Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name. (verses 32-33)
After the glory of the LORD filled the Temple Solomon ascended onto a brass scaffold, got down on his knees, raised his hands to the heavens and prayed an eloquent, heart-felt prayer to God in front of all of the people. It contained all the elements of the ACTS of prayer (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication). Many of Solomon's petitions for forgiveness paraphrase God's own words in Leviticus. The sacrifices that were offered as an atonement for sins following repentance were then going to be carried out in the Temple instead of in the tabernacle.
The words concerning the repentance of captives in a foreign land (verses 36-39) must have been very comforting to those who were returning from Babylonian captivity. Ezra himself may have been comforted when he copied them from Solomon's prayer.
- God did not speak in this chapter but Solomon asked several times for God to forgive the people if they confessed their sin. The only way sin can be recognized is if there are commands to be broken. In essence then, Solomon is referencing the commands of God in his prayer.
Does God make any promises?
- Solomon rehearsed before the people the promises of God that they were seeing fulfilled that day including the choosing of Jerusalem as God's city, the choosing of David as God's ruler, and the choosing of King Solomon to build the House of God.
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- Solomon asked in verse 18, "But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth?" Yes! Jesus is God in the flesh who came and dwelt among us! And He will come again and dwell among us!
- In Solomon's prayer he said that the Temple was to be for all people including strangers. He wanted everyone to know the LORD because of the testimony of Israel and their house of worship. Jesus also wanted the redeemed of Israel to spread the gospel of God the Father and His Son to all the world. God always had a plan in place for a world-wide gospel but in the time of the Temple He expected people to "come" and be introduced to the God that loves them. Later, Jesus told His followers that made up the church He established while He was here on the earth to "go" to all people and introduce them to the God that loves them. We are still doing this today.
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- Solomon had every intention for the House of God that he built to last forever as God's dwelling place among men, but it did not because it was a man-made structure. Jesus has prepared a place for us that will never pass away because it is God-made. One day we will live there with Him, Emanuel: God with us! Solomon's Temple was a place where God and sinful men were to meet, but the man would leave and return to his sinful environment. When we are permanently dwelling in the place that Jesus prepared for us men shall never return to a sinful environment or be tempted by their own fallen natures.