Solomon, having celebrated God’s presence in the Temple and His fulfillment of His promises to his father David, prays a prayer of dedication during this most holy of ceremonies:
“Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel. He lifted his hands toward heaven, and he prayed, ‘O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below. You keep Your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before You in wholehearted devotion” (I Kings 8:22-23, NLT).
“There is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.” Have you ever prayed anything similar to that? It’s important that we acknowledge not only that God is God, but that He is THE God over all creation.
“You keep your covenant and show unfailing love…” Or as the God’s Word translation puts it, “You keep your promise of mercy…” To whom? “All who walk before You in wholehearted devotion.”
What does it mean to be “wholehearted” in one’s devotion to God? Complete. Sincere. Enthusiastic. And that doesn’t mean to pick one of the three – it means all of them.
God, as the greatest Parent of All, can’t reward His children for doing wrong. He can’t bless half-hearted devotion the way He can bless wholehearted devotion. He won’t reward us for mediocre worship and certainly not for wrongdoing. How thankful we should be for His “promise of mercy.”
Solomon continues his prayer: “You have kept Your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with Your own mouth, and with Your own hands you have fulfilled it today. And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise You made to your servant David, my father. For You said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow Me as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ Now, O God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David, my father” (I Kings 8:24-26).
Solomon was already king, so why was He asking God to “fulfill this promise?” He wanted God’s favor on his descendants who would follow him as king. Do you pray for God’s favor on your children and grandchildren and even for the generations to come after them?
Next Solomon expresses more wonder at God’s greatness: “But will God really live on earth? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain You. How much less this Temple I have built!” (I Kings 8:27).
Solomon knew he served a big God. Far too often we diminish God by trying to fit Him into whatever box or mold we think He belongs in. As Creator of All Things, “even the highest heavens cannot contain” Him, so we need to be very careful about limiting in our hearts, minds and spirits who we believe God is or what we believe He can do.
On more than one occasion I’ve received a phone call asking me to speak at a church. Fearing I would tell them I charged some astronomical fee (which I assuredly don’t), the caller begins by saying, “We’re just a poor little church,” not knowing she’s just spoken to me the ultimate fingernails-on-a-chalkboard statement.
“Poor little church!” I want to scream. God has no poor little churches. He has churches of all sizes, but none are poor when their Shepherd owns “the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10b).
It’s not the size of your congregation; it’s the size of your God. How big is yours?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates