1 Kings 8:58
That he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.
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(58) That he may incline . . .—Comparing this verse with the exhortation of 1Kings 8:61, we find exemplified the faith which pervades all Holy Scripture and underlies the whole idea of covenant with God. It is a faith in the true, though mysterious, co-operation of the “preventing grace” of God, which must be recognised in all adequate conceptions of Him, as the Source of all life and action, physical and spiritual, and of that free responsibility of man which is the ultimate truth of the inner human consciousness. God “inclines the heart” and yet the heart must yield itself. The conviction of this truth naturally grows deeper and plainer, in proportion as man realises better the inner life of the soul as contrasted with the outer life of event and action, and realises accordingly the dominion of God over the soul by His grace, over and above His rule over the visible world by His providence. Hence it comes out especially in the Psalms, the Proverbs, and the Prophetic books. It is instructive, for example, to observe how through the great “psalm of the Law” (Psalms 119) the conviction again and again expresses itself that only by His gift can the heart be enabled to obey it. (See 1Kings 8:26-27; 1Kings 8:32-33; 1Kings 8:36, &c.) In the New Testament, the “covenant of the Spirit,” the truth is brought out in all its fulness; perhaps most vividly in the celebrated paradox of Philippians 2:12-13, “Work out your own salvation . . . For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”

1 Kings 8:58. That he may incline our hearts unto him — That he may not only bless us with outward prosperity and glory; but especially with spiritual blessings; and that as he has given us his word to teach and direct us; so he would, by his Holy Spirit, effectually incline us to obey it. 8:54-61 Never was a congregation dismissed with what was more likely to affect them, and to abide with them. What Solomon asks for in this prayer, is still granted in the intercession of Christ, of which his supplication was a type. We shall receive grace sufficient, suitable, and seasonable, in every time of need. No human heart is of itself willing to obey the gospel call to repentance, faith, and newness of life, walking in all the commandments of the Lord, yet Solomon exhorts the people to be perfect. This is the scriptural method, it is our duty to obey the command of the law and the call of the gospel, seeing we have broken the law. When our hearts are inclined thereto, feeling our sinfulness and weakness, we pray for Divine assistance; thus are we made able to serve God through Jesus Christ.Incline our hearts - This is a doctrine which first appears in Scripture in the Davidical Psalms (see the margin reference and Psalm 141:4). Solomon in this prayer seems to be thoroughly penetrated with his father's spirit. 1Ki 8:22-61. His Prayer.

22. Solomon stood before the altar—This position was in the court of the people, on a brazen scaffold erected for the occasion (2Ch 6:13), fronting the altar of burnt offering, and surrounded by a mighty concourse of people. Assuming the attitude of a suppliant, kneeling (1Ki 8:54; compare 2Ch 6:24) and with uplifted hands, he performed the solemn act of consecration—an act remarkable, among other circumstances, for this, that it was done, not by the high priest or any member of the Aaronic family, but by the king in person, who might minister about, though not in, holy things. This sublime prayer [1Ki 8:22-35], which breathes sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility, naturally bore a reference to the national blessing and curse contained in the law—and the burden of it—after an ascription of praise to the Lord for the bestowment of the former, was an earnest supplication for deliverance from the latter. He specifies seven cases in which the merciful interposition of God would be required; and he earnestly bespeaks it on the condition of people praying towards that holy place. The blessing addressed to the people at the close is substantially a brief recapitulation of the preceding prayer [1Ki 8:56-61].

That he may incline our hearts unto him; that he may not only bless us with outward prosperity and glory, but especially with spiritual blessings; and that as he hath given us his word and statutes to teach and direct us, so he would by his Holy Spirit effectually incline and engage our hearts to keep and obey them. That he may incline our hearts unto him,.... By his Spirit, to love, fear, and serve him; to attend to his worship, word, and ordinances:

to walk in all his ways; he has prescribed and directed to:

and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers; all his laws, moral, ceremonial, and judicial.

That he may {x} incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

(x) He concludes that man of himself is enemy to God, and that all obedience to his law proceeds from his mercy.

58. that he may incline our hearts unto him] Which will not happen if He leave or forsake His people.Verse 58. - That he may incline our hearts unto him [Psalm 119:26; Psalm 141:4], to walk in an his ways [ver. 25; 1 Kings 2:4. The condition on which God's blessing was insured was at this time printed on Solomon's mind], and to keep his commandments, and his satutes, and his Judgments [see note on 1 Kings 2:3, to which ver. there is not improbably a reference], which he commanded our fathers. לרחמים וּנתתּם: literally, "and make (place) them for compassion before their captors, that they may have compassion upon them," i.e., cause them to meet with compassion from their enemies, who have carried them away. - In 1 Kings 8:51-53 Solomon closes with general reasons, which should secure the hearing of his prayer on the part of God. Bertheau follows the earlier commentators in admitting that these reasons refer not merely to the last petitions, but to all the preceding ones.

(Note: Seb. Schmidt has already given the following explanation: "These things which I have asked for myself and for my people do Thou, O Lord, because it is for Thy people that I have prayed, and I am their king: therefore hear Thou the prayers of Thy servant and Thy people. For in 1 Kings 8:52 he makes mention of his own case and of the cases of all the rest, in which they would call upon the Lord.)

The plea "for they are Thy people," etc. (1 Kings 8:51), is taken from Deuteronomy 4:10; and that in 1 Kings 8:53, "Thou didst separate them," etc., is taken from Leviticus 20:24, Leviticus 20:26, compared with Exodus 19:5. וגו עיניך להיות, "that Thine eyes may be opened," follows upon ושׁמעתּ ("then hear Thou") in 1 Kings 8:49; just as 1 Kings 8:29 at the commencement of the prayer follows upon וּפנית in 1 Kings 8:28. The recurrence of the same expression shows that the prayer is drawing to a close, and is rounded off by a return to the thought with which it opened. "As Thou spakest by Moses" points back to Exodus 19:5. - In 2 Chronicles 6:40-42 the conclusion of the prayer is somewhat altered, and closes with the appeal to the Lord to cause salvation and grace to go forth from the temple over His people.

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