Half way through week two on the study of 1 Kings. I will be honest here and admit that there is a lot happening in the pages of this book that I never really took the time to pick up on as I went through my Old Testament classes during both college and Seminary. It is exciting to see the way God worked and continues to work day in and day out. So lets take a look at 1 Kings 7 & 8 today.
Chapter 6 ended with Solomon completing the building project that had been years in the making. 7 years worth of work saw the completion of the House of the LORD. You would think that after a 7 year building project he would be ready to move on to something else. And he did..another building project.
Chapter 7 tells the story of the building of his, King Solomon’s, new home. And this time the building project took 13 years to complete. From the elaborate word portrait that is painted in describing the building of the Temple that place was a sight to behold. Beautiful and becoming with the best wood available, gold all around, intricate carvings and statues. The place was truly stunning. Considering the fact that Solomon’s number 2 desire (number 1 being to be the wise king God had called him to be) was to build the house his father had always dreamed of building for God you think he would have made sure it was the best there was. Instead after finishing God’s house he moved on to his own. A house that was just as elaborate, if not more so, as well as a house for his Egyptian wife.
It wasn’t until Chapter 8 that Solomon gets around to finally dedicating the temple and placing the ark of the covenant in its proper place. On the day that Solomon dedicated and blessed the temple he made sure it was done right. Taking all the reminders he had from God about the promise to follow through on the covenant He had made with David, Solomon spent the day praying with his face lifted toward the heavens and his hands high in the air. Solomon prayed for the LORD to be in that place. To lead them, to guide them, to protect them, and to comfort them. Solomon left no stone un-turned as he made his desires for the people of Israel make known to the LORD. As his prayer came to a close they celebrated and gave offerings to God while being in fellowship and community together. It truly was a beautiful time of coming before the LORD as one nation.
Solomon spent a lot of time building the temple, making sure that everything was just right. But in a weird turn of events he took more time building his own dwelling. Maybe it was just that Solomon was so eager to get God in his own place that he decided to rush a little bit quicker. Maybe it was that he was building more than one house so it took a little bit longer to get his done than it did to get God’s done. Whatever the reason is, I have noticed that I tend to work that way. When I am working on something for the Lord, for example preparing a Sunday school lesson, I may take just a few minutes each day to look over the material and get familiar with it. On the other hand, when I am working on something for myself I might spend a few hours each day on that particular task. Does that mean the thing I am doing for the Lord is any less important? I don’t think so, but what it does mean is that maybe I need to take some time to reevaluate my priorities. Just because I put God first (as Solomon did ) doesn’t necessarily mean I am giving Him my best.
Chapter 8 consists of one of the most amazing prayers I have ever read. I will be honest and tell you that even when I was going through my Old Testament classes I did not take the time to really READ the verses I was assigned. As I read through them this morning I was truly amazed at the passionate in depth level of prayer found in these verses. The second thing that jumped out at me as I read through this chapter was the way in which Solomon prayed. From early childhood we are taught to bow our heads, fold our hands, and close our eyes. Solomon, however, did the exact opposite. As Solomon prayed blessings and petitions over the temple he had is face turned toward the sky, hands raises up and his eyes focused. That is the way I want to pray and the way I want to teach my children to pray. I want them to want to look toward the face of God as they pray.