Today’s Reading: 1 Kings 8
Today’s Reflection: 1 Kings 8:41-43
41) “Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for your name’s sake 42) (for they shall hear of your great name and your mighty hand, and of your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house, 43) hear in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.
When Solomon was dedicating the temple of the Lord, he prayed that not only would Israel’s prayers be heard, but that the prayers of foreigners and strangers would be heard so that they too might believe in the one true God.
Israel, like many religious and spiritual traditions over the centuries, has often been self-centred, believing the promises and blessings of God were meant for them and them alone. But as we’ve read through the Bible so far we have already encountered many figures outside of Israel who God reached out to: the Egyptian king who Abraham lied to, the would-be prophet Balaam, and the Moabite widow Ruth. And we’ll encounter many, many more.
This tells us where God’s heart is and always has been: not with just one special nation or one particular church, but with all of humanity. He desires that all people would turn to Him and be saved. Those of us who believe in Him aren’t more loved, or more special than anyone else. But by virtue of what we know and claim to believe, we have a special role to live up to. It is our responsibility to share the truth with those who don’t already know God. Most importantly, like Solomon we have the task of praying that all who hear of God and turn to Him would have their prayers heard so they too would believe and be saved.
Isaiah 45:22 – Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.