When our boys were little, my wife and I taught them a number of the questions and answers found in A Catechism for Boys and Girls. The first three questions are some of the most well known theological Q&A’s in all of church history. However, it was the third question that I found myself returning to over and over again, making sure our sons understood it. Question 3 asks: “Why did God make you and all things?” The answer is profoundly simple: “For His own glory.” These four all-important words teach us that God does everything for His own glory. I can imagine Solomon as a boy, growing up, learning theological truths from his own father, David. As king himself, Solomon remembered and spoke those truths at the dedication of the temple in his prayer and benediction.
After sacrificing a seemingly endless number of animals (1 Kings 8:5), Solomon blessed the Lord for His covenantal faithfulness (vv.12–21). Standing there at the altar, he cried out for God to have mercy on His people when they sinned (vv.22–53), and then went on to bless them (vv.54–61). Solomon sought the Lord’s favor for His people, praying that God would give them spiritual rest, be near them, and remain with them. Yes, the king was praying on behalf of God’s people, but in doing so, he was also reminding them of their need for Him in all these things, “as each day requires” (v.59).
This reminder is for us too; we have a daily need for God to provide for our spiritual needs, all of which are fulfilled in Christ Jesus. God gives spiritual rest for those who believe in His Son. Those of us who are in Christ are now blessed with the constant presence of His Spirit and a promise that He will never abandon us (Hebrews 13:5). In a very real sense, God answered what Solomon prayed for at the dedication of the temple when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to the cross. The altar Solomon stood before, pleading with God to forgive the sins of His people, pointed to the cross where Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins.
Solomon closes his prayer by asking God to remember His people, to “uphold [their] cause, as each day requires,” and ultimately, for “all the people of the earth [to] know that the LORD is God. There is no other!” (vv.59–60). The king then charges Israel to “be wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD our God to walk in his statutes and to keep his commands” as if they were brand new, each and every day (v.60).
The God of heaven and earth not only made all things for His own glory, but He does all things with the end goal of bringing Himself glory. God is pleased to hear and answer prayers for the forgiveness of sin, spiritual rest, and the longing for His divine presence, so that the nations might come to know Him as the true and living God—the only God.
Written by Nick Batzig