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Day 96 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue First Kings and Psalms.
1 Kings 8 – One of the most remarkable realities about the temple Solomon built was that it was designed and constructed to be the place where the Lord (Yahweh) would dwell, not symbolically or metaphorically, but really and truly—“for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.” Solomon recognized the incomprehensible wonder of this reality. “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!”
Perhaps equally remarkable is the purpose or function for which the temple was designed. This house of the Lord was not simply a place to offer sacrifices or to store the treasures of the kingdom. Rather, the temple of the Lord was designed to be a house of prayer (Matthew 21:13), where the Lord would both hear and forgive His people. These two themes dominate the prayer of Solomon. Fourteen times, Solomon indicates that from this house the Lord would hear the prayers of His people. Five more times, Solomon prayed that when the Lord heard these prayers, He would forgive the sins of His people.
Our covenant Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth, came to dwell among His people in the Promised Land that He had provided in order to hear their prayers and forgive their sins. In light of this reality, Solomon was able to declare that the Lord had fulfilled all that He promised through Moses His servant.
Only then, after all of God’s goodness to His people was thoroughly rehearsed, does Solomon encourage the people to obedience, but it is an obedience motivated by God’s grace. Our obedience to God, in both the Old and New Testaments, is always motivated by God’s grace and His steadfast love. He has kept all of His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20), He comes to hear our prayers and forgive our sins, and so His people long to live in fellowship and communion with Him, rejoicing in the “obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5; 16:26).
Solomon asked of the temple, “But will God indeed dwell on the earth?” Beyond what Solomon may ever have imagined, the answer would come resounding back one thousand years later: yes. In Jesus’ incarnation, God came to dwell on earth. Jesus is the true and final temple (John 1:14), where God and man, heaven and earth, are brought together once more.
How does this kingly prayer point you to the King of kings?
1 Kings 9 – The theme of obedience plays a significant role in the account of Solomon’s career as recorded in chapters 1–11. The obedience required of Solomon and his heirs was, however, an obedience motivated by God’s grace. In chapter 1, Solomon received his kingship by promise, not by right. In chapter 8, Solomon confessed that the Lord had fulfilled all of His promises and had come to dwell among His people in order to hear their prayers and forgive their sins. Solomon’s obedience, like ours, is always to be motivated by God’s steadfast love, that is, His willingness to keep His promises to us in spite of our inability to respond in obedience with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
In addition to highlighting God’s grace, the repeated theme of obedience also highlights God’s justice. The Lord does in fact require obedience from us, and that is our just response to His grace. However, if the account of Solomon’s life teaches us anything, it teaches us that the type of obedience required by God is IMPOSSIBLE for us to achieve. But God has provided a way to achieve our obedience outside of our own individual ability.
He sent his Son, the King of heaven and the offspring of David (Romans 1:3), to obey on our behalf. As the apostle Paul said, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). In other words, God’s remedy to our inability to respond in obedience to His grace is MORE GRACE. The pathway to heartfelt, authentic obedience is always the path of God’s mercy and grace.
How does knowing the your inability to be fully obedient does not hinder God’s ability to love you, lead you to be more obedient?
1 Kings 10 – In Deuteronomy 17:14–20, the Lord established the “law of the king,” stipulating that Israel’s king should not acquire many horses (especially from Egypt), multiple wives, or excessive amounts of silver or gold. In other words, Israel’s king was denied political, military, and economic security in order that his trust might be in the Lord and His law. But this chapter (and the one to follow) make it very clear that Solomon did exactly what the Lord had forbidden in Deuteronomy. He amassed horses and chariots (from Egypt) and incalculable amounts of silver and gold.
We can see the beginning of the landslide that will see even more clearly in tomorrow’s reading.
Psalm 96 – That the good news crosses all geographical borders and will infiltrate every people group is reason enough to rejoice all over the world (Romans 16:26–27). David sang this hymn as he brought the ark back to Jerusalem from Obed-edom (1 Chronicles 16:23–34). His “new song” announces to his Jewish congregation that God is revealing His glory to the nations in a new way. The difference from this and the “new song” in the New Testament is the latter’s clarity that the message of the cross will “turn” the world “upside down” (Revelation 5:9–10; Acts 17:3, 6), but both songs make clear God’s intention to claim the nations beyond Israel.
God invites all people to believe; He does not beg, because He has no competitors (Romans 1:5). Idols are literally “no-things”. Not only is God the only deity, He is the most impressive of all conceivable alternatives. God’s “glory” comprises His proactive and powerful presence in the world. These qualities produce exclusive worship and make heroic disciples (Acts 7:2, 55).
The glory of God’s sovereign grace also compels the worshiper to offer himself as a testimony to the world (1 Thessalonians 1:4–5). After all, Jesus offered Himself up for us. In calm assurance that our victorious Lord will have dominion, we will be emboldened to witness (Acts 1:7–8).
How does this Psalm give you encouragement and strength to share all that God has done for you?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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