1 Kings 8:46–60
In Exile (46–48)
Beginning in verse 31 and continuing to verse 49, Solomon presents seven situations in which God’s people would find themselves in need and turn to God. There are several things these seven situations have in common.
First, there’s the inevitability of sin. Each stanza of the prayer begins with “when,” not “if.” The clearest expression of this is verse 46: “When they sin against You — for there is no one who does not sin.” The Bible never shies away from portraying human beings honestly.
Second, these seven stanzas of Solomon’s prayer show the consequences of sin. Because of sin, Israel would be defeated by its enemies (v. 33) and suffer drought (v. 35) as well as famine, blight, locusts, warfare and disease
(v. 37). The Bible never says every negative thing that happens to us is the result of sin. But it does teach every sin carries negative consequences.
The final stanza prophetically anticipates the time when the people of Israel would be overrun and exiled. This would happen over 400 years later when the Assyrians overthrew the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C., and then when the Babylonians exiled the southern kingdom of Judah in 586. Sin brought consequences which eventually brought the people to repentance.
God Hears (49–53)
A third element the sections of Solomon’s prayer have in common is each ends with some variation of the phrase “Hear in heaven, Your dwelling place.”
Solomon has faith God will hear when we call Him. But Solomon also reminds the people that while the temple is dedicated to the name of God, God does not live there.
Go back to verse 27 where Solomon exclaims, “Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain You, much less this temple I have built.” These multiple reminders that heaven is God’s dwelling place ensured the Jews would worship God at the temple instead of worshipping the temple itself. Furthermore, it would comfort the Jews when they were in exile to know God was still present with them even though Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple.
We have the same assurance today. We don’t have to come to church or make a pilgrimage to Israel for God to hear our prayers of repentance. He meets us where we are, and He hears.
Blessing Offered (54–60)
Solomon’s prayer of blessing praised the character of God. God gives rest to His people, and He is faithful to keep His promises. He would be with the people just as He had been with their ancestors. This is a promise we can still hold onto today.
Notice even our ability to be devoted to God comes from God Himself. Left to our own devices we are not able to obey God. But God’s abiding presence with us through the Holy Spirit enables us to live God-honoring lives. Jesus taught His disciples the Holy Spirit would teach them all things, remind them of all that Jesus had said and convict them of sin (John 14:26, 16:8).
Even though Solomon’s temple is long gone, believers today can be assured God still hears, and we can still come to Him.