Tag Archives: Solomon

What Do I Want?

Solomon making a sacrifice to the idols

Me?

What do I want?

But look how I have
got things wrong,
not followed your path,
chosen other ways,
gone against what you ask.
I have tried to merge your way
with another way
and it doesn’t work.

Yet despite all that,
you still invite me,
ask me,
call me
and give to me.

What should I ask of you,
what do I long for,
yearn for?
What do I need from you?

Thank you Lord,
that you continue to ask me,
invite me to call to you,
whatever I have done,
wherever I have wandered to,
that we are still talking
and you still long to give to me.

So today,
I stop
and think.

What do I want from you?

Really,
truly?

Not the easy answers,
the quick fixes,
the attractive distractions

what do I really want from you,
in the depths of my being?
What do I need
to live my life
for you,
to fulfil
what you call me to?

Lord,
grant to me also
wisdom,
wisdom to know
and to ask
for the right things;
to live the right way;
to bring glory,
always,
to you.

Solomon prays for wisdom http://www.cultureelerfgoed.nl/

Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom

Teach Me to Dance to the beat of your heart

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14 (CEV)

David Dies

10-11 David was king of Israel forty years. He ruled seven years from Hebron and thirty-three years from Jerusalem. Then he died and was buried in Jerusalem. 12 His son Solomon became king and took control of David’s kingdom.

3Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David’s instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burned incense at the shrines.

The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar.

One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”

Solomon answered:

My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king.Lord God, I’m your servant, and you’ve made me king in my father’s place. But I’m very young and know so little about being a leader. And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count.

Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.

10-11 God said:

Solomon, I’m pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12 So I’ll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live.

13 I’ll also give you what you didn’t ask for. You’ll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you’ll be greater than any other king. 14 If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I’ll let you live a long time.

for my other post on this passage, see here

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A Place of Your Own

I always get quite cross when I see churches charging to go in them.  I appreciate that some are just going to view them as beautiful buildings, with intricate work to admire, but I want to see how people have expressed their worship and love of God – and as a matter of principle, I don’t think anyone should have to pay to visit the place where God is worshipped.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This one was going to cost 3 Euros – we didn’t bother…

1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43

Solomon Prays at the Temple

22 Solomon stood facing the altar with everyone standing behind him. Then he lifted his arms toward heaven 23 and prayed:

Lord God of Israel, no other god in heaven or on earth is like you!

You never forget the agreement you made with your people, and you are loyal to anyone who faithfully obeys your teachings. 

41-42 Foreigners will hear about you and your mighty power, and some of them will come to live among your people Israel. If any of them pray toward this temple, 43 listen from your home in heaven and answer their prayers. Then everyone on earth will worship you, just like your people Israel, and they will know that I have built this temple to honor you.

Solomon has brought the Sacred Chest, the Ark of God’s Covenant, to the Temple, this is now to be God’s home, his dwelling place.  He acknowledges that he was the one to do this, not his father David who wanted to, but this is no statement of pride or glory, but a prayer.  A statement of God’s great glory, remembering his loyalty to his people.

He then moves on to the purpose of the Temple.  It is not just a beautiful, majestic building, it is an earthly reminder of God and his life among his people.  A place where people can be reminded and have a place to worship God – for he is worthy of their praise.  It is a place to honour him.

Which brings me to the question, what are our church buildings for?  Places for the admiration of beautiful architecture?  Places to be kept special and “holy”?  Or places where people can encounter the God who lives among them,and who hears their prayers?  A place where everyone can be reminded of God and be able to come and worship him?  God’s home at the heart of the community?

Such things do not depend on beauty or being on the Tourist Trail.  They depend on the people of God being in that place, keeping his presence alive and maintaining a place where God can be worshipped – not just for an hour on Sundays, but in all the activities of a church in the community 24/7.

Thank you Lord,
that you are worthy
of a place of honour
and praise.

Thank you for dwelling amongst us,
that we may worship you,
that you hear our prayers
and our praise.

May we maintain a place of worship,
whatever shape that might be,
that you may be seen
in our communities,
a reminder
of your faithfulness
and your love

Promise?

How good are you at keeping promises?

Do you only make ones you know you can keep?  Do you stick to promises you’ve made rigidly? Or do you try to back out of ones that in the cold light of day seem ambitious or a mistake?

God keeps his promises.

1 Kings 8:22-30, 41-43

Solomon Prays at the Temple

22 Solomon stood facing the altar with everyone standing behind him. Then he lifted his arms toward heaven 23 and prayed:

Lord God of Israel, no other god in heaven or on earth is like you!

You never forget the agreement you made with your people, and you are loyal to anyone who faithfully obeys your teachings. 24 My father David was your servant, and today you have kept every promise you made to him.

25 Lord God of Israel, you promised my father that someone from his family would always be king of Israel, if they do their best to obey you, just as he did. 26 Please keep this promise you made to your servant David.

27 There’s not enough room in all of heaven for you, Lord God. How could you possibly live on earth in this temple I have built? 28 But I ask you to answer my prayer. 29 This is the temple where you have chosen to be worshipped. Please watch over it day and night and listen when I turn toward it and pray. 30 I am your servant, and the people of Israel belong to you. So whenever any of us look toward this temple and pray, answer from your home in heaven and forgive our sins.

41-42 Foreigners will hear about you and your mighty power, and some of them will come to live among your people Israel. If any of them pray toward this temple, 43 listen from your home in heaven and answer their prayers. Then everyone on earth will worship you, just like your people Israel, and they will know that I have built this temple to honour you.

Solomon comes to pray in the Temple he has had built for the glory of God.  As he does so, he remembers God’s faithfulness and acknowledges that he has always done what he had promised he would.  And then he prays for that to continue.

But as Solomon does so, he also prays in other ways:

  • He praises God, “Lord God of Israel, no other god in heaven or on earth is like you!” (v23), and “There’s not enough room in all of heaven for you, Lord God.” (v27) Solomon comes in praise, wonder and worship of the God who is so vast, so majestic – and yet is still interested in one man.
  • He comes aware of his need for forgiveness from his sins, “So whenever any of us look toward this temple and pray, answer from your home in heaven and forgive our sins” (v30); “ Listen when anyone in Israel truly feels sorry and sincerely prays with arms lifted toward your temple” (v38).  He is aware of so much that can go wrong in people’s lives and their need to return to God and ask his forgiveness.
  • He prays for God to be worshipped and honoured, “Then everyone on earth will worship you, just like your people Israel, and they will know that I have built this temple to honour you” (v43).  The Temple is not to show off Solomon’s building skills, or the splendour of Israel, but the glory of God alone.

All in all, not a bad pattern for prayer…

Lord,

I come to you in worship,

You are a might and majestic God,

King of the Universe,

holder of all

…and yet you know me,

love me

and care for me.

Yet Lord,

as I gaze on you and your splendour,

I realise how far I am from that,

and I come in confession,

seeking your forgiveness

and a clean start.

Lord,

my prayer

is that your name be honoured

throughout the world,

that all people will see you

and acknowledge you as God,

worship you

and live for you.

Lord,

hear my prayer