READING: 1 Kings 8-9, Luke 21:1-19
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.”
1 Kings 8:61
I love it when the Word of God so grabs my heart that I don’t need to write much more than the Word itself.
Solomon had built the Temple, and he was prepared to dedicate it in prayer. Standing upright before the altar of the Lord and with his hands spread out toward heaven, he launched into his dedicatory prayer by recognizing who God is: “there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth beneath” (1 Kgs. 8:23). From there, he sought God’s favor to hear the prayers of His people, and especially to respond favorably to them when they turned to Him in repentance, “for there is no man who does not sin” (1 Kgs. 8:46). So heavy was the burden of prayer that Solomon began the petition standing up, but ended the prayer on his knees (1 Kgs. 8:54). That’s what genuinely talking to the God of eternity ought to do to us.
Then, Solomon moved toward his benediction – and it is those words that are best simply to repeat:
“Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant. May the Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else. Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” (1 Kgs. 8:56-61)
There is so much here that today can become our own prayer even as we learn from the ancient Hebrews. “First, thank you, Lord, for keeping every one of Your promises. Second, thank You that You do not leave us or forsake us. Third, Lord, I’m fickle. I don’t always keep my word to You, but You always keep Yours. Please turn my heart increasingly to You; make me more and more every day like Your Son. Fourth, be near Your church – be near me – and use us so that the nations may know Your name. May those who worship false gods today turn to You. And finally, God, I commit myself to be wholly devoted to You. When I don’t get there, please hear my cries for forgiveness. I praise You for new beginnings.”
- Read again both Solomon’s benediction and my prayer application. Let the words become your words.
- Focus on God wholeheartedly today. Follow Him with endurance (Luke 21:19).
PRAYER: “God, hear my prayers as I pray these words today . . . .”
TOMORROW’S READING: 1 Kings 10-11, Luke 21:20-38