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Friday, April 29, 2011

Sermon on Solomon's temple

   What an occasion the inauguration of the temple must have been.  The priests could not minister on that occasion because the cloud and the Lord's glory filled it (1 Kings 8:11).  Solomon dedicated it most ceremoniously, including his beautiful prayer preserved in that same chapter.  One of Israel's greatest, most powerful kings, at the material and geographical apex of the nation's existence, uttered that petition before the people down on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven before the altar (1 Kings 8:54).  Then, he stood, blessing the nation, and proclaimed, "Blessed be the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise, which He promised through Moses His servant" (1 Kings 8:56).  So many rich truths can be mined from this powerful proclamation.


The promises of God are helpful.  They enjoyed rest at the time of the building of the temple.  David had subdued their enemies through war.  Now, Israel enjoyed peace.  It was just as God promised.  Think of the promises God makes to us about the rest we find in Christ (Matt. 11:28-30).


The promises of God are faithful.  Solomon could say in his time what has always been true concerning the divine promises.  "Not one word has failed."  We serve a God who always delivers on His promises.  That excites and comforts us in our obedient submission.  It should fill us with dread if we are rebellious and disobedient.  Either way, His promises will come to pass.  We can count on it (cf. 2 Cor. 1:20)!


The promises of God are hopeful.  The nature of God giving His word is "good."  What a profoundly simple way to characterize them!  James, a New Testament writer famed for his wisdom, echoes Solomon, saying, "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow" (Js. 1:17).  Those are promises in which you can stake your all!


The promises of God are timeless.  As we have already seen, what was true in Solomon's time was true back to the beginning and will hold true to the end.  Both covenants promise His promises will be fulfilled.  This has buoyed up the struggling, hurting, otherworldly-minded children of God time immemorial.


The promises of God are limitless.  Consider that word "all."  How many promises does God make in Scripture?  Some count as many as 3,000, but it is difficult to find an exact figure.  Yet, here is what we do know.  He has kept, is keeping, and will keep every one of them. 


The promises of God are flawless.  They are unfailing, according to Solomon.  Man will frequently disappoint us, but God exceeds our expectations!  Heaven will prove that once and for all, but earth has sufficient proof!  The blessings in Christ (cf. Eph. 1:3) grow sweeter and more meaningful with each passing day!


You and I have failed too often regarding promises we make!  Contrast that with God's promises.  They help us reconcile our past, reinforce our present, and revel in our future!

 

Neal Pollard  

 

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