Wednesday: Center of Divine and Communal Activity
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Read 1 Kings 8:31–53. What more does this text teach us about the function of the sanctuary?

Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com

Image © Erik Stenbakken from GoodSalt.com

At the dedication ceremony of the newly built temple, King Solomon offered seven cases of specific prayers that could be offered at the temple. The seven functions exemplify the extensive role of the temple in the lives of the Israelites. The temple was a place for seeking forgiveness (vs. 30); for oath swearing (vss. 31, 32); for supplication when defeated (vss. 33, 34); for petition when faced with drought (vss. 35, 36) or other disasters (vss. 37-40). It was also a place for the alien to pray (vss. 41-43), as well as a place to petition for victory (vss. 44, 45).

That the temple was intended to be a “ ‘house of prayer for all the peoples’ ” (Isa. 56:7, NASB) becomes evident from the fact that Solomon envisioned the individual Israelite, the foreigner, and the entire people as petitioners.

The sanctuary was the ideological center of basically all activity in Israel. Religion was not part of the believer’s life, not even a major one; it was life. What does this tell us about the role that our faith should play in our own lives, as well?

When the people wanted to receive advice or judgment, or if they repented of their sins, they went to the sanctuary. The sanctuary was also the hub of life during the desert years of Israel. When God desired to communicate to His people, He did so from the sanctuary (Exod. 25:22). Therefore it is appropriately called the “tent of meeting” (for example, Lev. 1:1, NASB).

Think about your prayer life. How deep, how rich, how faith-affirming and life changing is it? Perhaps the first question you need to ask yourself is: how much time do I spend in prayer?

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Wednesday: Center of Divine and Communal Activity — 17 Comments