1 Kings 8:23 MEANING

1 Kings 8:23
(23-53) The prayer of Solomon, uttered (see 1 Kings 8:54) on his knees with hands uplifted to heaven, long and detailed as it is, is yet of extreme simplicity of idea. It begins (a), in 1 Kings 8:23-25, with a thankful acknowledgment of the fulfilment of one part of the great promise to David, and a prayer for the like fulfilment of the other; next (b), in 1 Kings 8:26-30, acknowledging that God's presence can be limited to no Temple, it yet Asks that His peculiar blessing may rest on prayer uttered toward the place which He has hallowed; and then (c), in 1 Kings 8:31-53, applies that petition to the various contingencies, of oath taken in His name, of rain withheld, of disaster in battle, of famine and pestilence, of captivity in a foreign land, and extends it not only to Israel, but to the stranger who shall acknowledge and invoke the Lord Jehovah. Its constantly recurring burden is, "Hear Thou from heaven thy dwelling-place, and when Thou hearest, Lord, forgive." It is plain that before Solomon's mind there are continually present in some form the blessing and the curse pronounced in the Law (see Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 28); and it is most true to human nature, and especially characteristic of the thoughtfulness of his philosophic temper, that over the bright hour of exultation there seems to hover a constant foreboding of evils and trials to come.

(23) There is no God like Thee.--These words, often used in the Psalms (Psalm 71:19; Psalm 86:8; Psalm 89:6), and especially found in the thanksgiving of David after the great promise (2 Samuel 7:22), are evidently suggested by more ancient utterances of devotion; as for example, in the first recorded Psalm at the Red Sea (Exodus 15:11). In them we trace the spiritual process by which the Israelites were trained from the polytheism of their forefathers to the knowledge of the One only God. He is known to them, first, in the close personal relation of "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," to whom "none is like" of all gods whom others worshipped; but next, in His universal relation to the universe as the "God Almighty, and the Judge of the whole earth" (Genesis 17:2; Genesis 18:25); lastly, as Jehovah, "God," indeed, "of Israel," but, by the very meaning of the name, the One Self-existent Being, source of all other life. Thus, in the thanksgiving of David to the words, "none is like Thee," is added at once the higher belief, "there is no God beside Thee." In this prayer of Solomon there follows at once the striking confession that the "heaven of heavens cannot contain" His Infinity.

Who keepest covenant and mercy.--This phrase, again, familiar in prayer (see Deuteronomy 7:9; Nehemiah 1:5; Daniel 9:4), is clearly traceable to the conclusion of the Second Commandment (Exodus 20:6), and the special revelation of God to Moses in the Mount (Exodus 34:6-7). It is notable, not merely because it describes God as manifesting Himself "most chiefly by showing mercy and pity," but also because it declares this manifestation of mercy to be pledged to man as a chief part of His covenant. So in the New Testament it is said that, to those who claim His covenant in Christ, "He is faithful and just to forgive sins."

Verse 23. - And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee [Similar words are found in Exodus 15:11; Psalm 86:8, etc. They do not at all imply the existence of other gods, but are explained by other passages (e.g., ver. 60; Deuteronomy 4:39, "the Lord He is God and none else;" 2 Samuel 7:22; 2 Samuel 22:32) as meaning that the God of Israel stands alone, and alone is God. It would be strange, indeed, if the people whose great peculium was the unity of the Godhead (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 42:8) recognized other deities. Observe: Solomon begins his prayer with an act of praise; with a recognition at once grateful and graceful of God's past mercies (cf. Psalm 65:1, 2; Philippians 4:6). Exandit Dominus invocantem, quem laudantem vidit" (Augustine) ], in heaven above, or on earth beneath [Joshua 2:11], who keepest covenant and mercy [same words in Deuteronomy 7:9] with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart. [cf. ch. 2:4.]

8:22-53 In this excellent prayer, Solomon does as we should do in every prayer; he gives glory to God. Fresh experiences of the truth of God's promises call for larger praises. He sues for grace and favour from God. The experiences we have of God's performing his promises, should encourage us to depend upon them, and to plead them with him; and those who expect further mercies, must be thankful for former mercies. God's promises must be the guide of our desires, and the ground of our hopes and expectations in prayer. The sacrifices, the incense, and the whole service of the temple, were all typical of the Redeemer's offices, oblation, and intercession. The temple, therefore, was continually to be remembered. Under one word, forgive, Solomon expressed all that he could ask in behalf of his people. For, as all misery springs from sin, forgiveness of sin prepares the way for the removal of every evil, and the receiving of every good. Without it, no deliverance can prove a blessing. In addition to the teaching of the word of God, Solomon entreated the Lord himself to teach the people to profit by all, even by their chastisements. They shall know every man the plague of his own heart, what it is that pains him; and shall spread their hands in prayer toward this house; whether the trouble be of body or mind, they shall represent it before God. Inward burdens seem especially meant. Sin is the plague of our own hearts; our in-dwelling corruptions are our spiritual diseases: every true Israelite endeavours to know these, that he may mortify them, and watch against the risings of them. These drive him to his knees; lamenting these, he spreads forth his hands in prayer. After many particulars, Solomon concludes with the general request, that God would hearken to his praying people. No place, now, under the gospel, can add to the prayers made in or towards it. The substance is Christ; whatever we ask in his name, it shall be given us. In this manner the Israel of God is established and sanctified, the backslider is recovered and healed. In this manner the stranger is brought nigh, the mourner is comforted, the name of God is glorified. Sin is the cause of all our troubles; repentance and forgiveness lead to all human happiness.And he said, Lord God of Israel,.... Their covenant God and Father, whereby he was distinguished from all the gods of the Gentiles:

there is no god like thee; in heaven above or on earth beneath; none among the angels in heaven, nor among kings and civil magistrates on earth, who both are sometimes called "Elohim" gods; but only in a figurative sense, and not to be compared with the one only true God, for the perfection of his nature, or the works of his hands:

who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart; performs his promises, by which he both declares his mercy or goodness and his faithfulness to such who walk before him, in his ways, and according to his word, in the sincerity and uprightness of their hearts.

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