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God Hears and Forgives

God Hears and Forgives details logo The LORD is near - Thursday, January 13, 2022
by Jacob Redekop, Brian Reynolds, John van Dijk, Eugene P. Vedder Jr
Details
God Hears and Forgives

May You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.
1 Kings 8:30

God Hears and Forgives
This chapter records King Solomon’s public prayer—one of the longest in the Bible—at the dedication of the temple. First, he praised God for His fulfilled promises and expressed amazement that the God of heaven would even consider an earthly temple. Then Solomon made his request in the verse above: May You hear the prayers of Your people, wherever they are, when they pray toward this place.

Solomon elaborated on this request by describing seven different situations when the people might turn toward the temple and pray to the Lord. One notable fact is that five of those situations involve sin and forgiveness. Perhaps one neighbor might sin against another; perhaps an enemy would defeat Israel due to their sin; perhaps there would be no rain because of their sin; perhaps a plague, famine, or sickness might arise because the people required the Lord’s forgiveness; and perhaps, due to their sin, the people might even be carried as captives into another land.

Solomon added, “There is no one who does not sin” (v. 46). His frequent references to the possible times Israel might sin—and the reality that all of them actually happened!—are reminders to be vigilant in our own relationship with the Lord. Not every trial comes because of our own sins, yet we should have tender consciences in this regard. It is striking that the people facing a plague (v. 38) would finally turn to the Lord “when each one knows the plague of his own heart.”

The people of Israel could literally face toward the temple to pray, not for some mystical purpose but because the temple represented God Himself. Today, at any time, we can turn heavenward as we maintain a healthy relationship with the God who hears and forgives.

Stephen Campbell





 

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