After buying her morning paper, Patricia Machin returned home to learn that her husband had been killed by a careless driver. Following the accident, she wrote a letter offering forgiveness to the driver, Brian Williamson: “However bad this accident was for me, I realize it was 1,000 times worse for you.” Patricia recognized the extraordinary blessing of offering forgiveness.
To be forgiven is indeed an extraordinary gift, modeled for us by God Himself. For the next five days, we’re going to explore how forgiveness is a blessing. Today’s passage transcribes Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the temple. He knelt, with his hands extended toward heaven, and addressed God: “There is no God like you in heaven or on earth” (v. 14). He praised God’s greatness, and declared that this earthly temple—no matter how grand—could not contain Him (v. 18).
Recognizing the exalted nature of God and the earthly nature of God’s people, Solomon asked that God hear their prayers—and when He hears their confessions, that He would forgive them (v. 21). Notice how often Solomon makes the plea in these verses: “hear from heaven and forgive” (vv. 25, 27, 30, 39). No matter what circumstances might afflict God’s people, they must come to the Lord and plead for His forgiveness.
God cannot ignore sin, but He also extends the blessing of forgiveness. This gift of forgiveness is not for the purpose of enabling us to persist in sin; rather, forgiveness gives us the blessing of being able to follow God and serve Him. “Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you” (vv. 30–31).
You have been given the extraordinary gift of forgiveness. Confess your sins to God, knowing that He hears you from heaven. When you are finished, thank Him for the blessing of His forgiveness. How wonderful to know that God not only knows us but also has promised to forgive us. This should increase our desire to serve Him well.