for their cause.
“When your people sin against You, for all sin, and You carry them off to a distant land. When they recognize their failures and pray toward this temple I have built hear their cry and return them to this land for Your great name’s sake.
“Now, LORD God, come and dwell among Your people in the temple according to the promises You made to David.”
Fire came down from heaven and consumed the offering waiting on the altar. Smoke filled the temple so that the priest could not enter it because it was the presence of God.
God appeared to Solomon at night. “I have heard your prayer and will dwell among My people in this temple. I will hear their petitions to forgive when they confess their sins. I will heal their land as I hear the humble who turn from their wicked ways.
“If you continue to follow Me as your father David did then I will uphold the throne of your kingdom, but.
“If you turn away from Me and follow other gods then I will uproot these people from this land and this house you have built for me will become desolate. People will shake their heads and ask why this structure has fallen. ‘Because they forsook the LORD their God who brought them out of Egypt,’ will be the reply.”
This public prayer from King Solomon received a private reply from God. Oh, God did show Himself when fire came down from heaven and smoke filled the temple, but the king did hear directly from THE King.
The more I read this passage of scripture the more it became obvious this is a series of If (or when)/then statements.
Wise Solomon knew God required conditions for blessings and cursings even if he didn’t complete the required ceremony Israel’s kings were supposed to carry out.
He thought of several scenarios where people would need to pray to God. He even recognized his own personal need to follow God’s commandments.
Still, the next two decades found everybody loosing focus and drifting away from the God who kept His promise here.
God’s response to Solomon’s prayer was a more concise if/then prayer. He promised to hear the contrite and heal the land. He even promised Solomon a similar covenant to David’s ‘if’ he continued in his steps.
When success comes to people too young it’s difficult for them to keep focused on the real prize, God’s heart.
Saul had no preparation to become a king. He quickly failed.
David had to live in hiding from Saul for several years. Then he had to fight for the kingship before it took hold. He finished strong and became known as a man after God’s own heart.
Solomon was handed the kingdom at the age of 19. His dad fought off their enemies so Solomon inherited a peaceful time to reign. His foreign wives stole him away from this God he just prayed to.
So, where are you in this mix?
Are you still struggling and fighting? Or are you succeeding and building?
If God has you struggling then take heart, my friend. He’s building you into a better servant leader. You’ll be used in ways you never thought you could be used in His timing.
If you’re successful stay on your guard, my friend. Satan will do his best to knock you off your pedestal and flat on your face.
Everybody needs to stay grounded in the word. Encouragement and direction come from the same source.
God wrote His truths down for us because they don’t change, and neither does He.
Society will tell you things are different. We’re more enlightened now.
God made us and He knows whats best for us.
Satan is still whispering in Eve’s ear, “You can be like God.”
I’m here to tell you that lie is still a lie.
Only God is God.
The rest of us answer to Him.
Just ask Solomon.
I’ll see you later. Wade