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Solomon concludeth his prayer.
37 If there be in the land famine, if there be pestilence, blasting, mildew, locust, or if there be caterpiller; if their enemy besiege them in the land of their cities; whatsoever plague, whatsoever sickness there be; 38 What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house:
39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men ;)
40 That they may fear thee all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
41 Moreover concerning astranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;
42 (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house;
43 Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name.
44 If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward
the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name:
45 Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near;
47 Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;
48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name:
49 Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause,
50 And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
51 For they be thy people, and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace
52 That thine eyes may be open unto the supplication of thy servant, and unto the supplication of thy people Israel, to hearken unto them in all that they call for unto thee.
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be thine inheritance, as thou spakest by the hand of Moses thy servant, when thou broughtest our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD.
Of praying for spiritual blessings.
Here are four more distinct topics of prayer, which Solomon supposes likely to be the subjects of the petitions offered in the temple, or toward it; to which he earnestly beseeches God's favourable regard. And it is remarkable that in the seven cases which he mentions, the evils deprecated, and the blessings asked for, all appear to be of a temporal nature. This shews us, that as in the Law the sanctions of reward and punishment all relate to this present world; so also, in the apprehension of king Solomon, it was probable, that this world's ills, and this world's advantages, would occupy the chief place in the prayers of the people, as offered to God in his house. This however we may be sure he had also in view, that the prosperity of the Israelites in this world might redound to the glory of the true God, and might ensure the celebration of those sacrifices, which pointed to the Christ who was to come. And this we must be struck with in these forcible petitions, that the inspired monarch testifies most plainly to God's being present every where, and to his knowing all the secrets of the heart, and to his ordering all the events of providence; whilst at the same time he bears express testimony, to the universal proneness of man to sin, and to the importance of his being convinced of sin, or knowing the plague of his own heart, in order to his praying acceptably unto God. All these things we may learn from these prayers of Solomon. And further, whilst he is praying for temporal advantages we may turn our thoughts to spiritual blessings. And having had life and immortality brought to light in the Gospel, we may use these prayers, with the help of that light, for happiness in the world which is to come, and for victory over sin and death, and for deliverance from the enemy of our souls, and for the restoration of our fallen race in the favour and grace of God, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ. And when we remember that the temple was a figure of Christ's body, we may consider that we pray towards that holy house, when we beg to be heard for the sake of Him, who saved us by offering up Himself upon the cross.
Hear us, O heavenly Father, we beseech Thee, for Christ's sake: forgive and justify, defend and save us, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord!
PART IV. O. T.
Solomon blesseth the congregation, sacrificeth largely.
perfect with the LORD our God,
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of to walk in his statutes, and to praying all this prayer and sup- keep his commandments, as at plication unto the LORD, he arose this day. from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,
56 Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.
57 The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: 58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the LORD, be nigh unto the LORD our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:
62 And the king, and all Israel with him, offered sacrifice before the LORD.
63 And Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace offerings, which he offered unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the children of Israel dedicated the house of the LORD.
64 The same day did the king hallow the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings: because the brasen altar that was before the LORD was too little to receive the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
65 And at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days. 66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people. LECTURE 565.
60 That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
61 Let your heart therefore be
God's great goodness in the atonement made by Christ.
It was said that Solomon "stood before the altar of the Lord," ver. 22, when he offered up this prayer at the dedication of the temple. But this could only mean that he took his station in front of the altar. For here we learn that he prayed kneeling; being told, that when he had made an end of prayer, "he arose
from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees." We are told too that when the prayer was ended he "blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying, Blessed be the Lord." Whence we may learn, that to bless God, and to thank Him for his goodness, is one way to ask of Him to bless us. And now let us observe the terms in which Solomon asks of God a blessing on "his people Israel." After blessing the Lord, and thanking Him, he prays that God would be with him. and with the Israelites as He was with their fathers, that He would be with them to keep them in his ways, and that He would bless them by complying with the requests of the prayer already offered, and that He would do so for this end, and with this fruit, that God might be known for God in all the earth. same time he exhorts the people to let their heart be perfect with God to fulfil his will in all things. This then is true blessedness; to have God with us, and to be serving and obeying Him, in all we do. And these are the blessings which above all others we do well to ask of God, namely, "spiritual blessings" in Christ Jesus. Eph. 1. 3. These alone can yield true happiness on earth. These alone can render all our other blessings really blessed unto us. Faith, hope, and love, zeal in well doing founded upon thankfulness for benefits received, patience in tribulation, self denial, humility, and true piety, these things let us chiefly beseech God to give, both to ourselves and others; or, to sum up all in one, a heart "perfect with the Lord our God."
We have good reason to think that Solomon, at this period of his life, had this true devotion of heart and soul to the service of the Lord. And in the abundant sacrifices which he offered, he gave proof that he was willing to shew forth God's praise not only with his lips but by his actions. At the same time we may justly suppose, that as far as the true meaning of these sacrifices could be then understood, they were intended by Solomon to express, that he trusted not in righteousness of his own, but had faith in a Saviour to come. With this view of his intent in sacrificing, how doubiy striking is the circumstance, that the altar was too small for the abundance of his offerings; how doubly interesting the assurance, that the people went away from the sacrifices with joy and gladness in their hearts, "for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people." For this surely was the chief goodness of all, an atonement really able to satisfy for sin, a temple which though destroyed would be raised up in glory never to perish, and a sacrifice once offered therein, which would be effectual for evermore. Happy Israelites, as many as through the shadows of the Law had a foresight of the substance of the Gospel! Happy, far happier, Christians, who have the substance of the Gospel, in all its fulness, at once revealed to their faith, and fulfilled in their experience!
The Lord appeareth to Solomon the second time.
1 And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do,
2 That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon.
3 And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
4 And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, in integrity of heart, and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded thee, and wilt keep my statutes and my judgments:
6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and to this house?
9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the LORD their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them therefore hath the LORD brought upon them all this evil. LECTURE 566.
5 Then I will establish the throne of thy kingdom upon Israel for ever, as I promised to David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man upon
The dealings of God with Christian nations.
One very important use of the Old Testament history is the manifestation of God's justice, mercy, and truth, in his dealings with the Israelites as a nation. Of this the words before us are
a striking instance, addressed as they are not to Solomon alone, nor only to the Israelites of one generation; but to the whole body, king and people, in all their generations collectively. Nor can we read them without coupling with them in our minds their terrible fulfilment in after times. When kings and people turned away from following the Lord, when they went and served other gods and worshipped them, then, we know, the Lord God Jehovah, the one only living and true God, did cut off Israel out of the land which He had given them, and did cast out of his sight the house which He had hallowed for his name. And whilst his people became a proverb and a byword among others, his ruined temple was a monument and memorial of their rejection by Him,