FOTS #30 1KINGS – SOLOMON’S WISE PRAYER: THAT ISRAEL’S GOD BE REVERED THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 

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Great David’s greater Son would later become the embodiment of wisdom; his lesser son and heir Solomon at least began well, praying above all else for that divine quality from which all virtues flow. His prayer was granted together with immense wealth and prestige that he had not sought and would later regrettably become a stumbling block to him.  His greatest honour was undoubtedly to have overseen the building of God’s Temple. After the Feast of Dedication, Solomon blessed the people, yet his prayer was not restricted to his subjects alone. He recognised that God wished Israel to become a divinely disciplined and holy nation that would act as a salvific bridgehead to the rest of creation. He therefore prayed not just for his own people but the whole world:

EVEN THE FOREIGNER, NOT BELONGING TO YOUR PEOPLE ISRAEL BUT COMING FROM A DISTANT COUNTRY ATTRACTED BY YOUR NAME – FOR THEY TOO WILL HEAR OF YOUR NAME, OF YOUR MIGHTY HAND AND OUTSTRETCHED ARM – IF A FOREIGNER COMES AND PRAYS IN THIS TEMPLE, LISTEN FROM HEAVEN WHERE YOU RESIDE, AND GRANT ALL THAT THE FOREIGNER ASKS OF YOU, SO THAT ALL THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH MAY ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR NAME AND, LIKE YOUR PEOPLE ISRAEL REVERE YOU (1kings8:41-43NJB) 

Note those “foreigners” who would come to revere Yahweh would not become a part of “Your people” (Israel) to do so (v43). It had never been intended under the Old Covenant that the whole world “become Jewish” but neither was it destined for the cosmic waste-paper basket; many in the world would be enlightened by the Jews and come to revere Yahweh once they had understood Him to be not just the God of Israel but Lord of the Heavens and Earth (see also Deut4:5-6).