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mother with child May 22, 23 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 1Kings 8; 2Chronicles 5:1- 7:10; Psalm 132; 1Kings 9:1-9; 2Chronicles 7:11-22 (note: since this is a two Bible day study it is suggested that the Bible reading be completed on May 22 and the Bible study on May 23)

Dedication and Responsibility

People dedicate their houses of worship, businesses or other organizations, vehicles, their lives, and even the lives of their children to the LORD. This is a praise worthy thing which we admire. Because we dedicate them to the LORD, he has a responsibility to bless us, doesn't he? Do we have any personal or corporate responsibilities after the dedication? Let us see what we can learn from King Solomon and the dedication of the temple he has built.

Dedication

When the building of the Solomon's temple is complete, the king places all the furnishings in their proper place. Then he has the Ark of the Covenant (a small golden chest with two golden angels on top), the Tent of Meeting and all the articles within that tent brought to Mt. Moriah, the site of the temple. Afterwards. he has the ark installed in the Most Holy Place. Then, appointed worship leaders (Levites) sing songs of praise as they celebrate the symbol of God's presence. As they finish singing, the glory of the LORD fills the temple so the Israelites cannot stand in his presence.

After installing the Ark, Solomon offers a prayer of dedication. What does he say? Does he praise the designers and planners? No; the designer was God. Does he praise the supervisors and laborers? Perhaps privately, but in public Solomon praises the Almighty because he is faithful and has helped the young king build the temple. He kept his promise to David that his son would build a temple for the LORD.

Solomon then makes some requests of God. First, he wants the LORD to give him a lasting kingdom as he promised David. Second, although God is transcendent (above and beyond our comprehension, even above the universe), Solomon requests the LORD to hear from heaven, his dwelling place, and forgive whenever anyone in Israel turns away from his sins, praying toward the temple. The king knows he and all his people are sinners, and they need forgiveness. Solomon even desires foreigners in the land to be heard when they seek the LORD by praying toward his holy place.

Responsibility

What is the response of the LORD to the dedication prayer of Solomon? God declares he will bless the nation of Israel for obedience, but if they forsake him, he will allow the temple to be destroyed (1Kings 9:1-9). At first they obey and are blessed, but in future lessons we will see that God's judgment will come upon them for disobedience. Today the Dome of the Rock, a Muslim mosque, resides on Mt. Moriah. It is a testimony, not only of the Muslim faith, but of Israel's disobedience.

Do worshippers of the true God, i.e., Christians, have a temple today? Yes, our bodies are temples where the Spirit of God dwells. We are to glorify him in our bodies and our spirits, which belong to him (1Corinthians 6:19-20). We are not to grieve the Holy Spirit by our attitudes, what we say, or by what we do (Ephesians 4:30). God's desire for all men is that they come to repentance (2Peter 3:9). He wants his Spirit to also dwell in them. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13, NIV).

As Israel has the responsibility of maintaining the temple and their spiritual lives, we also have a responsibility to maintain the things we dedicate to the LORD. If we dedicate a building to God, we are responsible for its care. If we dedicate a vehicle for his work, we need to maintain it. If we dedicate ourselves to the LORD, we need to keep ourselves pure before him, and be faithful in Bible study, prayer, and service. If we dedicate our children to the LORD, then we are responsible to teach them the Bible and the ways of God in our daily lives. We are also responsible to discipline them with love, to take them with us to church and Sunday School (or other children's church ministries), and to lead them in discipleship and outreach.

Lessons to Live By

•  The dedication of things or people to the LORD is good and admirable, but it must not stop there. Most blessings from God are conditional upon our obedience. If we have a personal relationship with God (more...), are we obedient?

•  We have personal responsibility to maintain the things and our relationships that we dedicate to the LORD. Our obedience and careful attention to these matters leads to blessing both now and in the future.

Focus Verse

1Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

praying hands Write a private prayer response to today’s Bible study:

Please send your comments to mtbiblestudies@gmail.com

A Look Ahead: If God has given us Wealth and Wisdom, how should we use it? Find out in our Next Lesson from the life of King Solomon.

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