After Solomon dedicated the temple of God he spoke to the congregation of people who had gathered for one of the most special occasions in Jewish history. The temple, 7 years in the making, primarily covered in gold and made of the finest materials was given. It was God’s move in day in the place where He would accept the atonement for sin on the judgment seat of the sacrifices made for people to cover their sins in the Old Testament.
Solomon said something found in I Kings 8:23 that spoke to me about serving the Lord, “And he said, Lord God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their hearts.”
It is true, there is no God like God because there is no other God (big G)!
“Who keepest covenant…” How important it is that God keeps His promises because without that character trait then He would be untrustworthy and fault could be found Him, kind of like the faults that are found in us… No imperfection or forgetting with Him, He is going to do what He has promised in His Word that He will do. You should be able to breathe a sigh of relief that you do not have to speculate whether He will come through or not regarding His Word, He will, and that’s settled.
“…covenant and mercy…” Not just covenant, but mercy is included! Mercy is God not giving us what we deserve and the longer that I parent the more I realize how important mercy is. He says in Lamentations 3 that His mercies are new every morning. I’ve tried to start implementing that verse in my parenting, you can have a bad day and deal with the kids all day on character issues or behavioral problems, but start fresh with new mercies every day. One of the best pieces of advice my mother-in-law gave to me was that we need to forgive our children… it was like a light bulb went off above my head because I was just insistent on nipping a specific behavior in the bud that belonged to my oldest son. I need mercy because I am just as intolerable sometimes, God’s children are always in need of getting a little less of what they deserve because boy do we deserve plenty! If we never received any more mercy than what God gave us when we trusted Christ as our Saviour and He saved us from the punishment of hell for our sins, then we should be forever grateful and use that to motivate us to serve Him more faithfully each day.
Then, the passage states, “with thy servants.” It’s pretty obvious that not everyone is a servant of Christ. Not everyone allows their salvation experience to place a servant’s attitude within their heart. We can see people in church services every week that never lift a finger to even pick up a small piece of trash off the floor or they look at you with a deer in the headlights look when you ask them to help. “Who, me?” Likewise, those called to God’s work can often be in the position of service but not serve. God convicted me recently that I had not been willing to do any and all work for Him. He pointed out specific things that I had said aloud that I did NOT want to do or did not want to do anymore. There’s a difference between delegating certain responsibilities to others so that you can focus on the tasks that only you can do and drawing a line in the sand and being unwilling to do specific jobs that may need to be done. When we draw the line in the sand and create a list of things we will not do for the Lord, perhaps we’ve taken His place on the throne of our hearts and pride has replace the humility we once knew when we said, “wherever you lead I’ll go…”
Which leads to the next point, (pun intended) the last part of the verse that says, “…thy servants that walk before thee with all thy heart:” Can we walk before God with less than “ALL” of our hearts? Perhaps we can, Solomon eventually left God with all of his heart and let his hundreds of wives steal his heart from God. It’s amazing that God works with us in the moment of our heart’s tenderness or hardness to Him because even though God knew Solomon would raise altars to other gods because of his wives, God still hears the temple dedication and appears to him for the second time later in the next chapters. God knows we can walk before Him with less than all of our heart, we’re reminded of those things in Matthew 22:37 when Christ said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Have you stopped giving Him your all when you meet Him each day in prayer time and devotions? He knows, He sees.
We have a duty to keep up the fire of servitude within our hearts, in Paul’s letter to Timothy he urges him to stir up the gift of God within himself. He told Timothy to ask God for a new gift from the Lord, he tells him to stir up what’s already there. If stripped of our ministry title(s) and position in the church where do we stand before God? You know, like who you really are when you’re standing alone in your closet… Have we been a willing servant or the servant only willing to do certain tasks for Him? Have we been walking before Him with all our hearts? Surely if God is pointing something out to you that you will forsake those things that keep you from walking with your whole heart toward God and lift up your arms to our wonderful covenant and merciful God and make things right with Him. John said it (3 John 1:4), but I believe that God also does, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”
Walk before Him with all your heart my friends: He keeps His promises, He’s merciful, and there’s no god like God in this entire universe! We serve a wonderful God! Stir up the gift that is within thee and light a fire among those you work with so God’s work will be revived and you can make an eternal difference.