Good day to each of you reading this column on King Solomon and his prayer to the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel.
Before we begin Solomon’s prayer, I came upon an article in the Lexington Chronicle about the German U-Boat 1206 being sunk by its own toilet. This is crazy – submarines have been destroyed by depth charges, bombings, collisions and mechanical problems, but a toilet.
In March 1944, U-1206 was the pride of Nazi Germany’s navy with 50 officers and men assigned to destroy Allied shipping. This U-Boat had two “heads” in Navy slang, or two bathrooms. One “head” was primarily used to store extra food for the long underseas voyages and the other was used by all 50 men.
The U-1206 came equipped with the state-of-the-art high-pressure toilet that could be flushed while submerged at great depths. That was so important because when 50 guys are using the same facility, you want all the flushing you can get. This system was so complex that the Germans had an engineer “specialist” on board and present each time it was used. And, it worked well… until Saturday, April 14, 1945.
U-1206 left occupied Norway 8 days earlier and was cruising off the Scotland coast when something happened. The first-time commander of the U-Boat, Kapitanleutnant Karl Adolf Schlitt, a cocky sort of fellow, filed a report that the intricate water pressure system sprang a leak. But the crew, they told a completely different story of a Captain, who knew all about this new-fangled system and didn’t need the help or opinion of any “specialist”. The Captain would show everyone how mechanically competent he was by reading the manual and making it flush all by himself. Except, he couldn’t—when he pulled the chain, the sub began filling with water from the ocean combined with raw sewage from its storage compartment. Talk about a mess! Schlitt cried for help, but nobody could figure out how to stop the rapidly spreading slop.
Toxic fumes quickly filled the boat as raw sewage and saltwater reached the batteries. Schlitt then gave the orders to surface and open the hatch, knowing they were a sitting duck to the Brits. The British Air Force spotted the surfaced U-Boat, attacked her and sunk her. The U-Boat captain gave the order to abandon the ship before it sunk. As for the German casualties, one crew member killed, three men drowned during evacuation, 36 men picked up by British ships and the remaining 10 men made it to shore in a lifeboat and quickly captured.
As for the U-Boat, she sits silently rusting on the bottom of the sea today, the only submarine ever sunk because someone had to use the facilities.
Please turn to 1 Kings 8:22-61(FF)—Solomon gathered the whole assembly before the Lord—not just a few but the whole assembly. Solomon begins his prayer by exclaiming, “Living God of Israel! There is no God like you in heaven above, or upon earth beneath, — keeping covenant and promise to Your servants, who walk before You with all their heart.
Using the Wycliffe Bible Commentary, this prayer of Solomon may be regarded as containing seven rather distinct petitions when asking God to listen from the place of Your rest in the Heavens. The king asked for: (1) God’s continued presence and protection (1Kings 8:25-30). (2) Condemnation of the wicked and vindication of the righteous (vv. 31,32). (3) Deliverance from the enemy upon confession of sin (v. 33). (4) Divine help in days of calamity (vv. 35-40). (5) Divine aid for the devout foreigner (vv. 41-43). (6) Victory in future battles (vv. 44,45). (7) National forgiveness (vv. 46-53).
As Solomon prays to the EVER-LIVING, he asks that “Your People Israel” receive protection and restoration in their land, deliverance from pestilence, lack of rain, disease, mildew and any other calamity they might receive, receiving foreigners who are not of Your People Israel, victory in battles and in wars and the history of the Israelite people from the time of their exodus from Egypt.
Solomon, petitions on behalf of the Israelite people, asking God to have mercy on Your People Israel if they will admit their sin and repent by admitting that they did wrong and they turn to You with all their heart, and all their soul.
The EVER-LIVING, in return, will listen from the Heavens, their prayer and supplication, and grant them justice, and pardon Your People who have sinned against You for all their wickedness by which they have depraved themselves before You, and grant them the mercy to be converted and obtain mercy.
Turn to verse 53 (Smith & Goodspeed) For thou (God) didst separate them (Israel) from all the peoples of the earth to be thy heritage, as thou didst promise through Moses thy servant, when thou didst bring our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord God.
Verses 53 & 54 is the conclusion or ending of the prayer to the EVER-LIVING where Solomon then arose from kneeling on his knees before the altar of the Lord with his hands stretched out toward the heavens, and stood, and blessed all the assembly of Israel with a loud voice.
This promise was no ordinary promise and the promise—To build a temple for the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel. As for the person responsible for building this temple, it was not David, even though David had it in his heart to build this temple, but it was Solomon, the son & heir to David, who came forth from his loins.
The promise, along with the timing of the building of the temple, was perfectly kept from God to David to Solomon. Solomon was very aware of this enormous debt of thankfulness he owed his father and to the EVER-LIVING for fulfilling this promise of building a temple that would be a dwelling place for the EVER-LIVING.
When reading these verses, there are so many takeaways that one could use, but two particular things stuck out in my mind—1 Kings 8:53—You and I are a separate people from all the peoples of the earth. Take time to think about this for a moment. Why? We could have been a Muslim, Buddhist, Confucius, Jewish, or so many of the religions in the world, but we were separate (Israelites) from all the other peoples of the earth to which we will be and are God’s heritage.
The same way God made and fulfilled the promise of the building of the temple to Solomon, David’s son, he created each of us as Israelites to be separate from all the peoples of the earth.
But it doesn’t stop there – Here comes the parable of the Talents – Solomon had multiple talents for he was given much – turn to Luke 12:48 (b) (NIV), From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
Like Solomon, we are entrusted with a single or multiple number of talents and with this talent or talents much will be demanded – Are you up to the task and will you utilize those talents for God’s glory or will you hide them in a hole?
As you can see, Solomon, who had been given much met the challenge humbly for he came to realize much more would be demanded. Reaching greater heights than the world had never seen – for leaders all over the world had heard of Solomon and his multiple talents. Solomon never forgot to fulfill the promise of building the temple to the EVER-LIVING, for he was given much and humbly accepted each talent for God’s glory.
May you Bless God in all that you and do!