Lent Devotional: 1 Kings 8:54-61
by Jonathan Haefs
1 Kings 8:54-61 (click here)
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 commanded our fathers.
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 Kings 8:57-58 and 61)
How do you obey the commands of God?
Scripture is full of commands and demands for obedience. Yet, for many, the moment there is talk of commands and obedience they cry “legalism.” However, Jesus himself gave many commands and even his final instructions about making disciples tell us to be “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Was Jesus being legalistic?
Legalism is obedience in one’s own power in order to earn God’s affection. But love expresses itself through obedience empowered by God’s affection!
This is the kind of obedience Solomon prays for in 1 Kings 8. He asks for the Lord’s empowering presence to be at work inclining his peoples’ hearts to him… so that out of affection for him they are empowered to keep his commandments and statues.
Therefore, the people are to obey because their hearts are wholly true to the Lord… they love the Lord! So they step out to obey, trusting that God is at work inclining their hearts to him, empowering them. They step out in faith that God will provide all the power needed to obey!
This is how we obey the commands of God, not as legalists, but as lovers!
God himself inclines our hearts toward him, filling us with affection for him, and that love empowers us to step out and obey him in faith that he will provide all the power needed for that obedience so that he gets the glory!
I cannot obey the commands of God any other way because part of his commands is that they be kept in a way that glorifies him! Even if I muscle up my own strength and conform my behavior to God’s commands… I’m not keeping those commands because I’m not doing it out of love for him, empowered by him, for his glory!
Oh may we receive the charge of Solomon and of Christ himself… may we keep the commands of God, by the power of God, because of love for God!