My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):
You talking to me?
Robert Deniro made that line famous in the movie Taxi Driver. As I read today’s verse I have to wonder if Solomon was wondering the same thing after this encounter with God.
Solomon has completed building not only the king’s house but the house of the Lord as well. Solomon had done good work. God’s eyes and heart would be at this temple forever. It seems that the Lord is pleased with this good and faithful servant King. As long as Solomon walked with a heart of integrity and followed God’s law, descendants of the King would rule over Israel forever. But, God says, if you or your descendants stray or start worshiping other gods, you will be cut off and made the laughingstock of the town.
It is good to receive affirmation that God is indeed still in the business of answering prayers. The Lord says I have heard thy prayer and thy supplications. Not only does God hear our prayers but is faithful to answer them and provide more than we ever could have imagined.
Now, we should note one thing here. A lot of times we get warnings from the Lord. And quite often when God speaks, we think, “Oh, it’s not necessary to talk to me about that, Lord, you know that’s one area where I just don’t have any problem.” But whenever God speaks to us about any area of our lives, we should listen carefully because God doesn’t waste words.
This is where I can hear Solomon saying, “I have just dedicated this temple in your name Lord, it’s been a long moving experience. We made a lot of sacrifices. Everybody is rejoicing and worshiping the Lord, and it has been a glorious time of worship and exultation.” And now the Lord comes in answer to Solomon’s prayers saying, “Solomon, if you will follow Me then I will establish your throne. But if you forsake me and you start to worship other gods…” and I’m sure at this point Solomon is saying, “Oh, Lord, You don’t need to tell me about that. You talking to me, Lord? I could never do that!”
Throughout Scripture, the Lord always seems to warn people about those areas in which they are going to be tested and tried further down the road. So when we pray, as Solomon did, we should expect answers but we should also pay attention if God speaks words of warning. If the Holy Spirit starts to talk to you about some particular area of your life, be careful and listen. The Bible says, “Take heed when you think you stand lest you fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Those very areas where we believe we are confident, and think, “I’ve got that wired, I don’t have to worry about this area,” this is the area where we are prone to trust in ourselves.
Paul said, “When I am strong, then I am weak” and “I will glory in my weaknesses, that the power of God might be revealed in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Where I am weak, I know I am weak and depend upon the Lord the most. But in those situations where I have great confidence, I tend to trust in my own devices, and that is the area where I often find myself tripped up.
So listen when God talks to you, no matter how unnecessary it may seem to you at the particular moment. The Lord has a purpose in every word.
Thought for the day: In what ways am I trusting in my own strength?
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.