When Solomon has finished building (verse 11Now it came about when Solomon had finished building the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all that Solomon desired to do,), the LORD appears to him again (verse 22that the LORD appeared to Solomon a second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon.). It will be the twenty-fourth year of his government. He has been building for twenty years (verse 1010It came about at the end of twenty years in which Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD and the king’s house). He has built the temple in seven years, which he began in the fourth year of his reign, and then he has built his house in thirteen years. He is here in the second part of his government and the decline of his government has already begun. The freshness of the beginning is no longer there. Things have come into Solomon’s life that will lead him to a fall.
The LORD appears for the second time to Solomon. He previously appeared to him in Gibeon, now He appears to him, as it seems, in Jerusalem. At His first appearance He told Solomon to ask what he wanted. Now, after so many years of prosperity, He lets him know what his responsibility is.
The LORD returns to his prayer from the eleventh year of his reign, the prayer at the dedication of the temple. Now, thirteen years later, the answer comes. The LORD first says to him that he has heard his prayer and supplication. It is a great encouragement for everyone who prays and supplicates to know that God hears prayer. The LORD reminds Solomon that He sanctified the temple by establishing His Name there forever (cf. Deu 12:11a11then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your God will choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD.). Solomon also asked if the eyes of the LORD will always be focused on it (1Kgs 8:2929that Your eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which You have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place.). The answer of the LORD goes further. He says that His eyes and His heart will always be there.
Then He reminds Solomon of his responsibility. The throne of Solomon will be established when he stays in the ways of the LORD. There is an “if” in verse 44As for you, if you will walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and uprightness, doing according to all that I have commanded you [and] will keep My statutes and My ordinances, and verse 66“But if you or your sons indeed turn away from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,, both for Solomon and for the whole people. That is the side of responsibility. God warns that they will keep His commandments and will not follow any other gods. If they do not listen, He must cut them off from the land, and He will cast out His temple so that it becomes a mockery (Deu 28:37,45,6337You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD drives you.45“So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you.63It shall come about that as the LORD delighted over you to prosper you, and multiply you, so the LORD will delight over you to make you perish and destroy you; and you will be torn from the land where you are entering to possess it.).
All who will see the destroyed temple will ask why (Deu 29:23-2623‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.’24All the nations will say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land? Why this great outburst of anger?’25Then [men] will say, ‘Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.26They went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they have not known and whom He had not allotted to them.). The answer is: because the people have left the LORD. How about the promises, then, is God’s business and not the business of an unfaithful people.
The words that Solomon prayed for the people in view of their deviation now come to him personally. What one proclaims oneself, returns to one’s own head. That should not change the preaching, but keep the preacher. It comes down to the fact that someone must be what he preaches. All the kings after him have experienced that. It also applies to us, because the kingdom is also entrusted to us.