Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Solomon's God-Centered Love

When King Solomon finishes the construction of the temple of Yahweh, he addresses the assembly of Israel and prays a prayer of dedication over the temple. He opens and closes his address in the same way: with a blessing of Israel:
  • 1 Kings 8:14 - Then the king faced about and blessed all the assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing.
  • 1 Kings 8:54-55 - When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to Yahweh, he arose from before the altar of Yahweh, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice...
What's awesomely interesting is the content of His blessing of Israel:
  • 1 Kings 8:15 - He said, "Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel..."
  • 1 Kings 8:56 - ... saying, "Blessed be Yahweh, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised."
The text says Solomon blessed Israel. Solomon himself blesses Yahweh. Evidently, in the mind of the writer of Scripture (and therefore, in the mind of God), the way you bless God's people is to bless God Himself.

What this teaches us is that love is God-centered. The way to love my neighbor as myself (Mt 22:39) is not by making much of my neighbor. It is by making much of God, for the glory of God is everyone's greatest benefit. And so if I'm going to love my neighbor like Christ loved me, I need to make much of Him, and present Him in all His glory.

Solomon understood that.

The way to bring about the greatest blessing on God's people is to bless Him.

The way to love the people of God is to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

By this we know that we love the children of God,
when we love God

and observe His commandments.

- 1 John 5:2 -

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