Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 6
Today’s Scripture reading continues the historical record when Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem. The text before us is nearly identical to that which we considered in 1 Kings 8.
As a reminder, 1 & 2 Chronicles are thought to have been penned by Ezra, the leader of the second remnant of Jews to return to Israel following the Babylonian captivity (Zerubbabel led the first remnant, and had rebuilt the Temple in 538 B.C.). When Ezra arrived in Jerusalem around 458 B.C., he found the Hebrew people had once again turned from the LORD, and His covenant with the nation (i.e., the Law and Commandments). For that reason, Ezra set forth a reminder of Israel’s history as a nation, and the glory of her golden years under the reigns of David and Solomon.
Having already detailed the furnishings of the Temple, and the sacrifices that hallowed the dedication of that house of worship, I invite you to consider Solomon’s posture and prayer of dedication.
With the Ark of the Covenant in its place beneath the outstretched wings of the cherubim in the Oracle (i.e., the Holy of Holies), the LORD descended upon the Temple in a cloud, and His presence had filled “the house of the LORD” (5:13-14). So great and awesome was the sight, that the priests dared not “stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God” (5:14).
The descent of the LORD in the cloud had confirmed for Solomon and the congregation of Israel, that God had blessed the Temple with His presence (6:1-2). We can imagine Solomon’s joy as he turned to the people and blessed them in the name of the LORD (6:3-4). Solomon recalled how the LORD had chosen David and his sons to be the lineage to rule Israel, and He had chosen the city of Jerusalem for His Temple and earthly-habitation (6:5-6). David had desired to build the Temple, but God had denied the king that privilege, and chose his son instead (6:7-9). All that the LORD had promised, He had fulfilled, and the presence of the LORD in the Temple was testimony to His blessing and presence (6:10-11).
Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication (6:12-21)
We have considered Solomon’s prayer in our study of 1 Kings 8:22-53, and it is again recorded for us in today’s Scripture. 2 Chronicles 6 gives us some detail regarding the king’s humble posture. We have seen how Solomon had humbled himself and prayed on his knees, but here we find he had knelt before the LORD and the people on a raised platform, with his hands uplifted toward heaven (6:12-13).
Solomon’s prayer acknowledged the greatness of the LORD, and that there was none other God like Him. He had kept covenant with His people, and promised mercy to those who would walk in obedience (6:14). The king acknowledged God’s faithfulness to His promises (6:15), and prayed the LORD would fulfill His promise for David’s lineage to rule as long as his children obeyed the law (6:16). Solomon longed for the perpetual presence of the LORD, and that every prayer of His people would be heard (6:17-21).
We have considered the specifics of Solomon’s prayers for God’s mercy upon Israel (6:22-27), and His request, should the people be driven out of the land and taken captive, the LORD would hear their cry and restore them to the land (6:28-31).
2 Chronicles 6:32-33 reminds us that the LORD’s presence in Israel was to be a testimony to non-Hebrews that the God of heaven hears and answers the prayers of those who call upon Him. Like Daniel, who prayed toward Jerusalem when he was in captivity, Solomon prayed the LORD would hear the prayers of His people from afar, and would “maintain their cause” (Israel’s national interests as a people, 6:34-35).
Acknowledging the universal sinfulness of humanity, Solomon prayed, “there is no man which sinneth not” (6:36). The king prayed God would show His mercy to the people when they confess their sins, repent, and turn to Him (6:37-39).
Solomon’s prayer closed with him asking the LORD to not only hear his prayer, but for His presence to rest upon the Temple, and to “remember the mercies of David thy servant” (6:42).
Closing thought – Our next Scripture reading, 2 Chronicles 7, will begin with the LORD making His presence known in the fire He sent from heaven to consume the offerings (7:1). What a glorious confirmation of God’s presence and blessing!
Copyright © 2021 – Travis D. Smith