May 4 | Daily Devotion

May 4 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a complete reading of the passage

Lectio Semi-continua: a shorter reading of the passage

Lectio Divina

King Solomon calls for the leaders of the land, along with all the people, to assemble at the newly constructed temple for a two-week festival. Standing before the people at the dedication ceremony, the king raises his hands to the Lord. He praises God for bringing Israel out of Egypt into the land of promise. He praises God for making his father king and for passing the honor to him. He praises God for the privilege of building this beautiful place of worship. And then he prays. He prays that God will be present in this place and that He will always hear their prayers. It is King Solomon’s desire that the beautiful house of worship be a house of prayer (Jesus uses this same expression in the gospels (Matt. 21:13, cf.)).

Solomon recognized that this temple cannot contain God. I have heard people wrongly assert that Israel believed God’s presence was confined to the place of worship, but they did not. Notice the king’s words, “The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built” (1 Kings 8:27). Solomon had his theology straight. He knew that God was present everywhere, a characteristic theologians refer to as omnipresence. However, the king called for God to be present in a special way among His people at the place of worship. Theologians label this God’s special presence or manifest presence. (A classic New Testament example, in Matthew 18:19-20, is the special presence of Christ promised when the church gathers.)

Solomon asks God to open His ears to the people when they come to Him in prayer. Whatever their problems, whatever their troubles, whatever their failures, whatever their situation. Solomon even wants the plea of the pagan (foreigners, those outside the community) heard when he enters the place of worship, this house of prayer. I love this part of Solomon’s prayer: “May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night” (1 Kings 8:29) What a comfort to know that the eyes of God are ever-open. He sees our struggles, our pain, our failures, our needs, and He cares! God wants to hear your voice lifted in prayer, and He wants to be your Source, your Comfort, and your Guide. He wants to be with you in a special way!

Lectio Divina  is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the Senior Pastor of  Calvary Church  in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of  A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.