12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 17 And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’
There was a while that this verse was a theme for See You at the Pole and the National Day of Prayer. They were public prayer events where people would pray for their community and the nation.
That is fine; the Apostle Paul tells us to pray for our leaders in 1 Timothy 2:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
There are two things I want to change about my previous perspectives of this passage.
- We’re free from the conditions. There are many conditional “if you” and “then I will” in here that Jesus knew we couldn’t keep. He came and lived a perfect life in our place, died on the cross in our place, and rose from, the dead to give us a place in Heaven. The righteous will live by faith, and that is the only condition of God hearing us now. Jesus made the sacrifice, so all of the “if you”s that God lists here are fulfilled in our faith in Jesus as the Son of God.
- The other perspective change I’d make from this verse is to take it from nation-centric to community-centric. I need God to heal my land as in the 50 x 90-foot lot on the South side of Evansville. If we began by asking God to heal our households and neighborhoods, that would add up to a healed nation. (And I don’t just mean the USA. Wherever you are, God wants to heal your region!)
God has already chosen to live among us and to make us into His temple. (Check out last week’s reading for more on this.) Now He wants to continually heal the land that His temple rests on. He wants to work and deliver the adjacent properties to His Temples.
He already wants to do it! This is our great participation with Him, to invite Him to take over the neighborhood.
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