Scripture: “Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” 1 King 8:59-61 ESV
Observation: In chapter 8 of 1 Kings, the author tells us of how Solomon supervised the procession of the ark of the covenant into the newly completed temple of the Lord. This climatic event culminates with Yahweh, who had led Israel by a daytime cloud during their wilderness wandering, now filling the house of the Lord with his cloud of glory (verse 10-11). Overwhelmed with gratitude, Solomon first blesses his Creator for fulfilling his promises to David regarding the succession of the throne and the construction of the temple (verses 12-21). Solomon then launches into a lengthy prayer of petition for his people and their immigrants, that each would respond to the withdrawal of God’s blessing with repentant hearts—leading to forgiveness and restoration (verses 22-53). He then offers a benediction to the people (verses 54-61), concluding with an animal-sacrifice ceremony and feast (verses 62-22).
Takeaway: Solomon’s benediction begins with an invocation of praise: “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all he promised” (56a). He then asks that the Lord continue to be present with Israel and incline their hearts to walk in his ways, that Yahweh would not have cause to forsake them (57-58). For emphasis, Solomon rephrases this request with the added nuance, “as each day requires” (59). Why each day? So Israel could avoid accumulating offenses against God that would invoke his wrath? Yes, but also so that all the peoples of the earth may know that Yahweh alone is God (60). Otherwise, we will tarnish our witness to the world if we solely practice godly living when we gather for worship. Indeed, for our sake and others, we need Christ’s grace to permeate every aspect of our lives “as each day requires” so that we can “maintain the cause.”
Prayer: Father God, thank you that in Christ we find rest. Would you please help us avail our times of worship to refresh and recommit to the cause of living by grace as each day requires? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling