Today I want to ask you to plan an hour instead of five minutes to soak in Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:23-61. As you read it, I want you to imagine that it is the source chosen for the State of the Union Address to be given on January 20, 2017 by the new President of the United States. But think in parallel, not literally – we are a democracy, not a theocracy – yet the Cycle offers a way of organizing our thoughts around where we came from and where we need to go.
Now l challenge you: please read these 39 verses in a different order according to the progression of the Cycle we have developed over the past 20 months here at Streamside. For each element of the Cycle, look for parallels such as: Mosaic Law and American rule of law under the Constitution; God’s deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt and our Declaration of Independence; and unity rising from reconciliation.
So accept this challenge, find a nice quiet place, and read as follows (verses listed by number):
- Unity with God: 23-29; 40, 42, 44; 51-57; 60
- Commandments: 58, 61
- Temptation: 3
- Disobedience: 46
- Disunity: 5
- Warning: 6
- Judgment: 32, 35
- Never-ending Love of God: 30, 59
- Repentance: 33, 38, 47-48
- Restoration to Perfect Unity: 34, 36, 39, 43, 45, 49-50
“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what [Americans] did here. It is for us…rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which those who [fought politically] here so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored [political battles] we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these [battles] shall not have [been] in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, which I modified just a bit to reflect our modern political discord and disunity, was given on November 19, 1863, before the Civil War had ended. He honored both sides for their sacrifices but made clear the principles of perfect unity for America, just as Solomon’s God-given wisdom made clear the principles of perfect unity with God.
Lincoln’s speech ultimately unified a horribly broken nation.
Who will now unify our horribly broken nation?
Solomon was blessed by following a beloved leader, his father David, a man with a heart after God.
We search and pray for that man or woman today who can pursue perfect unity, honor the opposition, and end the threat of violence.
Pray without ceasing. Then vote.