As Solomon continues to pray before the awesome presence of the Lord in this new Temple his requests grow rather surprising. Solomon prays for justice and mercy.
Solomon recognizes that this Temple is going to become the place of justice, justice that is accomplished by God himself. In verses 31-32 we see a man who has sinned, brought before the Lord’s presence and made to take an oath. God will then see to it that justice is accomplished in one way or another, even if it is in the sinner reaping the just rewards of his actions in life. God is never simply on our side, but always on the side of right.
Next, this prayer looks forward in time to the day when Israel will fall into sin. And what happens then? Defeat before the enemy, drought in the land, famine for the people, these are all the consequences of sin and a falling out of favor with the Lord. What does Solomon see happening in these situations? The people will realize their sin, repent of their sin, and cry out to God for mercy and help. Solomon prays that God will indeed grant mercy to his people in such times.
I find it interesting that Solomon almost assumes this “sinning” will happen, and seeks to provide a way to respond to it before the Lord. How many times do I respond to my calamities with repentance and a seeking of mercy from God? This really does provide a whole new way of looking at the world around me and a way of understanding what is going on in life. “Lord, when I sin, hear my prayer for mercy.”