Key verse: 1 Kings 9:9
Big idea: Worship starts with obedience.
After Solomon completed the Temple, God came to him in a second vision, like the one where He had granted him wisdom. This is not as well known as the first, but it is perhaps even more important. In this chapter, God reaffirms the covenant that He had made with David in 2 Samuel 7. God's blessing would not depend on the faithfulness of the whole world, on the faithfulness of all of Abraham's descendants, or even on the faithfulness of all of Israel. Instead, God would give His people His presence through the Temple if David's son was faithful, and forsake the Temple and the land if David's son was faithless. God's rescue plan that we first considered in Genesis is now nearing its fulfillment: there is only one more stage of narrowing left. One particular Son of David would perfectly obey, redeeming Israel and through Israel the whole world.
The connection between the Temple and obedience is not arbitrary. Truly experiencing God's presence is inseparable from holy living. When we love God, our first response will be to recognize Him as who He is: the King. If we reject obedience (the most basic form of worship), all of our other worship is superficial and meaningless. As Samuel said back in 1 Samuel 15:22, "to obey is better than sacrifice".
Discussion idea: Why did God wait to give this assurance until after the Temple was built? How does the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD relate to Jesus' final victory as the rightful King?
Prayer focus: Thank God that He provides His presence and the opportunity for us to worship Him through Christ's perfection, despite our sin.