“Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows of the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart you know (for you alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), that they may fear (reverence) You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.”
(1 Kings 8:38-40)
This is an excerpt from Solomon’s prayer as he dedicated the newly rebuilt temple. I was struck by the similarities found in the New Testament concerning prayer, supplication and forgiveness. Solomon is dedicating a temple – a building – to the glory of God. We, the Body of Christ, are now that temple – the dwelling place for the Spirit of God.
I would like for you to read this scripture again, but consider your heart as the temple that may need to be dedicated. That’s something to think about, isn’t it?
I absolutely love the imagery Solomon uses in his prayer: “…when each one knows of the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place…”
“the plague of his own heart…”
Wow!! Isn’t that what sin feels like? When we allow our relationship with our Heavenly Father to suffer, doesn’t it feel like a plague? A plague of the heart?
Webster’s dictionary defines plague as “a disastrous evil or affliction, to cause worry or distress which hampers or burdens, to disturb or annoy persistently.” Yes, that is what a heart hardened by sin experiences – distress, worry, persistent annoyance, a disastrous influence of evil…Solomon’s imagery paints a clear picture.
This puts words to what I experienced recently (I wrote about it a few days ago, “The Lord Has Rolled Up His Sleeves!”) when I allowed my relationship with the Lord to take backseat. I wasn’t participating in “blatant” sin, however I grieved the Holy Spirit just the same – maybe more, because I allowed my spirit to be overcome with the stress of life, rather than turn to my Comforter. And yes, it felt just like a plague!!
But, God, in His love and faithfulness heard me from heaven, examined the heart of His child and forgave, transformed and restored this transparent heart. He removed the plague and replaced it with His love, joy and peace. And He will do the same for you.
At the end of this chapter we are given another glimpse of powerful imagery: “And so it was, when Solomon had finished praying all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, that he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.” (verse 54)
Solomon had been kneeling on his knees before the Lord with his hands spread up to heaven…think about this. Allow your mind’s eye to see this holy moment. Can you feel the humility, the reverence?
May we never forget the glory and majesty of our God.
Father, Help us to see this image of Solomon kneeling humbly before You. Help us to understand the deadly threat sin is to our spirit – a plague. Wow, Lord, that says it all. Forgive us. Cleanse us and restore a right spirit within us. We desire to love You with a whole heart, completely, purely. We want to see Jesus. Bless Your Holy Name!