Solomon helps us realize that forgiveness of sins is in the hands of God. This forgiveness is conditional to our repentance. This was the standard in the time of Solomon and is also the standard today. God’s word and nature are constant and will never change (Hebrews 13:8). These conditions of forgiveness and repentance are found in Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 8:33-36). It is the same for New Testament Christians as it was for God’s people in the Old Testament. Solomon, humbling himself, understood that all have sinned (Ecclesiastes 7:20). Paul preached in the New Testament that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Also in this prayer of Solomon’s, we see the need for God. 1 Kings 8:46 says, “When they sin against you (for there is no one who does not sin), and you become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near;”. Solomon, even though he had all that one could want or need on this earth, still showed the need for something that neither he nor any man could possess without God: forgiveness of sins.
Through this prayer, Solomon shows that God is all powerful, dwells in heaven, is in all, knows all, is with all, is unique, is needed, and is the owner of forgiveness. You can almost see Solomon bowing down in reverence as he prayed. He expresses a humble heart that understands that God is in control and man is nothing. This show of humility is what God wants to see in all of us.
In the Gospel according to Luke, we see a beautiful display of God’s forgiveness to a humble and repentant heart in prayer. Luke 18:10-14 says, “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ and the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Solomon showed in his prayer this same type of humility, and understood that God is in control.