When Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house and all that Solomon desired to build, the Lord appeared to Solomon a second time, as he had appeared to him at Gibeon. The Lord said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you made before me; I have consecrated this house that you have built, and put my name there for ever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. As for you, if you will walk before me, as David your father walked, with integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you, and keeping my statutes and my ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne over Israel for ever, as I promised your father David, saying, “There shall not fail you a successor on the throne of Israel.”
‘If you turn aside from following me, you or your children, and do not keep my commandments and my statutes that I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut Israel off from the land that I have given them; and the house that I have consecrated for my name I will cast out of my sight; and Israel will become a proverb and a taunt among all peoples. This house will become a heap of ruins; everyone passing by it will be astonished, and will hiss; and they will say, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this house?” Then they will say, “Because they have forsaken the Lord their God, who brought their ancestors out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, worshipping them and serving them; therefore the Lord has brought this disaster upon them.”’
This is a huge bargain that the Lord is offering to Solomon. The Lord is saying that if Solomon is faithful to him and keeps his commandments he will consecrate the Temple for all time. The continuance, however, is conditional on maintaining the worship of God there and not turning away to worship other gods. Actions have consequences. No one is too grand, high-powered, or magnificent to escape the consequences of wrong doing. Solomon and his family will come to learn that costly lesson as history unfolds.
Actions have consequences for people today. We are constantly learning costly lessons. In many ways our world has become like the Temple of Solomon. Many parts of the world have “become a heap of ruins” and people do say “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land?” But I do not believe it is the Lord that has done this.
Telling a lie, carrying a knife onto the street, robbery, mindless violence and, yes, not keeping the commandments of God, are all actions that have consequences; they are our actions and we have to face the consequences.
It is hard to see places, and people’s lives, in ruins, often through no fault of their own. It’s hard not to feel helpless and hopeless in the face of all the insecurity and fear around us. But our hope remains in you, God. We remember when Jesus walked into the trap that was laid for him, when he was humiliated and murdered, then those actions too had consequences. Thank God! Praise be! Amen
Fredwyn Hosier is a pastoral Consultant in Thames North Synod and member of Palmers Green URC