A House of Prayer For All Nations
SOLOMON’S prayer of dedication for the temple at Jerusalem showed that Israel’s God was a God for all nations. The king anticipated that foreigners from all over the world would be drawn to the house of worship. So he asked God to honor their prayers in order that “all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You” (1 Kings 8:41–43).
One early answer to Solomon’s prayer was a visit by the queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10:1–13), who had heard of the splendors of Solomon’s kingdom but wanted to see them for herself. After reviewing his accomplishments, she praised God for what he had done for Israel. Other visitors had similar reactions.
The temple was located at Jerusalem, but as Jesus pointed out (quoting Isaiah), it was meant to be “a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:17). Likewise, Israel was to be a blessing to the nations and a light showing the way toward the one true God (Genesis 12:1–3; Isaiah 51:4).
Similarly, Jesus teaches His followers to be a light to the nations (Matthew 5:14–16). Rather than bringing people to a central place of worship, believers—who are themselves temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)—are to go to the ends of the earth, taking the Good News of God’s grace to all the peoples of the world (Matthew 28:19).