Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 8

An appeal by a guilty nation for God’s help

1 Kings 8:33-34

Solomon had just prayed for innocent people who would suffer because of the selfish actions of other people. Those innocent people would appeal to God at the temple, God’s house; Solomon prayed for God to hear them from heaven and to act on their behalf (8:31-32).

Next, Solomon prayed about a very different situation. He prayed now not for innocent people, but for guilty people: a whole nation of guilty people. Their crimes were against God himself, rather than against other people. They had offended against God’s law (Exodus 20:1-17), and they continued in these evil acts. So God allowed their enemies to become strong (compare 1 Kings chapter 11); and those enemies defeated them in battle. They led away many of the people as prisoners, to be their slaves in a foreign country.

God sometimes permits such troubles in his people’s lives (Hebrews 12:5-11). He does that because he wants his people to turn back to him. That was what the people in Solomon’s prayer would do. In their time of trouble, they stopped their evil deeds and they turned back to God (Isaiah 55:6-7). They remembered his holy temple, the house that he had established among them because of his covenant (special relationship) with them (Psalm 137:1-6).

Solomon asked God to hear their prayers from heaven. They did not deserve God’s help; but Solomon asked God, for the honour of God’s own name, to forgive their evil deeds. He asked God, in his great love, to permit the return of their prisoners to Israel, the country that God had given to them (Psalm 126:1-3).

Next part: Prayer when the land is dry because of people's evil deeds (1 Kings 8:35-36)


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