“Likewise, when a foreigner who is not of your people of Israel comes from a far country for your name’s sake, for they shall hear of your great name, and your mighty hand and of your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, here in heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you as do your people of Israel. That they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.”
– 1 Kings 8:41–43
Oh, listen closely to what First Kings Eight 41 through 43 is teaching us. As Solomon is dedicating the temple, this place in Jerusalem where the glory of God would dwell in the middle of the people of Israel. It is abundantly crystal clear that the purpose of the temple was not just to be a place of worship for the people of Israel. It was to be a place where to use the language in 1 Kings 8:41–43, a foreigner, where the peoples, Verse 43 days, the nations would come together to worship God for his glory.
So in the outer court of the temple, it was called the court of the gentiles, the court of the nations. This place designated by God for people from beyond the people of Israel to behold the glory of God, to call on the name of God, that they may know. Solomon says this house is built, not just for your people but for all peoples, that your glory is not intended to be known just by your people, but by all peoples.
This Verse Emphasizes that God Alone is Worthy of Our Praise
Even tucked away in 1 Kings, we see God’s heart for the nations. He is worthy of the praise of all the peoples on the earth.
This is the missionary impulse that we see all over scripture. So it’s not just the great commission, go and make disciples of all nations. It’s not just Acts 1:8, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth;” This is from cover to cover in the Bible and this is one of the places where you see it.
In First Kings’ dedication of the temple, God is clearly calling his people to make his glory known among all peoples. So God clearly desires his name to be praised among all the nations of the earth. Which is why we must look in our lives, and our churches, and we cannot see missions, the spread of the gospel to the nations, the glory of God among the nations, as like a compartmentalized program in the church over here for a select few people who are called to that.
1 Kings 8:41–43 Calls God’s Name to be Known
No. This is the purpose of God for all of his people, to make his glory known among all the peoples. Now obviously that plays out differently in our lives. Not every one of us moves to another nation, to another people group, to another ethnic group, tribe, language to share the gospel and make the glory of God known but, we all have a part to play in seeing that happen through our praying, through our giving, through our going, short term, through our going, long term. Some of us, all of us, are lives on the table, our families on the table saying, “God, use us however you want for the spread of your glory among all the peoples, all the nations of the earth.”
1 Kings 8:41–43 is part of why, as we pray, even on this podcast, we pray continually for unreached people. Because there are still peoples that don’t know the name. People that aren’t calling upon the name of the Lord in worship. They don’t know the grace that is available to them, the gospel of Jesus Christ. So we want the gospel to go to them. We pray toward that and we give our lives and our churches toward that end. This is who we are as God’s people and who we have been all throughout our history as God’s people, going back to places like First Kings Eight.
This Verse Prays for God to be Exalted on Earth
So we pray, right now. Oh God, we take our place before you and we ask as Solomon did. We ask that you would cause your name to be known. Your glory to be exalted upon all the peoples of the earth. Now we pray what Solomon prayed in First Kings Eight. Cause your name to be feared, to be worshiped, to be exalted, by all the peoples of the earth. That all the peoples of the earth might know your name and fear you. God, may it be so.
So we pray for the Thai people in Thailand. Millions upon millions of them, oh God, who are worshiping Buddha and following Buddha’s rules and Buddha’s regulations. Buddha is not worthy of their glory oh God. You alone deserve their glory. Jesus, you have paid the price for the sins of men and women, from every nation, tribe, tongue and people including the Thai in Thailand. So please oh God, cause your name, Jesus, to be made known there. Send out laborers into that harvest field. Raise up people from our churches, people even that are listening to this podcast right now. God, that you would come out some to go to Thailand with the gospel.
1 Kings 8:41–43 Prays for the Spread of the Gospel
So God, please may it be so. We pray for your strengthening of the Thai church. That you would bless followers of Christ there for the spread of the gospel through them. God, we pray for the spread of your fame, your name across Thailand and places all over the world where your gospel has not yet gone. God, we pray. We pray for your name to be known and feared and worshiped by all the peoples of the earth. We pray that you would use our lives, every one of our lives, and our churches, every one of our churches, however you will toward that end. Oh God, we pray that you would use this prayer toward that end. In Jesus’ name. Amen.