Verse of the Day Devotion: 1Kings 8:61
“Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.” – 1Kings 8:61
1 Kings 8 is an account of the ark of the covenant being placed into the temple which had just been completed. In the following verses we read,
“Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the leaders of the fathers’ households of the sons of Israel, to King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD from the city of David, which is Zion. All the men of Israel assembled themselves to King Solomon at the feast, in the month Ethanim, which is the seventh month.” 1 Kings 8:1-2.
After this, an enormous number of sacrifices were made to God, so many that they could not be adequately counted.
“And King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, who were assembled to him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and oxen they could not be counted or numbered.” 1 Kings 8:5.
After this, the priests alone brought these into the inner sanctuary of the tempe, also known as the Holy of Holies. And it is important to note that there was nothing in the Ark except the two stones which Moses placed at Horeb when they came out of Egypt.
Next, he offered a prayer to the Lord asking that any requests given earnestly and humbly by Israelites or strangers would be accepted by God. This is a prayer of dedication, which is found in 1 Kings 8:22-53. At the end of this prayer, Solomon asks for God’s blessing over the people of Israel plus an exhortation for them as well. This exhortation is the focus of our verse today, which is as relevant to us today as it was for the Israelites back then.
First, let us look at verses 57-60.
“May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His ordinances, which He commanded our fathers. And may these words of mine, with which I have made supplication before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that He may maintain the cause of His servant and the cause of His people Israel, as each day requires, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else.” 1 Kings 8:57-60.
The first part asks of God that He would be with them, as He was with their fathers. God promised to be with Israel, but Solomon knew it was important to ask God to fulfill His promise. He comes pleading the promises of God. And he made this plea so that not only the Israelites, but all the people of the earth may know and understand that the Lord their God is the true God, and that there is no other God but the true God of Israel. Solomon shows the missionary desire that was often neglected and desired in Israel. Blessing to Israel wasn’t meant to end with Israel; God wanted to bless the world through Israel.
Next, we come to our focus verse.
“Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day.” 1 Kings 8:61.
Solomon was asking that His people would walk in God’s statutes, always striving to keep His commandments. He urges them to let their hearts be fully committed to the Lord. And this should be our focus and desire as well. Our obedience should be universal such that we keep all of His commandments and not just those we choose to. With this, I say His desires should take infinite precedence over our own. All that we do, or think should follow the idea that He is supreme, and we are not. We should not be divided in our loyalties. We should be totally devoted to God in our ways and submissive to His commands. Jesus takes these two points in Solomon’s prayer and merges them into one concise statement.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.
As always with Jesus, His position on this could not be clearer. If we love God, our goal will be to keep His commandment and follow His ways. And if we do not keep His commandments, then we must ask ourselves, do we truly love Him?
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.