Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 8

An appeal for God to forgive his people

1 Kings 8:48-51

The construction of the temple, God’s house in Jerusalem, did not of course stop people’s evil deeds. However, it gave Israel’s people, and people from other nations too, a reason to turn back to God.

The construction of the temple showed God’s desire to live among his people. It was evidence that God truly had chosen Israel to be his special people, and Jerusalem to be his holy city. It reminded Israel’s people of the relationship that God wanted to have with them, for the benefit of the whole world (Psalm 48:1-2).

When Israel’s people had to live in foreign countries because of their evil deeds, God wanted them to turn back to him. He still wanted to have that right relationship with them, even after their enemies had destroyed the temple.

However, it was not enough for them to confess their evil deeds. They needed truly to turn back to God, to love him in their hearts and minds and spirits (Deuteronomy 6:5). They must turn towards the place where God’s temple had stood. By that action, they would remind themselves that their relationship with God depended completely on him. When they did that, Solomon asked God to forgive them. God could change the attitudes even of those foreigners who took them away from their homes. Even in the most distant nations, Israel’s people could know God’s kindness again. That is how God would bring them back home (Deuteronomy 30:1-5).

That is what Daniel was doing in Daniel 6:10-11. In a foreign country, he turned towards Jerusalem to pray and to confess the evil deeds of his nation. God answered Daniel’s prayer. In Ezra 1:1-4, God caused King Cyrus to order that Israel’s people could return to Jerusalem.

Next part: It brings God honour when he answers prayer (1 Kings 8:52-53)


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