AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH May 25, 2008
A CONTINUATION OF THE ORIGINAL THRUST AND BASE OF THE
OF AUSTRALIA ON BIBLICAL LINES …
THE POINTED PRAYER OF SOLOMON
AND THE DISAPPOINTED PRAYER WHICH IS NOT OF FAITH
THE ENDURING PRINCIPLES OF PRAYER -
I Kings 8:1-5,14-53
I The OCCASION (I Kings 8:1-5,14-21)
At last, the Temple built, the ark is placed within its august enclosure.
This is a
massive insert, since it contains the law,
which with all its statements and ordered words included or intended,
it ordains for Israel,
inaugurating a Passover Place,
a Salvation Setting,
as well as a Theocratic Rule:
one Place, one Rule, one Salvation
( Deuteronomy 12:5-11, 14:23, 26:2, Joshua 9:27. I Kings 8:29,
Psalm 78:68, 132:13-14, and II Chronicles 7:16, 33:4).
II GOD's FAITHFULNESS and
This culmination of the word of the Lord to Israel, to David, with the caveat that not David but his son should build the temple, has now been fulfilled: his son HAS built the temple just as God ordained. So do we who are Christians now find firstly, in God's incarnate Son, through the line of David given flesh for the purpose, ONE PLACE, the Cross, according to not one but MANY prophecies, and these through many, together with the fulfilment of these things: and that, it also is just as the Lord has said.
We should rejoice and praise God for this Messiah coming when, where and how and for what He was sent as foretold, doing it all to perfection and granting us a site, Himself by the Holy Spirit, for prevailing prayer.
III The PRAYER
Having taken these preliminary steps at the culmination of temple building and the emplacement of the ark, Solomon then launched into a prayer of faith, asking many things in ordered sequence and classic mould.
a) God as Target for Audition (8:22-24)
- Merciful to those
who Walk before Him
with all their Hearts,
-The One fulfilling
the Special Promises to David, as here.
Notice that just as Solomon notes here that God has kept His promise to David, so has He kept His promise to us in the New Covenant day, who believe. There is scope in this for direct application to ourselves whose temple is Jesus Christ, whose Covenant is in one sacrifice, whose appeal is precisely now as then, to ALL the heart (8:23, 48), not some conveniently packed module! some display unit, as on a show-room floor…
b) God's Provisions of Power and Peace (8:24-43)
Solomon with the word “therefore”, next comes to special foci, features, functions for faith,
now that the temple enshrines what matters, though at that time, it was signified in symbol.
If it was so then, in symbolic depiction, how much more obvious is it now, in divine fulfilment. THIS, our temple took some 33 years in building, namely the life on this earth of Jesus Christ. Yet this ultimate presentation was far more magnificent than the ornate features in the temple of Solomon; for that breathed symbol and architecture, beauty of craft, but Christ exhibited the peace, power, authority, kindness, meekness and loveliness of the deity Himself. It was seen and shown in His character, speech and ways. He did not baulk at the truth, which remains unmollified, in its severity and accuracy, when mercy is mocked and His sacrifice is not ... to the taste.
Always remember that His sacrifice is not to delete Himself, but our sin’s hold and unholy grasping; and that His resurrection is not just a pattern for our own, but is also an index to the majestic power of our judge (Acts 17:31), who now draws near like an aircraft approaching its landing.
Half a heart, half a life, half a commitment, or worse, a beautician's model of death, made to look life-like: what is this ? It is for a life not broken in spirit to will the will of God, nor fired with desire to please Him as Lord, but just a flaccid plant and a drooping ornament, savvy perhaps but not a servant. It is exempted at once from the assured answers to prayer to which Solomon now turns, on the basis of whole-hearted love for and occupation with the ways and will of the Lord. Not this, it is but a ring-in, as slang has it; a slovenly substitute for spiritual reality. It is like one coming to a party uninvited (as in Matthew 22:1-14)!
In what particulars, then, may the believer as shown in the
prayer of Solomon,
seek divine answer ? This is in order, to be found, in the context of the theocratic State:
i) Civically in judicial contest (31-32
ii) Nationally in military reverse (33-34)
as no less, in rebuke by rainlessness,
famine or pestilence (35-37)
iii) Personally, in plagues of the heart,
burdens innumerable (38-40)
- all these, they are present in major thrust,
so that the people of God, fear Him where He has placed them,
follow Him where He has placed them, and keep His way with a will.
It is found further,
iv) Inter-racially in God's equal love for those
co-opted into the land (41-43)
- so that all nations might know and fear God.
How ludicrous it always was in the USA for example when negros were not welcome in certain churches: neither Greek nor Jew, male nor female is the list for inclusion without prejudice (Galatians 3). The ONLY ground of separation is so simple: it occurs when either of two things happens.
