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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Prayer of a Leader

2 Chronicles 6 gives us Solomon's speech/prayer at the temple dedication. Here we have the wisest man and greatest leader ever to have lived at what was probably the most important moment of his life. I believe there are some important lessons for us to learn about how to lead and how to live.

1. Solomon recognized God. "Lord God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts" (vs 14). Solomon had worked very hard. He had hired and conscripted hundreds upon hundreds of skilled craftsmen and laborers to build this temple. Yet Solomon realized that his own work and position was not the key to this crowing achievement. It was God's work that made everything possible.

2. Solomon recognized the sinfulness of man. Solomon realized that though there was great fervor for God on that day of dedication, there would come a day when the people of Israel would turn away from God again. He prayed for God's restoration in several instances of sin. In verse 36 Solomon says, "When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin)." We certainly don't have to read very far to see that both Solomon himself with all his hundreds of wives, and all of Israel do indeed fall into sin.

3. Solomon pled with God for restoration when he and Israel would turn from their sin back to God. He realized that God would punish the sin, but that the punishment was not cruelty. God allowed consequences for man's sin because of His great love. God wants His people to have a loving relationship with Himself and when they push Him aside, sometimes the only way to bring them back is by allowing them to suffer for a time.

What a humble speech for so great a man to make on such a celebrated day. May I remember on those days of success that God gave the success, that I have and will blow it again, and that I need to be prepared to fall upon the mercy of God for restoration when I have learned my lesson.


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