Word of Encouragement (05/09/2024)

Pastor James
May 9, 2024

And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 56 “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 spoke by Moses his servant. 57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, 58 that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. 59 Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, 60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other. 61 Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the Lord our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day. (1 Kings 8:55-61)

In this last part of his benediction, Solomon offers a couple of petitions. The first is, “Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the Lord, be near to the Lord our God day and night” (v. 59a). This could be Solomon’s indirect charge to the priests to offer up the kind of petitions he offered to the LORD daily, day and night. This could also be his hope and confidence that God would not forget the petitions he prayed for. This was not wishful thinking on his part, was it? God is an omniscient God, who knows what we need before we ask (Matt. 6:8). He is also a faithful God: we may forget what we prayed for, but He will never forget—even the prayers we prayed once and forgot all about!

This should not make us lazy in prayer, thinking we just need to pray once for each petition. Prayer is not a business transaction with God to get what we want with the least effort; it is an intimate communion with Him. We don’t pray faithfully and consistently because we must convince God with our persistence or because we must pray a certain number of times or a certain amount of time to fill the quota; rather, we do it to show the sincerity of our desire for what we pray for, or the knowledge of what God’s will is. If God is gracious enough to answer our one-time prayer, how much more should we be encouraged to pray persistently?

Notice what Solomon says at the end of v. 59: “...may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires” (literally, “the matter of a day in its day”). Despite all the success in obtaining unprecedented wealth and power, he recognized his need to depend on the LORD, not occasionally and only at critical moments but daily for everything. How wise Solomon was to have this awareness! We know how easy it is to rely on our paychecks and savings for security and peace. When things go well, our prayer loses the heat of fervency and urgency, our Bible reading becomes scarce and soporific, and our minds are overrun with all kinds of worldly pursuits and sinful desires. Do we not know how quickly our situations can change—how suddenly a storm of serious illnesses can come after a calm of health and turn our world upside down, how people can change and leave us in the dust, how a natural disaster or an unexpected upheaval in politics and the market can rob us of all that we worked for? Do we not know that everything is by God’s grace and we cannot take anything for granted? If God should say, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be” (Luke 12:20)? Let us humble ourselves and entrust our daily life to our sovereign Lord and heavenly Father—not so we can keep our worldly possessions but walk by faith in His goodness and seek His kingdom and righteousness!