Israel Something Special
Synopsis 1Kings 8:64-9:5 4/11/2019
Solomon feasted in Jerusalem with the elders of Israel for eight days. Earlier, he had called the people together to dedicate the new temple. And so, the nation celebrated this extraordinary feast of dedication.
The people celebrated with good reason. Under Solomon’s reign, Israel’s kingdom expanded to its largest size ever. And the army of Israel was formidable. And now, the temple was complete.
It would attract visitors and worshippers from around the world. Most importantly, the temple and the nation would begin filling its evangelical role of introducing the God of Israel to all the world as the Creator of the Universe.
After all this, God once again spoke with Solomon. As He did, God confirmed His covenant with the House of David as long as the king’s sons remained faithful.
Israel Something Special
Israel’s claim has always been that the Israelites were a Chosen People. In other words, they were something special. As God’s chosen, they were imbued with a sense of purpose. The children of Israel understood themselves to be an essential part of God’s plan for the world.
And this sense felt good. The Israelites enjoyed living in the kingdom under King Solomon. They enjoyed the special presence of God. And they enjoyed the flourishing culture that came with abundant blessings.
Similarly, they enjoyed feeling a visceral part of the construction of the Temple and of King’s Solomon’s palace. They were a national pride. And they served as a symbol both God’s blessings and of Israel’s extraordinary achievements.
Jesus Something Special
I feel good when I go out into the coolness of the morning and the sun suddenly lands on my back. That’s a good feeling. It’s actually a great feeling. It’s pure joy.
It was like that when I met Jesus for the first time. Everything about Jesus is so exceedingly awesome that beginning our relationship was like the sun on my back. Indescribably satisfying. And in that moment, I wished the moment would never end.
Look, I’m going to be blunt. Sometimes people in the Christian tradition convey the misguided understanding that relationship with God is somehow a cheerless drudgery anchored only by the distant hope that someday I’ll make it to heaven. What’s more, if it’s not a drudgery, then it’s somehow suspicious.
Reject this. The apostle wrote: “Now is the day of God’s favor. Now is the day of salvation.” So, enjoy this day.
And, give yourself permission to soak in the son.
“But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1Peter 2:9