July 23, 2023
“May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors. May He not abandon us or leave us so that He causes us to be devoted to Him, to walk in all His ways...”
Never miss an episode when you
subscribe & turn on notifications for YouTube!
“May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors. May He not abandon us or leave us so that He causes us to be devoted to Him, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commands, statutes, and ordinances, which He commanded our ancestors.” 1 Kings 8: 57-58 (HCSB)
British politician John Bright once wrote that when “sallying-forth” in the morning, he did not have to choose between wearing trousers or a shirt. “Decency,” he continued, “has joined trousers and shirts.”
Speaking of the sanctity of the marriage union, Jesus said, “What therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6) But this principle of “joining together” also applies to the study and expression of theology, especially the teaching about God’s character and His ways. Christians tend to stress one aspect of God’s character at the expense of another. Doing so, they risk “sallying-forth” half-clothed. In refusing to accept the whole counsel of God, we create our own doctrinal graven images.
Solomon’s prayer is theologically instructive because it shows us how we must hold the truths about God in a holy tension. As “trousers and pants” cannot be separated and remain decent attire for a gentleman rider, so we must keep together what God has revealed about Himself, Biblically. Here are some of God’s (seemingly contradicting) complimenting attributes revealed in Solomon’s prayer.
Clarity and Mystery: God shrouds Himself in a “thick cloud” yet reveals Himself through His Word. He satisfies our need for both clarity/certainty, yet His infinite ways cannot be fully comprehended by His creatures, so He remains mysterious to us. (v.v. 1-13)
Fidelity and Expectancy: Because God has faithfully held us in the past, we do not fear for the future, even though it is mostly unrevealed to us. (v.v. 14-26)
Immensity and Intimacy: Solomon acknowledges God is in Heaven (which cannot contain Him) and yet exhorts Israel to pray towards the Temple. God is both uncontainable AND accessible. (v.v. 27-30)
Severity and Mercy: God’s people are always getting into sin situations wherein we feel God’s rebuke, yet there is a way to restoration and forgiveness. (v.v. 31-53)
Particularity and Universality: God set Israel apart from the nations yet does not discriminate against anyone (Jew or Gentile) who seeks to worship Him. (v.v. 41-43)
Eschatology and Practicality: (Eschatology is a big word, meaning the study of “end times.”) The Lord is Lord over the last day and every day. (v.v. 56-60)
Of course, for us, the greatest Divine “complementary combination” is when God joined His Son, Jesus, with His “Bride,” the Church.