1Kings 8:22-30

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 2, 2002


Mom's Response

The following was written by a woman …

Late one Saturday evening, I was awakened by the ringing of my phone. In a sleepy grumpy voice I said hello. The party on the other end of the line paused for a moment before rushing breathlessly into a lengthy speech. “Mom, this is Susan and I’m sorry I woke you up, but I had to call because I’m going to be a little late getting home. See, Dad’s car has a flat but it’s not my fault. Honest! I don’t know what happened. The tire just went flat while we were inside the theatre. Please don’t be mad, okay?” Since I don’t have any daughters, I knew the person had mis-dialed. “I’m sorry dear”, I replied, “but you’ve reached the wrong number. I don’t have a daughter named Susan.” A pause. “Gosh, Mom, “came the young woman’s voice, “I didn’t think you’d be this mad.”

We’re going to talk about prayer this morning. Prayer is a little like talking to someone on the phone. There’s a central question I want to ask this morning …

Do you know who you’re talking to?

Solomon has built the Temple. It has taken seven years, with thousands of laborers working to cut the stone and timber. Vast amounts of bronze has been used. The things of gold have been made. As soon as the priests took the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies, a cloud filled the temple.

(1 Ki 8:11 KJV) So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Solomon explained to the people what was happening, then Solomon prayed.

:22 And Solomon stood before the altar …and spread forth his hands toward heaven:

The writer of Chronicles tells us a little bit more:

(2 Chr 6:13 KJV) For Solomon had made a brazen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,

:23 And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath,

This isn’t just saying that there are no other “gods” like the Lord, but there is no one at all like the Lord.


There is none like the Lord

There is this thought among some secular thinkers that God is just a figment of our imagination. They would say that God is just a product of our imagination. There can be some truth to this, because when people don’t pay attention to the True God, they will indeed make up an image of God that looks a lot like they do.
(Psa 115:1-9 KJV) Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake. {2} Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? {3} But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. {4} Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands. {5} They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: {6} They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: {7} They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. {8} They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them. {9} O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.
For us to relate to God, we inevitably end up thinking of Him in human terms. We call God our “Father”. Though He is our Father, He is not like your dad.
The Bible tells us that certain things make God “angry”. Yet for some of us, we can only relate to the word “anger” by thinking of people who have been irrational and hurtful in their anger.
The Bible tells us that God is love. Yet for some of us, the idea of “love” can be synonymous with abuse or betrayal. God is not like that.
There is nothing sinister or “dark” about God at all.

(1 John 1:5 KJV) This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Be careful that you don’t form your ideas about God based on false assumptions. Be sure that you pay attention to the things that God has told us about Himself.
(Heb 1:1-3 NLT) Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. {2} But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. {3} The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven.

If you want to know more about what God is truly like, look at Jesus.

:23 who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart:

keepestshamar – to keep, guard, observe, give heed

covenant[email protected] – covenant, alliance, pledge

mercycheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

The Hebrew word hesed, used about 250 times in the OT. It means loyal, steadfast, or faithful love and stresses the idea of a belonging together of those involved in the love relationship. It speaks of God's faithful love even for His unfaithful people.

(Hosea 2:19 KJV) And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.


God is faithful

God keeps His promises
Solomon will say a little later,
(1 Ki 8:56 KJV) 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.

God promised peace

Le 26:6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make [you] afraid: and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land.

With Solomon’s reign, there came peace.

Joshua said,
(Josh 23:14 KJV) And, behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth: and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.
Jesus has made us a promise.
(John 14:1-3 KJV) Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. {2} In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Do you think Jesus will keep this promise? He will come again.


We are not

While God is faithful, we are not.
The problems I have in my relationship with the Lord never comes from God being unfaithful, it always comes from my own unfaithfulness.

:24 and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.

An example of God’s faithfulness was right before them, the completed Temple. God promised David that his son would build the Temple, and now it has happened.

(2 Sam 7:13 KJV) He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.

:25 that thy children take heed to their way

(1 Ki 8:25 NLT) For you said to him, 'If your descendants guard their behavior as you have done, they will always reign over Israel.'

:26 And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father.


Count on God’s promises

Because God is faithful, you can count on Him to keep His promises. Solomon knows that God had promised his father David that he would always have a descendant to sit upon the throne of Israel, and he’s asking God to keep His word.
It seems as if God made two kinds of promises to David. On one hand, there was a conditional promise (1Ki. 8:25) that if David’s descendants followed the Lord, they would rule Israel.

We know that eventually the kingdom was destroyed by the Babylonians, because of the sins of the kings and the nation.

