Sunday, August 28, 2011

“A God We Can Depend On” - I Kings 8:22-24 - August 28, 2011

[This sermon/homily is offered as a part of a service of testimony. 3 members of our congregation spoke to critical moments in their life where God’s faithfulness was on display. The service also included a choral version of “If It Were Not for Grace” with a solo that was testimonial in flavor. The homily serves to pull the voices of witness into a Scriptural context and to challenge the church family to discover their own testimony of God’s faithfulness.]

I can only image what Solomon must have been feeling when he took his place before the altar that morning. He was there to dedicate the temple. The temple has been his father’s dream, but God choose for him to be the one to complete the task. Maybe he felt a little like many of us do right now, seized with the power of God’s story of faithfulness expressed in Don, Cathy, and Larry’s spoken testimony and Dennis’ testimony in song. Maybe the music that surrounded the service that morning while different in tone and language, moved with passion like ours this morning, drawing Solomon and the worshippers there closer and closer to God’s feet. But, our passage tells us that just at the right moment, Before the entire congregation of Israel, Solomon took a position before the Altar, spread his hands out before heaven, and prayed, O GOD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in the skies above or on the earth below who unswervingly keeps covenant with his servants and relentlessly loves them as they sincerely live in obedience to your way. You kept your word to David my father, your personal word. You did exactly what you promised—every detail. The proof is before us today! [The Message, Peterson]

Solomon’s dedication of the temple was strikingly different than most building dedications we would experience in our era. His first words of dedication were not words to celebrate the craftsmanship of what would have been one of the greatest buildings of that era. His words did not celebrate the great wealth he had amassed that made the construction of the temple possible. His words did not celebrate the growth and development of the great city of Jerusalem that the temple called home. He did not celebrate the kingdom he ruled over and their growing status in the region. Instead Solomon begins with a testimony that God was a God that the people could depend on because God delivered on the promises He made.

In my lifetime I have watched our confidence in our government erode because of Watergate, the Lewinsky scandal, political polarization, and national debt figures in the trillions. In my lifetime I have watched our confidence in our religious leaders fade because of a seemingly endless list of ministers embroiled in sexual impropriety, drug abuse, and financial exploitation of their congregations or television followers. Many of us have had people let us down when we needed on them the most. If we are not careful we can begin wonder if there is really anything we can count on. The testimonies and the Scripture we have heard this morning testify that we can depend on God. God is always faithful.

Solomon had faced war with his brothers and was a product of his father’s moral failure. It would have been easy for him to doubt everyone and everything. But, his testimony is clear. God has honored every promise; God has come through at every turn. It was time to celebrate. The temple was done. And in this moment when he could claim the limelight, he made sure that the only one that would get glory was God. God was unquestionably, undeniably, unswerving dependable. God still is. O God, You kept your word, your personal word. You did exactly what you promised—every detail. The proof is before us today! Thanks be to God!

So you have heard the testimony of Scripture and of those who walk beside you every day. What is your testimony? Where do you see God moving in your life? Where has God proven faithful in your life? Let your voice be heard. God is faithful – just as He promised – just as He said.

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