Scripture Reading: 1 Kings 8: (1, 6, 10-11), 22-30, 41-43
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven. 23 He said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand. 25 Therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant my father David that which you promised him, saying, ‘There shall never fail you a successor before me to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children look to their way, to walk before me as you have walked before me.’ 26 Therefore, O God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you promised to your servant my father David.—1 Kings 8:22-26
I think the Israelites that Solomon stood before at the dedication of the temple would have been shocked, if they time-traveled to today and witnessed all the bluster about displaying the Ten Commandments anywhere. Throughout the wandering years when they worshiped in the tabernacle, the Ten Commandment tablets were carefully stored in the Ark of the Covenant behind a curtain. It was called the Holy of Holies for a people who were monotheist and were in constant discord with peoples who worshiped idols. Now they had a temple, a fixed placed to worship, with a special place reserved for the tablets and special rules on even who could enter the place. Probably the most serious complaint about Solomon’s reign was that he married foreign women who worshiped other gods.
While the love of God for God’s people has always been described as unconditional; the history of God speaks of a conditional relationship of walking before God as David had walked before God. As with David, God allows us to suffer the consequences of our own actions. Indeed, God still forgives, still actively engages with us when we are willing to seek God’s guidance and grace to learn the better way.
One of those gifts of guidance and grace are the Ten Commandments that God calls us to live. They show us the way. Our living them fully is the best way to show our commitment and respect for God. We teach others about them with our lives.
Prayer: Lord help me each day to walk in your way. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of American. Used by permission. All rights reserved.