Useful Bible Studies > 1 Kings Commentary > chapter 8

Prayers about serious illnesses and the failure of harvests

1 Kings 8:37-40

Serious illness and other troubles can, of course, affect any person at any time. However, they become especially terrible when they affect many people across a country at the same time. Often in such situations, people become truly desperate.

The people in Israel depended very much on agriculture; many of them worked on small farms. They became particularly aware of the troubles that affected their crops. Insects, for example locusts, sometimes came in great numbers and destroyed the plants. At other times, the plants died before they could produce a harvest because of diseases, for example mildew. However, even when the plants produced a good harvest, the people were not always able to gather it. An enemy army might force them to remain in their city. These and many other troubles might cause the people not to have enough food. Such troubles were common in Israel’s history.

In such urgent situations, the people must not simply wait for their leaders to act. Often there is nothing that even a powerful leader can do to change the situation. So, instead, each person in the nation must take responsibility for the situation in prayer. Each of them must examine his own life and confess his evil deeds to God. Each of them must pray sincerely and desperately to God, who alone can save his people (Psalm 62:1-8).

Solomon prayed for God to hear those prayers and to forgive his people at such times. God would know the attitude of their hearts as they prayed. It would bring God honour to answer their prayers, because that would cause his people to respect him properly.

Next part: The temple, a house of prayer for people from all nations (1 Kings 8:41-43)


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