1 Kings 9:8: “And this house will become a
heap of ruins; everyone who passes by will be astonished and hiss and say, ‘Why
has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’”

Observation: God is appearing to Solomon on
the occasion of the completion of the temple, which is an event of both national
and heavenly rejoicing. God has promised to establish Solomon’s throne forever
if he will keep God’s commandments, but as a counterpoint, God also promises to
bring upon the nation such ruin if they do not follow God (see verses 6–7),
that onlookers will be astounded at its devastation.

Application: As I read, the Lord brought to
mind a later echo of this same idea:  a stunning parallel to what God did to His
own Son. Isaiah 52:14 says that His [Jesus’s] appearance was marred more than
any man. The language suggests that passersby would look at Christ, whipped and
beaten until He bled out, beard ripped from His face, and they would hiss, ‘Can
that be human?” (see Isa. 52:14, NIV). 

It’s the same reaction God said in 1 Kings that people would
have, as they were astounded at the devastation of the nation of Israel. What I
need to understand is that the exaltation of Christ and His
devastation are really two sides of the same coin. God had chosen the
nation of Israel and had spent centuries preparing them to be a place of
habitation worthy of Him. 

In the same way, God has chosen me; He loves me and has
spent not just my whole lifetime, but He has also spent the life of His dear
Son, to make me a worthy habitation for Himself. But the Israelites, like me,
had a choice to make.  They, and I, can follow His precepts and enjoy the full
blessings of the Father, or I can reject His commandments, His claim on my life,
thus bringing the devastation of Christ onto myself for all eternity.

Prayer: O God, how You love me! You took
all the initiative to save me from the eternal devastation of hell by putting my
full load of sin onto Your perfect Son.  He became my devastation! O Lord, the
choice for me is so stark, so clear. Like Solomon and the Israelites, my desire
is to follow You, to honor You, to worship and to love You above all others.
Turn that desire into victory today, Lord, and again tomorrow, and the next day,
and the next.

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