Firstly, it comes if the LORD who unifies by faith in Him according to His word, is either clownishly replaced by a made-up Christ, either in a piece of bread which is worshipped, or a piece of some theologian's or other’s mind, which has a product. These are made up to be worshipped, as in the vast array of false christs, some clearly replacement models, others slyly intruded as if they were He who came and died and rose.
Secondly, it comes if HIS WRITTEN WORD, the Bible, is traduced, seductively altered in form or force, changed, made different, impeded, imposed on, moulded to the mind of any man: for ONE is your teacher, even Christ Himself (Matthew 23:8-10, sinless and sovereign as is fitting.
ALL of you, said He to the APOSTLES themselves, are brethren. Indeed, it was NOT ONLY to the apostles, for it states that it was to His disciples. That ? IT is the test. Reject this, the only authorised word of God to mankind, in any of its ways and you are judged already, moving so as to be not of this mould, not of His image, not restored in His light and right, an innovator and not a receiver of the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26). Isaiah 8:20 tells us that then there is no light in you. You MUST follow Him ... not lead! God is not a poodle, but an insoluble problem to those who play God. He works for the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64:4-5); this is no time for play.
Again, the ground of union in cricket is the rules and laws, and play in accordance, so that error is ready to be corrected by the rules, and practice altered when clear breach is occurring. The ground of union in Christ is the law of God, the word of God, the authority of the Lord, and when this is rejected, it is some other religion. When the very Lord whose the book is, is displaced with vain imaginations, as in all the sects, then this adds reckless impudence to lawlessness. It becomes a different and a delusive religion, drafted by desire, derailed by unruliness, a pretence: it is people playing golf on the cricket pitch, an invasion, a diversion, a folly.
From that sort of thing, one separates: not because of discrimination (equals, failure to treat all His servants as one), but because HE has discriminated against those who have idols instead of God, idols in the heart, so that as Isaiah puts it, "If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isaiah 8:20). If you are going to worship God, it is important not to substitute some magician's modelling, put in by sleight of hand; or if you are going to have a covenant, it is important that you do not alter and DO mean it. If you love someone, you show it and know it. To Him, we come. He is immutable, His word unalterable (cf. Matthew 5:17-20); for it is seven times refined (Psalm 111:7ff., Psalm 12:6).
IF to Him as He is then, people come, be they never so different in colour or other background items, then acceptance is a joy and togetherness in Christ is a delicious outcome (Psalm 133). Thus Solomon is showing that the power of God is just as much for those who come to the Lord from outside Israel, and then participate, as for those born there. ALL nations and peoples are in view (cf. Psalm 67). The case is not different now, except that the focus is Christ manifest, and to Him direct.
c) God's Hearing (8:44—53)
In particular moreover, God is sought by Solomon, that He be willing to hear prayer from His people
i) In battle when they are 'sent' (44-45)
In sin, when they are in exile because of it
He gives grounds for this expectation on the grace of the living Lord, the Creator who is God.
nation may sin, but Solomon pleads that even then God may hear when they seek
Him according to this, His declaration and His revelation:
- for there is none without sin,
for these are His own people,
redeemed from Egypt,
so that it is well that He listen whenever they call on Him 51-53).
But HOW are they to call upon Him ?
it is all in terms of a sincerity
and energy of heart,
built on personal repentance, and the realities symbolised by the Temple given,
not that He dwells in temples,
but that He ordained this as a focus (46-49).
So does the Christian, a stone built in the Temple of Christ (I Peter 2), Himself the foundation (I Corinthians 3:11), have access WHEN with the whole heart and mind, loving God above all, he or she so approaches Him. It is accordingly on the basis of that one space in time, that one time in space, when God became man and giving Himself to His detractors, used their violence to cover our own sins, with His innocence, and to bring us back to God, Himself resurrected in body, Lord of all creation, of both the living and the dead (Romans 14:8-9, I Peter 3:18). Thus none of us lives to Himself, nor does any of His die to himself; for if we live, we live to Him, or if we die, it is to the Lord. Whether then we live or die, we are the Lord’s!
What then do you lack in godliness, in spiritual power, in grace, in virtue, in brotherly love, in love to the Lord ? Ask: indeed you are commissioned to do so as in II Peter 1. THESE things you are ordained to ask for, and God ordains the reply, made to the heart emptied of its own lordliness and ways, and ready for His tutelage, prizing His fear, relishing His love. It is an expedition, like D-day. You are ready to move onto one of the barges, ships, to take you across, to disembark as one of His soldiers in a dangerous foreign land ? Good, move then, in His enlistments, and so act as saved by grace, newly made, or equally long sustained, in His race, that of the children of God.