2011 10 30

Trust & Obey

Reverend Anthony R. Locke

October 30th, 2011  www.FirstPresTucker.org

at the First Presbyterian Church of Tucker


Ten Commandments Sermon Series 01 


1 Kings 8:54-61 English Standard Version

54  Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. 

55  And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying, 

56  “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. 

57  The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us

58  that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. 

59  Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, 

60  that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. 

61  Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day.”[1]

If the Lord is with you then He will incline your heart to love Him. If the Lord is not with you, then your life will grow to love worldly things.

In our passage, King Solomon speaks words of benediction that the Lord will be with His people so that they will love God.

This benediction to invoke the presence of God is not a one time deal. At the end of every worship service there is a public marking of the worshippers, using God’s name, when the anointed man of God raises his arms and utters the promises of God’s favor and fellowship upon His people.

And Biblical worship, from Abraham to Jesus, Paul to Zephaniah, ends with a prayer, a blessing, a benediction that declares the assurance of all God’s goodness based on His abiding presence with His people. His abiding presence is the key to blessings.

Because if the Lord is with you then He will incline your heart to love Him. If the Lord is not with you, then your life will grow to love worldly things.

Our passage records the detailed events when the pre-incarnate glory of Christ came to dwell in the midst of Israel in the Temple as the Shekinah Glory over the mercy seat of the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies.

Earlier in our passage the Temple is completed. The stones had been shaped and set, the draperies sewn and hung, the gold instruments of worship crafted, polished and prepared, and the people of God were ready to receive the presence of God.

Verse 8 tells us that the poles that carried the ark of the covenant were so long that the didn’t fit inside the Holy of Holies. They were sticking out as the Ark of the Covenant was brought in.

And as soon as the Ark of God entered the Temple’s inner sanctum, the presence of God filled the room. It was so glorious that it forced the priests out into the general court yard of the Temple Mount. This is the same temple mount and the same foundation stones that today we call the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

And Solomon stood on that Temple Mount and blessed the Lord. Then he turns around and blesses the congregation by retelling the promises of salvation.

These are the activities of their worship as they happened. Solomon leads the worship and we can almost get a feel for what the Israelites experienced as the Temple was dedicated.

The Solomon again turns around to face the Temple and the Ark of God and prays in verse  Kings 8:22-23 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart

And King Solomon prays for God’s presence to be a great blessing, not just for the Jews, but for the whole world.

Notice 1 Kings 8:41-43 Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people 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, hear 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 Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.

Why does God bless us? Psalm 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

God the Father intends to bless your life to the extent that others are persuaded to pursue the Lord in repentance and faith. Your life is meant to be a billboard advertisement for the Lord. If your life has no redeeming effect upon the world then the presence of Christ in you is not having it’s intended result.

Verse 54-55 Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and plea to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven. And he stood and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice, saying,

Just as Israel heard the words of benediction from King Solomon, so now we can hear the announcement of God’s favor and blessings as spoken by David’s Royal Son.

1 Kings 8:56-58  “Blessed be the LORD who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commandedour fathers.

The presence of God came into the Temple when the Ark of the Covenant came into the Holy of Holies. And what was in the Ark of the Covenant that invited the presence of God Himself to dwell within the community of Israel?

The answer is in verse 9.

1 Kings 8:9 There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

What invoked the presence of God into the life of the people of God? The Commandments of God. What was the internal characteristic, the essence and nature, of the soul of the people of God? They repeatedly made vows to keep the Commandments of God.

And what will invite the glory of the presence of God Himself into your life today as a divine power that will bring great blessings and comfort to your soul? The Commandments of God.

To whom do the blessings below? Leviticus 26:3 To those who follow my decrees and are careful to obey God’s commands.

God promises to be faithful to those who are faithful to Him. Deuteronomy 7:12 If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers.

Deuteronomy 28:13 says it in common vernacular. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

There is a undeniable connection between those who keep the commandments of God and those who despise God’s ways.

Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land.

People who do right and follow God’s commands are blessed with God’s presence and fellowship. It’s intuitive, axiomatic, verifiable and absolutely true.

Not following God’s commands places a wall of discomfort between you and God.

Israel illustrates this truth. Did they obey God? Not for long. Isaiah 63:10 Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

What are we told in the New Testament? Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. We can make God’s presence not dwell with us.

John 14:23 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The Bible teaches that when we placed our faith in Jesus Christ, when we are brought in to the family of God, that the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside our Spirit just like the Shekinah Glory of God took up residence inside the Holy of Holies.

Ephesians 3:16-17 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

The presence of God comes to dwell with us.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

And if we obey the commands of God then His presence fills the room, fills our soul with His glory, and the blessing of the presence of Christ abides with us.

Again, if the Lord is with you then He will incline your heart to love Him. If the Lord is not with you, then your life will grow to love worldly things.

The power of the presence of God transforms us into the likeness of Jesus.

What is the chief characteristic of Jesus? Well, Jesus came to fulfill the Law. Jesus obeyed the Father all the way to the cross. Jesus trusted God’s will for His life.

And if we are to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus, then we must be clothed in His righteousness, trust God’s will over our own and obey His commands.

This will maintain our fellowship with God. We will radiate His glory through our life.

What will bring great blessings and comfort to your soul? Obeying the Spirit of God who leads us to follow the commandments of God.

If we want to evangelize the world then our life must exude the beautiful fragrance of obedience to the commands of God. 1 Kings 8:60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.

We should be praying that 1 Kings 8:61  our heart . . . be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments.

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light; And reproofs for discipline are the way of life.

Jesus walked a path of life right into the gates of Heaven by keeping the will of the Father and fulfilling the commands of God. The same eternal blessings are reserved for those who keep the commandments of God.

Psalm 19:7-14 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Are the commandments transforming your soul? Are the laws of God your heart’s delight?

We so desperately need to trust that God’s ways are better for us than our own ways. We need to have greater respect for His opinions than our opinions. We need to seek the Bible like we are searching for hidden treasure. And once we find the treasure, we need to sell everything we have to obtain the heavenly prize.

If the Lord is with you then He will incline your heart to obey His commandments.

Is the Lord with you today? Is the Spirit of God prompting your spirit to obey the commandments of God? God deeply desires to take up residence in your body and soul that you might be transformed, over time, into the glorious image of Jesus Christ.

May God give us the grace to be all that we can be through our Lord and Savior. Amen.



[1]  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.



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