2 Chronicles 6:12–8:10
It must have been an awesome sight to see; the nation of Israel assembled together in order to dedicate the Temple to the LORD.
Solomon was lifted up on a platform, kneeling down, with his hands raised to God; he had the magnificent Temple as his backdrop. He knew that God doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands, that even all the “heavens” could not contain Him, but He did ask God to make this place special and set apart to Him. The most common theme throughout his prayer was that if God’s people were ever in need, that they’d be able to pray toward this Temple, which now symbolized the covenant of faith in Him, and that God would hear their prayer, forgive their sins, and meet those needs.
It may even be times of discipline for sin. Because God loves us He disciplines us and things are allowed to happen. It might be times of defeat in war, drought in the land, even a plague or pestilence among the people (we’ve recently gone through something like this with Covid-19). Whatever the situation is, Solomon prayed for God to hear, to forgive, and to heal…whenever the people of God sought Him like this, in prayer and sincerity (from the heart).
This prayer of Solomon’s was not limited to the nation of Israel:
2 Chronicles 6:32–33 (NKJV) “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; 33 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.”
Solomon knew that the LORD wants ALL people to be saved, that’s part of the reason he built this Temple (Matthew 28:19; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9).
Did you catch that passage in 2 Chronicles 6:36 where Solomon tells that there is no one who does not sin? We all sin, and we all need forgiveness. God has made provision…we simply need to come to Him, humbly, and confess our sins – He is faithful and just to wash us and make us as white as snow (Isaiah 1:8; Revelation 1:5; 1 John 1:9).
God heard Solomon’s prayer and even answered with fire and a manifestation of His special presence.
2 Chronicles 7:1–2 (NKJV) “When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.”
Solomon continues to offer sacrifices, seeking the LORD and God appeared to Him by night and affirmed His answer. It’s here we have one of the most famous passages in all the Bible. The LORD is speaking to Solomon in this context of days of discipline. He offers this promise:
2 Chronicles 7:13–14 (NKJV) “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
I believe this principle still stands. It’s on us. If we (the church) literally called by His name (Christ – Christians) will humble ourselves, pray, seek God, and repent – His promise is to hear, forgive, and heal.
O Lord, please help me (us) to pray the way we should.
Solomon went on to do a lot of building buildings, but I wonder if he built himself up in the faith? (Jude 20)
There’s a war within us. Paul teaches about the sin-nature which resides within – it’s carnal, sinful, and even sold under sin. It brings us to a terrible place of doing evil, and the things we hate, while the things we want to do, we do not do. There’s a war within us – between the sinful nature and the new man (the inner man) who longs to please God.
Sandy Adams said, “The inner man loves God but the outer man is conditioned to sin.”
What can we do to win this war? Is there any hope?
Paul closes with those classic words in:
Romans 7:24-25a (NKJV) “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Jesus Christ delivers us, saves us from the power and penalty of sin. He bathes us in His blood (saved) and He baptizes us in His Spirit (sanctified) (Matthew 3:11; Romans 8).
O Lord, I thank You for that strong hope I have, that in You I can be the man that You want me to be.
This leads the way to the message in Romans 8, which is the one of the most amazing chapters in all the Bible – no amount of human words will ever do it justice.
Paul begins with that beautiful promise that there is no condemnation to the Christian, for he is in Christ Jesus. Often times the enemy tries to condemn us, accuse us, rob us of the joy of our salvation, especially if we’ve blown it. Beware of condemnation and remember this, the condemnation of the devil drives you away from God, but Christian conviction brings you closer to God. You run to Him and ask Him for help and forgivness.
Paul spends some quality time teaching us that Christ has done something the law or flesh could never do – He saved us. He’s given us the capacity to live according to the Spirit; to be Spiritually minded, and actually please God.
Before I was a Christian I had no conviction or power over sin. I DID have a conscience but I had no problem violating it and eventually searing it, ignoring it (in some ways). Now that we’re Christians we have a new mind, and we can set it to think on good things…to seek the Lord, to read His Word. If we can win the battle in the mind – renew it and set it on God, we can walk in the Spirit in order to please the Lord.
Romans 8:5–6 (NKJV) “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
Romans 8 starts with the mind.
This Psalm was written and sung when God had delivered David from all of his enemies. Imagine that!
God gets all the glory, and yet David teaches us how to make sure we have that same victory, by crying out to God (Psalm 18:6).
When you first cry out to God and call on the name of the Lord, you will be saved…that’s the first step. We then spend the rest of our lives talking to God, turning to God, and trusting Him every step of the way. We are no match for our enemies, but they are no match for Him!
This Psalm is a powerful presentation of the way God defeats the devil.
Psalm 18:6 (NKJV) “In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry came before Him, even to His ears.”
What should our response be to the way God hears our cries (our prayers)?
To love Him…something David determined to do:
Psalm 18:1 (NKJV) “I will love You, O LORD, my strength.”
Let’s pray with ALL our hearts. God will deliver us from ALL our enemies. Another reason to spend ALL our days just loving Him.
Proverbs 19:24 (NKJV) “A lazy man buries his hand in the bowl, and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.”
“The sluggard (see also Proverbs 6:6, 9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 20:4; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13–16) is so lazy that, comically, he does not even have the strength to lift his hand from his dish … to his mouth to satisfy his hunger. This idea is repeated in almost the same words in Proverbs 26:15.”
Reminds me of a sloth which sleeps 15 hours a day or more. It doesn’t go far in life, traveling a total of 41 yards a day, at best.
No, not us, we should be HARD workers for God.
Proverbs 19:25 (NKJV) “Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary; rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.”
It’s so important to learn from the mistakes of others! That’s one of the ways we learn, even if we’re young and naive (simple). Sometimes I’ll see a story of some pastor who fell into sexual sin and the devastation it did. I become wary (cautious).
If you’re someone a little wiser (who has understanding) you will also learn to receive rebukes.
The NLT puts it this way:
Proverbs 19:25 (NLT) “If you punish a mocker, the simpleminded will learn a lesson; if you correct the wise, they will be all the wiser.”
God help us to learn…and be all the wiser for it.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.