Solomon has been busy building. When he is finally finished, God appears to him in a dream a second time. The first thing He says is, “I have heard your prayer and your plea” (verse 3a).
When Solomon dedicated the Temple it was evident that God had accepted it as His own. His presence filled the Temple and His fire consumed the enormous sacrifice. The people could see this for themselves. But something even more special happened one night when all was finally quiet in Solomon’s house.
God spoke to him, again. The first time God spoke directly to Solomon He asked him a question. “Ask what I shall give you” (1 Kings 3:5b). God was offering Solomon a ‘blank check’ to see where his heart was. Would he ask for glory? Would he want fame? Would it be riches or maybe long life. None of these was Solomon’s request. Solomon asked instead for wisdom to rule God’s people. We know the story; he got that and MORE.
The second time God spoke to Solomon it wasn’t with a question. It was with a statement that EVERYONE who has ever offered a prayer to God LONGS to hear. “I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me” (verse 3a). That is enormous and humbling!
God didn’t leave him wondering which prayer He had heard either. “I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time” (verse 3b). But this came with conditions. IF Israel stayed faithful to Him this house would stand.
God gave Solomon the same ‘IF’ requirement. Solomon, and his children, didn’t have to do anything the nation didn’t and vice versa. As the leader of Israel the king was responsible for its direction. Solomon’s job would be to ensure he passed on the teachings of his father David and the love for his Father God. Only then would his throne survive and the nation remain true to God.
We know the future Solomon didn’t. Israel would turn away. The kingdom would be split. The Temple Solomon built would be destroyed. And they would be cast out of the land God promised them. But that was not the end of the story either. Because God didn’t just listen to the first half of Solomon’s prayer. He listened to ALL of it! Including the part where Solomon asked for forgiveness and mercy when they turned again to God.
Time and time again Israel would need the second half of that prayer. And God would answer it again. Even after sending His Son, Jesus, Israel is receiving the benefits of the second part of that prayer. God restored them as a nation when they were all but gone, “a byword among nations.” I’m NOT saying the Holocaust was ANY comparison to the times Israel was carried off by other nations in the Old Testament times. What I am saying is that God is gracious and wants His people to return to Him fully, including accept the FINAL sacrifice He made on their behalf. He wants them to be complete by accepting our true Messiah, Jesus Christ God’s only begotten Son. And before His final return there will be MANY who will do just that and allow God to once again, answer the second half of Solomon’s prayer.
I probably got a bit off track but I went where I believe the Spirit led today. The greatest point I want to take from our reading today is that we have a God who actually listens to our prayers. Solomon wasn’t the only one who God listened to. Scripture is FULL of examples for us to cling to. The Psalms alone are filled with prayers that are answered as the psalmist moves through their experience. Jesus tells us that “If you abide in Me and My words abides in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done” (John 14:14). In other words, He HEARS the prayers of those who love Him and walk in His ways. And when you mess up, He is still listening and waiting for you to turn back to Him. He holds forgiveness a repentant heart away.
Thank You Father God for listening to my prayers. Thank You for bringing back to my memory all the times I had CLEAR evidence of Your listening when I cried for help. Even when the answer is “No” in KNOW that You ALWAYS hear my prayers. Thank You for reminding me of that fact today.
I pray right now for safety in this crazy world. I KNOW things are not going to go back to ‘normal’ and be quiet again. The ‘normal’ that has been previously accepted ISN’T what You call for Your people to live like. I KNOW it is also going to get worse before the end. I’m praying only for safety, even if that safety is on the other side of life, while the storm rages around me. I KNOW I am safe in Your hands, no matter what comes. Please help my heart remember that when all the ‘doom and gloom’ voices are sounding around me. All I can do as I walk through it, until You take me out of it, is to trust You in the middle of it all and do my best to walk how I believe You would have me to do. Thank You Father for listening to this prayer too!