Every year Gene Hall and his team put together a National Day of Prayer event at Red Oak Excavating. I had the privilege of speaking at this event this morning. I am posting my manuscript for my speech below.
National Day of Prayer
May 7, 2015
Have you had a good time this morning? I count it a privilege to be a part of this event again this year. Thank you to Gene Hall and others who are responsible for putting this wonderful event together. It is a great blessing to gather with brothers and sisters in Christ in this free land to consider the importance of crying out to our God in prayer, and then to do just that.
I have been given the task this morning of pulling all of the speeches and prayers together in kind of a concluding fashion under the banner of the theme: Lord, Hear Our Cry!
Of course, as you have heard, the verse of Scripture associated with this theme comes from 1 Kings 8:28.
“Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day.”
This verse is found in the context of Solomon's prayer of dedication for the recently constructed temple. If you are familiar with the story, you know that Solomon's father David desired to build a temple for the Lord. This would be a place for the Lord to dwell. There the people of God could have fellowship with their God.
But it was not God's plan for David to build this temple. Instead, He told David that his son would be the one who would build the temple. God said to David, "Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart. Nevertheless, you shall not build the house, but your son who shall be born to you shall build the house for my name."
And here in 1 Kings 8 we see the fulfillment of that promise that God made to David. Solomon has overseen the building of a temple. Now He is dedicating that temple to God. In doing so, He cries out to God, "Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day." Solomon's hope was in the fact that the God He worshiped hears the cries of His people. That is certainly the source of our hope this morning as we unite under the theme of "Lord, Hear our Cry!" God hears the cries of His people.
Because of the fulfillment of God's promise, Solomon's heart was filled with worship to God. Solomon prayed, "O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart." He goes on later in the chapter, "Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise which he spoke by Moses his servant." Friends, this God that Solomon worshiped is our God. He is still a covenant keeping God. His promises never fail.
Now, while there is a sense in which God's promise to David was fulfilled in his son Solomon, there is also a sense in which it was not fulfilled until many years later and is still being fulfilled. As we turn to the New Testament in Matthew chapter 1, we see that Jesus the Messiah was a descendant of David. This promise that a descendant of David would establish a place of worship for the one true God was ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. In fact, we see Jesus refer to his own body as a temple during His time here on earth. Also, we see Jesus establishing a people for God through His sinless life and death on our behalf. And one day, we know that Jesus will return to establish a new heaven and a new earth where God will dwell with His people forever.
But in the meantime, we are God's temple. Those who have repented of their sin and placed their faith in Jesus, the people of God, are His temple. The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit of God resides in all believers. Thus we know, that just as God heard the cries of His people in 1 Kings 8, He hears the cries of His people today. Romans 8 talks about the Spirit interceding to God on our behalf. The writer of Hebrews talks about Jesus as the mediator between God and man. We have access to God this morning, as we gather for this day of prayer, because of Jesus.
The cultural situation in which we find ourselves is bleak. All one needs to do to see this is turn on the news. Often it feels as if the enemy is winning the battle. We see rioting in the streets of Baltimore. Buildings burned. Police cars are smashed. Gunshots are fired. We see more injustice piled on top of injustice.
Then just a short drive down I-95 our attention shifts to arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States about whether states should be forced to recognize something as marriage that cannot and never will truly be marriage. Confusion abounds as the truth of God is exchanged for a lie. Rather than the worship of the Creator, we see men and women worshiping and serving the creature.
And if you're paying attention, you know that the crowd screaming "tolerance" is the most intolerant of them all. If you dare speak the truth of God and His Word to the culture, you better be prepared to face the consequences. You may be ostracized and cast aside as a bigot. While our nation was founded on the principle of religious freedom, that freedom is eroding before our very eyes.
So where is our hope? I truly think that perhaps the changing cultural tide in our nation is a good thing. It doesn't feel good, but perhaps it will serve to set our minds on the author and perfecter of our faith. For far too long we have placed our hope in the political process. For far too long we have set our minds on the ballot box. But the reality is that there is nothing our elected officials in Richmond or Washington can do to change the hearts of men and women.
And friends, that is what we need more than new laws in Washington. We need new hearts. And this change must begin with you and me. It must begin with the people of God. We must fall on our knees first in repentance. We repent of having trusted the political process more than we trusted God. And we vow to live differently moving forward. We vow to walk by faith, and not by sight. We vow to be the instruments God uses to effect the change we desire to see.
Our God is the same God who made His promise to David. He is the same God who kept His promise in Solomon. He is the same God who is keeping His promise even now in Jesus. We carry with us, fellow believers, the greatest message in all the world. It's the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who lived in perfect obedience to the Father. The one who died to pay for the sin of all those who would repent of their sin and place their faith in Jesus. The one who was raised on the third day. The one who ascended into heaven and is right now seated at the right hand of the Father. And He is the one who will one day return to establish His kingdom forever. At that time, He will right all wrongs. Friends, this is the only source of hope for us, and it is the only source of hope for this great nation.