“Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
and come to save us!
Restore us, O God;
let your face shine, that we may be saved.” (Psalms 80:1-3)
In the scripture from the daily “Sip of Scripture” we read from I Kings chapter 8 where King Solomon is dedicating the temple. He is asking for God hear and heed the prayers of the Lord’s people. And the psalmist also asks that God her the cries of the Israelite followers of God. That it is King David – the father of King Solomon – who it is assumed is the psalmist, is just one example of scriptural symmetry.
So close to the Christmas event, the birth of Christ, our waiting has reached a fevered pitch. We are in need of a Savior, as much as the Jews were at the time of Christ’s birth. So much had gone wrong, and God’s people had gone astray or had been lead astray – again.
We may well join with our spiritual ancestors from the close past to the farthest distant past; “Hear us! Heed us! Come to us! Restore us!
Through the birth of your Son,
Who was, is and ever will be our Lord and Redeemer
Let your face shine upon us
As the star of Bethlehem shone down on his birth place!
“Hear the plea of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place; “O hear in heaven your dwelling place; heed and forgive.” (I Kings 8:30 from I Kings 8:1-66)
It is interesting to me that what I would have said about this verse when it was in sequence (somewhere around early March) is different than where my reflections go now, a few days away from Christmas and on the fourth Sunday of Advent.
It was King Solomon who prayed this at the dedication of the new temple; the house of the Lord that King David wished to build but was politely declined by God. If King Solomon was sincere, and I have no reason to believe he was not, then his “plea” was heeded in the form of the baby Jesus. What better “heeding” by God then the sending of the Lord’s son and emissary to forgive humanity and reunite humanity with its Creator. Furthermore, it is much better when you wish to communicate to come closer rather than listening from a distance. The Christ that walks with us is closer to us than the God is listen to us from heaven – a place we are not really sure of its exact location.
Jesus told his disciple that where two or more are gathered, in God’s name, God will be there also. And that when we pray, we should go to our prayer closet and not necessarily to a per-designated place to pray.
I do not know if when King Solomon prayed this prayer the Divine knew already that Jesus would come to us; we cannot know because the bible is written from the perspective of seeing and understanding/interpreting God through human eyes. Either God answering the need before it is spoken, or God answering the need the instant it is spoken – both give support and comfort.
May your feel the support and comfort of our Lord the instant your speak your need, and may God come swiftly from heaven, God’s dwelling place, to answer that need. Selah! And shalom for your day.