Solomon spent seven years building the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem (1 Kings 6:38). When he had finished, he dedicated the house to the Lord. In his prayers of dedication, Solomon acknowledged the natural inclination of the people to sin, and he pleaded with Yahweh to forgive them in their human failures. We see the many trespasses that he anticipates the people will commit in 1 Kings 8:31-46. Interestingly, Solomon lists some issues that are conditional, i.e. “if…“, while there are others that are certain to occur: “when…”.
In praying about these iniquities, Solomon distinguishes between offenses committed against God and those enacted against man. The reality is that every sin someone perpetrates is ultimately against God. When a person harms another in any way, because he is typically acting in his self-interest and not pursuing God’s interests, he adds one more mark to the count of sins against him for which he will be held accountable.
Solomon, knowing this in his wisdom, asks the Lord to mitigate this for His people. The condensed version of his prayer in 1 Kings 8 goes like this:
“If they sin against you – for there is no one who does not sin (v46) … if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul (v48) … then hear in heaven … their prayer and plea (v49) … and grant them compassion (v49).”
What Solomon references also in his prayers is the acknowledgment that Israel was called by God to be special. He declares this truth in 1 Kings 8:53 (also see Deuteronomy 32:9):
“For you separated them from among all the peoples of the earth to be your heritage, as you declared through Moses your servant, when you brought our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.”
Solomon also knows that God chose Israel to be a light to the nations as he indicates in 1 Kings 8:42,60:
“(for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house … that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.”
The benediction of Solomon’s great prayer ends with his plea for God to help His people as they walk out their having such responsibility as He has given them. He concludes in 1 Kings 8:58:
“… that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers.”
Following Solomon’s prayer and the massive number of sacrifices to the Lord (that we can’t even begin to comprehend), Yahweh appears to him as He had once previously. As we’ve seen many places in Scripture, God promises all of His wonderful goodness, but there’s a condition. For Him to bless a person or a nation, they must be faithful to Him. If they do that, the sky’s the limit as to how many blessings He will bestow upon them.
However, God knows the heart of man. Even as Solomon articulated some of the sins of Israel that could cause significant problems for the people and the land, God knows the potential for man to fail all too well. He articulates this in 1 Kings 9:6-9:
“But if you turn aside from following Me (v6) … then I will cut off Israel (v7) … and this house will become a heap of ruins (v8) … then they [other nations] will say ‘Because they abandoned the Lord their God who brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore the Lord has brought all this disaster on them.’”
This is the way with God. He expects those who know Him to be wholly and completely His. Whether it was Israel turning from Yahweh to serve other gods, or whether it’s the church today that falls away from Him in like manner, He brings judgment to His house. An unfaithful people find their temple or their church a heap of ruins. Sadly, what occurred in the past with Israel will happen again in the not too distant future.
The Bible foretells of great apostasy in the latter days. We are seeing that before our very eyes. So many churches have embraced the world in place of serving and loving God. Those churches and their people will pay a stiff price. There may be some who are truly born again within those sterile houses of worship, but most of the people are likely not saved. Otherwise, why stay in a place that has become an abomination to the Lord?
These congregations will not be Raptured. They will go into the 7-year Tribulation and suffer God’s wrath that He rains upon this unbelieving world. Perhaps some of these apostate church-goers will be saved in these terrible years, but the cost will be high. Most Tribulation saints will be martyred for turning to the One true God rather than worshiping the vessels of Satan.
It’s still not too late. Do you know of anyone who attends a church that honors the world above God? You have a sacred duty to try to show them the error of their ways. Perhaps by your efforts, some will turn to God and be saved.
In the time that’s left in this darkening world, all of us must be the light that God intended. Let us be faithful to shine.