Yet God also made an unconditional promise to David as well (2Sam. 7:13), that he would have descendants who would rule Israel forever.

This is going to be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the son of David, when He comes to establish His kingdom on earth.  Despite our unfaithfulness, God will remain faithful.

God has another promise for you to count on –
(1 John 5:11-13 KJV) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. {12} He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. {13} These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

God wants us to know for sure that we are His children. He doesn’t want us wavering back and forth, wondering if He could really love us.

We don’t need to be inviting Jesus into our heart every Sunday. In a sense, once is enough. He doesn’t intend on leaving you. We need to learn to thank Him for being there.

:27 But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?

Even though Solomon has just finished building the Temple, he isn’t fooled by it. Even though the Temple will become known as “God’s House”, Solomon knows better. He knows that this Temple is much too small to be a house for God.


God is bigger than a Temple

How big is God to you?
(Isa 40:12 KJV) Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

God measured the heavens with the span of His hand. With the Hubble Space Telescopes new camera, scientists are able to look farther and farther into space. The “heavens” are quite a large place.

The center of the Omega Nebula, seen in this April 2002 image from the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, is also called M17 and the Swan Nebula. The star-forming region is 5,500 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. The colors are created by infant stars and glowing gas, cradled in a dark cloud of hydrogen.


The nebula NGC 2264, dubbed the "Cone," is a dark, sloping pillar of gas and dust in a star-forming region of the constellation Monoceros, 2,500 light-years from Earth. Radiation from hot, young stars, located above the top of this image, has eroded the nebula. The hydrogen gas thrown off from the pillar has been heated to a glow, creating the reddish halo around the Cone.

A light year is the distance that light can travel in a vacuum over the span of a year.  It is approximately 5.878 trillion miles (5.878 x 1012 miles).
It seems to me that God must have pretty large hands to measure things in thousands and millions of light years. Right now they’re saying that the fringes of the observable universe is something like 10 billion light years away.
You usually only ask people to do things they are capable of.
I might ask one of my sons to clean up his room, but I won’t ask him to build a nuclear power plant.
God is pretty big. He has pretty big hands. Is there something you need to be asking Him? Jeremiah wrote,
(Jer 32:17 KJV) Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:

:30 when they shall pray toward this place: and hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place:


God hears our prayers

Solomon is asking God to honor this Temple by paying attention to the prayers of people who pray towards the direction of the Temple.
From the time of Solomon to Jesus, God did indeed listen to the prayers of His people as they prayed towards Jerusalem. But with Jesus, things changed.
When Jesus met the woman at the well (John 4), she raised a question as to where God should be worshipped. Being a Samaritan, she thought that God was supposed to be worshipped on Mount Gerizim. She said,
(John 4:20-24 KJV) Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. {21} Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. {22} Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.

The Samaritans had a ed, twisted form of Judaism. They didn’t know what they were doing. But the Jews had a pure form of worship, following the Scriptures.

{23} But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. {24} God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The worship of God no longer has anything to do with location or direction of your prayers.

It has to do with your heart.

It has to do with whether you are coming to God with your heart and whether you are coming to God based on the truth of the Scriptures.

Are you coming to God through Jesus?  Do you have God’s correct address?

Getting the Address Correct

A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida for a long weekend to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. Because both had jobs, they had difficulty coordinating their travel schedules. It was decided that the husband would fly to Florida on a Thursday, and his wife would follow him the next day. Upon arriving as planned, the husband checked into the hotel. There he decided to open his laptop and send his wife a e-mail back in Minneapolis. However, he accidentally left off one letter in her address, and sent the e-mail without realizing his error. In Houston, a widow had just returned from her husband’s funeral. He was a minister of many years who had been ‘called home to glory’ following a heart attack. The widow checked her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. Upon reading the first message, she fainted and fell to the floor. The widow’s son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen, which read:

To: My Loving Wife

From: Your Departed Husband

Subject: I’ve Arrived!

I’ve just arrived and have been checked in. I’ve seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was.

P.S. Sure is hot down here!

Be sure the address is correct.  We come to God through Jesus.  We read earlier in John 14 how Jesus was going to prepare a place for us in heaven.  He went on to say …
(John 14:4-6 NLT)  And you know where I am going and how to get there." {5} "No, we don't know, Lord," Thomas said. "We haven't any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?" {6} Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

:30 and when thou hearest, forgive.


God forgives sin

It seems that there is one thing that will keep God from hearing our prayers.
(Isa 59:1-2 KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: {2} But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
The Bible says,
(1 John 1:9 KJV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Do you know who you’re talking to?

There is none like the Lord

God is faithful

God is bigger than a Temple

God hears our prayers

God forgives sin