“then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause,” (8:45).
While there are definitely chapters in the Scriptures where the search to see Him can be a rigorous challenge, not so in 1 Kings 8. Today, He is clearly revealed in His All-Consuming Glory, His Fulfilled Word and His Incomparability.
The congregation is assembled for this long-awaited, almost too much to believe event: the temple is completed. And God’s order is established for His people to have atonement for sin and fellowship with Holy God.
In the hearing of all the people, in humility on his knees with his hands raised to heaven, Solomon boldly petitions his numerous supplications on behalf of God’s people to Holy, Faithful, Incomparable God. And while Solomon is interceding, repeatedly asking God to hear and forgive, to grant His deliverance and mercy, four times he asks God to “maintain their cause.” And we know, when God’s Word is repeated… we would do well to sit up and take notice.
- “then hear in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause,” (8:45).
- “then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause,” (8:49 emphasis added).
- “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,” (8:59 emphasis added).
But what I wondered, what exactly did Solomon mean? To what was he referring when he brought this “cause,” so in need of maintenance, to God’s attention four times? Our English definition of cause denotes a “principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which a person or group is dedicated.” Did the Hebrew language express the same idea?
From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance we learn:
Maintain 6213. עָשָׂה ʿāśāh: A verb meaning to do, to make, to accomplish, to complete. This frequently used Hebrew verb conveys the central notion of performing an activity with a distinct purpose, a moral obligation, or a goal in view…
Cause 4941. מִשְׁפָּט mišpāṭ: A masculine noun meaning a judgment, a legal decision, a legal case, a claim, proper, rectitude…It is used to describe a legal decision or judgment rendered: it describes a legal decision given by God to be followed by the people…The word also describes plans or instructions…In a more abstract sense, it depicts the manner of life a people followed…
Solomon was asking the LORD to accomplish what man could never do, to grant a legal decision in the case of His people. And in humility and faith, Solomon appealed to Him Who Maintains Our Cause.
Consider Him Who Maintains Our Cause
With the people assembled in celebration of this historic completion of the temple of the LORD, Solomon asks God to render a legal judgment on behalf of His people. This is a bold and frightening request when we consider the context of his entire prayer. Five times, Solomon calls upon the LORD to hear in heaven and forgive His people, (8:30, 34, 36, 39, 49-50).
And it is in this context, that Solomon asks God to render judgment regarding His people’s sin. But Solomon was depending on a judgment established, not on the people’s ability to maintain, but in Him Alone Who Maintains Our Cause.
Placed inside the ark in the wilderness tabernacle, were the two tablets of testimony representing His Covenant (Exodus 25:16); Aaron’s rod demonstrating His Power (Numbers 17:10); and the jar of Manna representing His Provision (Exodus 16:33).
But now, in the completed temple, built by the son of David, only the two tablets of stone are placed inside the ark. The two tablets of stone representing His Covenant with His children, as if to confirm that every bit of His Power and Provision would be provided through His Covenant, through Him Who Maintains Our Cause, promised in His own Son, the Messiah, the Son of David.
There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the sons of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt, (8:9).
The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham, (Matthew 1:1).
How do we respond to Him Who Maintains Our Cause?
It is God alone Who is able to Maintain Our Cause. In His beloved Son, He accomplished and completed His rendered judgment, our redemption and forgiveness of sins.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, (Colossians 1:13-14).
From the surpassing wisdom of Solomon’s prayer (perhaps never wiser than this very day as we consider this prayer in light of choices he fell into later in his life), we can discern four responses for the people of God.
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, 60 so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else. 61 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,” (8:59-61 emphasis added).
- As each day requires…Even as His children, who have placed our faith in His Power and Provision through the New Covenant of His blood for the forgiveness our sins, each and every day brings challenges, trials, temptations, and yes, sin. “When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin),” (8:46). Each and every day we must depend on Him to Maintain Our Cause, as we keep our sin list short. Let us wisely commit to times of reflection, confession and repentance, a daily necessity for every child of God.
- If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, (1 John 1:9).
- …so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no one else.When we experience the mercy of Him Who Maintains Our Cause, Who has rendered the judgment for our sins as forgiven, Who has brought us into relationship with Him through faith in Christ, we will want others to know. Let us live intently mindful that others also need His forgiveness and to know that He is God and there is no one else.
- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy, (1 Peter 2:9-10).
- Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God…How can we not be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to Him Who Maintains Our Cause? But we know there are many competing forces for our allegiance which have their inception in our thought life. We are in desperate need of the transformation of our thought life, and Scripture provides the transforming power.
- And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect, (Romans 12:2).
- …to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments, as at this day…Absolute obedience, an impossible feat, but a worthy aspiration. There is a hint to the how in the verse above. Solomon was challenging them to remember this experience of God’s Supernatural Presence and their heart’s total and unreserved devotion “as at this day.” Remembering the time we first encountered His Supernatural Presence and the overflowing love for Him experienced, will erupt in an all-consuming worship, aligning our hearts with the glory He deserves and the love relationship He desires.
- Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, (Romans 12:1).
- But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.5 Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; (Revelation 2:4-5).
And it’s cyclical, this process of sanctification, of growing in our faith in Christ. Each day we end and begin with repentance, which invites us to experience His Presence that others may also know, and bids our hearts towards total abandonment, love, obedience and surrender to Him Who Maintains Our Cause.
And as we grow in His sanctifying work, in a very real sense our English definition of cause: our “principle, ideal, goal, or movement to which we are dedicated,” becomes His Cause. May our entire lives find sole fulfillment in bringing glory to Him Who Maintains Our Cause.