What in your life that you did if it were put on massive screen for the world to see what cause you shame? What is the point of something you’ve done that you’ve felt guilt about?
The truth is all of us have something. Many things. But the greater reality is that like Solomon says here, “there is no one who does not sin” (1 Ki 8:46). We can’t get through a single day without a sinful thought or action.
Now Solomon was the wisest man of all of history, given that wisdom by God. And in his formal prayer at the dedication of the Temple to the Lord, he recognized something extraordinary.
He doesn’t pray a prayer of great blessing over the people. At least not one that comes with financial blessings, blessings of victory over enemies, blessings of protection, blessings of long-life, etc… Even though these are the most common things we pray for.
But Solomon saw the greater need of humanity. He really saw it.
Instead of asking God’s blessing of prosperity, health, protection, etc… he prayed this:
“May you hear in Your dwelling place in heaven, May you hear and forgive” (1 Ki 8:30)
“may you hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel” (1 Ki 8:34)
“may you hear in heaven and forgive the sins of Your servants and Your people Israel” (1 Ki 8:34)
“may you hear in heaven, Your dwelling place, and You forgive” (1 Ki 8:39)
“May you forgive your people who sinned against you” (1 Ki 8:50)
This prayer at the dedication was simply this: ‘You have fulfilled all your promises to us. Thank you and we worship you. You are faithful in all your ways. And when we turn against and rebel against you, when we repent, may you hear and forgive.’
It is man’s greatest need.
In fact, it is the reason why Jesus came. Man has a corrupt heart and has violated God. We have violated each other. And we have violated ourselves.
We can spend all day (as our culture is trying to do) in order to figure out who to blame. But that does nothing to remedy the situation. What we need is forgiveness.
We obtain that forgiveness from God through Jesus when we clothe ourselves with Him. We can give others forgiveness because we ourselves have been forgiven in Christ. And we can even in a sense find forgiveness for ourselves through Christ.
In the greatest moment of the dedication of the Temple of God, where all other peoples of the earth are praying for blessings, provision and protection, Solomon asks that God give them what they really need. That when the people look towards the temple and remember the Lord and turn from their sins, that he would grant them forgiveness.
This is the greatest gift of God in Christ.