In his dedicatory address, Solomon now moves on to addressing God in prayer. It takes place on a platform worthy of note because it does not appear in 1 Kings 8, the writers’ source material. This could be because Kings and Chronicles have different theological purposes: Kings recounts history with warts, explaining why Israel’s relationship with God was at times so disastrous; whilst Chronicles recounts the overall priestly purpose of their history. Only ‘good’ kings get a mention and this golden age of kingship (God’s vice-regent, Solomon kneels before God; kings didn’t kneel) is now culminating in Solomon dedicating the temple.
The small detail of the altar v.12 is important. The whole temple is referred to as the altar, which speaks of its sacrificial purpose. The temple is a place for God to dwell, albeit Solomon acknowledges the impossibility of housing a being whose true dwelling place is outside time and space. Approval, when it comes, is all the sweeter for this fact: no temple can contain the living God! But the approval is linked to the need of man for this sacrificial system for the forgiveness of sins. Without it no relationship with God is possible at all!
The prayer develops into examples of forgiveness Solomon entreats God might bestow. Individual sins v.22, corporate sins (God’s relationship with his people at this time were largely as a nation; hence the performance of the king/representative was so critical) v.24 and gentile sins v.32. The reach of the temple is universal.
The possibility of forgiveness for fallen man is equally balanced with the concept of repentance. The promise of God of the forgiveness of sins and restoration of fellowship with him is dependent on the condition of ‘keeping to his ways’. The continuing sorry story of Israel after this golden age is one of failure; culminating in the nation committing the unpardonable sin of rejecting the messiah ship/kinship of Jesus in the first century.
Almost every element of the dedication points to this coming future king, who like Solomon, is God’s human vice-regent, but because he was begotten and not made, created by God, not born of a human father, is also very God of very God, as we recite from the Apostle’s Creed. Every one of these details also points forward to the gospel of Christ: the once and all sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sins for anyone, Jew or gentile, should they repent of their sins.
Have you accepted Jesus as both the prophesied Jewish messiah (king) and your king and saviour? Repent (forsake wrongdoing) and trust Jesus did everything else necessary for your salvation from the coming wrath: Revelation 6.