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[ DATE : 2015-04-20 ]
   Benediction and Sacrifices   1 Kings 8:54-66
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When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the LORD, he rose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven.
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He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying:
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"Praise be to the LORD, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.
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May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us.
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May he turn our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep the commands, decrees and regulations he gave our fathers.
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And may these words of mine, which I have prayed before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, that he may uphold the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel according to each day's need,
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so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.
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But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time."
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Then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the LORD.
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Solomon offered a sacrifice of fellowship offerings to the LORD: twenty-two thousand cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the Israelites dedicated the temple of the LORD.
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On that same day the king consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the LORD, and there he offered burnt offerings, grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar before the LORD was too small to hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings.
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So Solomon observed the festival at that time, and all Israel with him--a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. They celebrated it before the LORD our God for seven days and seven days more, fourteen days in all.
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On the following day he sent the people away. They blessed the king and then went home, joyful and glad in heart for all the good things the LORD had done for his servant David and his people Israel.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. NIV ®. COPYRIGHT ⓒ 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May God Uphold Us (8:54–61)
Solomon’s benediction acknowledges God’s complete sovereignty. God has never broken a single promise that He has made. The LORD is not obligated to listen to any of Solomon’s prayers, but because of His promises, He will. He is not bound by Solomon or the people, but He willingly commits to keeping the promises He has made for His name’s sake. Moreover, Solomon prays that God would incline His people’s hearts towards Him and that He would maintain the cause of His servant. In other words, “Help us to love You and obey Your precepts!” This is not possible with our own strength and might. God must uphold us and help us to love and remain dedicated to Him. May He sustain us daily for Himself and His glory.

We know what we should and should not do, and yet it is still so hard to stay committed and obedient to God. Pray that He would enable you to love and obey Him more.

Sacrifices (8:62–66)
This final scene from chapter 8 is a bloody one. The sacrifice of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep means that a lot of blood is spilled. But this is not mindless slaughter. It is a reminder of the preciousness of life and blood, as well as of how holy God is. No amount of animal sacrifice can wash away all our sin, but He accepts this as a temporary solution. In this sense, it is a celebration of momentary relief from sin and a way into God’s presence. Years later, Christ would make this relief permanent. The precious blood He shed gives us unfettered access to the holy God. This is the final sacrifice that inspires unceasing celebration.

Our holy God demands a precious sacrifice. Christ was sacrificed so that no more blood would need to be shed. Rejoice, for Christ has made a way for all to enter into God’s presence!
Father, thank you for the precious blood of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice that reconciles mankind to the holy God. You have made us acceptable in Your sight, and so we come to You in confidence. Thank you for hearing our prayers; thank you for Your Son. In His name. Amen.