I was just reading Solomon’s prayer of dedication when the temple he built was finished and it reminded me of somethings. I think this post is going to be more of a rambling brain dump than an organize, coherent post. You may want to avert your eyes! :)

So Solomon dedicated the temple and prayed a very important prayer to God, recorded in 1 Kings 8. I can say that this was an important prayer because in chapter 9 God visits Solomon and says “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me.” He goes on to promise to heed Solomon’s request if he and the people will walk with him. That is the kind of answer to prayer I think we’d all like to get!

But it was the content of the prayer that snagged my attention. Solomon begins by blessing God (12-21); an appropriate thing to start with. What I thought was neat is that Solomon says to God, “I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” (13) So it seems like he expected God to live in the temple. But it was only pagan gods who lived in temples, not Yahweh. Solomon knows this: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!” (27) God is not contained in the temple, he is everywhere. I don’t think Solomon is correcting himself here, he is just speaking in broad terms. I mean, he started out by saying that he’d built God an exulted house when it was Hiram who’d done it. (chapter 7). This is just how the author of 1 & 2 Kings speaks. Solomon ordered the work and so Solomon built the house even though it is unlikely he wielded a single tool. The temple is a house for God but God doesn’t live in it exclusively. Same thing.

The other thing that got me thinking was even more significant. A bulk of Solomon’s prayer is taken up with requests that if the people sin and then turn and pray toward the temple that God would hear them. (31-40, 46-50) This is just laden with Christological significance to a theology nerd like me.

Prayer is to be directed to the temple and Solomon asks that God hear it when it is. In chapter 9 when God visits Solomon, he promises “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.” God will listen! Jesus tells us that anything we pray in his name will be done. (John 14:13, et. al.) Facing the temple and saying a prayer isn’t a magic incantation that will oblige God. Neither is tacking “In Jesus’ name”on at the end of a prayer. To pray toward the temple is more that a compass direction, it is to pray in accordance with the temple, with faith. To pray toward the temple is to have faith that God will meet sinful people there, forgive their sin and hear their prayers. The same thing is true with praying in Jesus’ name. It is to ask in accordance with who he is and what he stands for.

Yea, a bit rambling but I thought the connection was interesting.

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