People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why the Lord brought all this disaster on them.’ (1 Kings 9:9 NIV)
It is good to know that prayers, as conversation with God, can get a response from God. He hears and answers prayer. After the magnificent prayer Solomon made on behalf of the people, God appeared to Solomon as He had done earlier to engage with Solomon’s request.
The words God offers to Solomon are heavy in reminding the King of the same story God has played out with the people since their days of slavery in Egypt. That story is about His faithfulness and compassion in rescuing His people and saving them for His purpose dependent on their covenant relationship with Him. A covenant based on mutual faithfulness. A covenant that God had stuck by in good times and bad.
The people, however, were prone to wander. God knew that and for their sake and Solomon’s sake, He urged covenant commitment. He reminded Solomon of his father’s success being down to such covenant commitment. He informed Solomon that further success would endure if there was covenant commitment. Likewise God pointed out the consequences of failing to keep that exclusive relationship as the top priority. Where the fortunes of the people reflected the power of the god in other cultures, the true and living God would make it abundantly clear that the failings of His people should they follow after other gods would not be a reflection of His success or failure. Their defeats and disasters due to disobedience would be a reflection of the justice of the covenant keeping God.
Reading this sober warning at this juncture in the life of the nation of Israel is a crucial reminder of what real success in life is. For a people defined by God’s rescuing and establishing power, success is remaining faithful to that relationship. Remembering who we are and whose we are can save considerable heartache.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden