I Love You Lord, My Strength

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2 CHRONICLES 6:12-8:10 | ROMANS 7:14-8:8 | PSALM 18:1-15 | PROVERBS 19:24-25

The temple has been built, and Solomon has done well in erecting it in the exact manner as instructed by his father, David.  But beyond the success of raising up this grand temple, Solomon does even better in the prayer that he offers up. 

We saw how Solomon had already established the litany of “He is good; his love endures forever” in appointing singers to offer up this simple song of praise in the Temple at all times. 

But beyond this, Solomon himself goes into the Temple to offer up a prayer on behalf of his people. 

He says this in all humility: 18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, LORD my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

Solomon’s prayer is a long one, and he goes on to make intercession on behalf of his people.  It is as if he is predicting the very nature of his people’s actions into the future, and the consequences that will befall them when he says to the Lord6 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.

In this way, Solomon dedicates the Temple to the Lord.

Turning now to our reading in the book of Romans, we find that Paul is voicing a human dilemma that transcends time and place. 

He is speaking of the nature of our humanness in relation to the Law when he says14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

But in case you despair about the futility of it all, Paul follows that up with this reassurance, 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

And in line with this, Paul is exhorting us to live a life governed not of the flesh but of the spirit when he says this: 5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Turning now to our psalm for the day, we find David, the poet-king, using the magnificent imagery of nature to personify the majesty of the Lord God Almighty.  But the relationship that David has with his God is not an impersonal one to be described only in these majestic terms; it is, in fact, a most personal one that allows the psalmist to call the Lord by so many names.  David says:

1 I love you, LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Finally, a verse from the book of Proverbs that offers some no-nonsense advice—that may or may not be viable in this day and age, at least not the part about flogging anyone!  Solomon, the writer, says this:

25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;
rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.

May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word.

2 thoughts on “I Love You Lord, My Strength

  1. Solomon’s prayer in the new temple surprises me somewhat in that he recognizes that God transcends even this magnificent building he has constructed. Rather than making the claim that God dwells there, he asks God to look upon it from His dwelling. And his recognition of human sin and God’s mercy has a hint of Paul in it, albeit still a long way to go. TFS!

  2. Excellent observations, thank you for sharing! I am also greatly impressed with the style and tone of Solomon’s prayer. The humility is inspiring. There are also prophetic shades to his prayer with respect to the long captivity that his people will be in, and the many times that they will turn away from their God, Yahweh. Solomon is asking for forgiveness in advance for all that is to come.

    On another note, Paul’s thoughts on the human nature vs. the law are equally humble in that not unlike Solomon, he is also clear and direct about the failings of the human condition. Verse 3 captures this well: 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    Is that not a liberating fact? To the believer, it is!

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