Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 6

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Today’s Scripture reading continues the historical record of Solomon dedicating the Temple in Jerusalem. The text before us is nearly identical to what 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 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.

In a prior devotion, we considered the furnishings of the Temple and the sacrifices that hallowed the dedication of that house of worship. In today’s Bible study, I invite you to consider Solomon’s posture and his 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. His presence then filled “the house of the LORD” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). So great and remarkable 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” (2 Chronicles 5:14).

2 Chronicles 6

Solomon’s Declaration of His Purpose in Building the Temple (2 Chronicles 6:1-11)

The descent of the LORD in the cloud confirmed for Solomon and the congregation of Israel that God had blessed the Temple with His presence (2 Chronicles 6:1-2). Imagine Solomon’s joy when he turned to the people and blessed them in the name of the LORD (2 Chronicles 6:3-4). The king recalled how the LORD chose David and his sons to be the lineage to rule Israel. Also, the LORD chose the city of Jerusalem for His Temple and earthly habitation (2 Chronicles 6:5-6).

David had desired to build the Temple, but the LORD denied the king that privilege and chose his son instead (2 Chronicles 6:7-9). Nevertheless, all the LORD promised He fulfilled, and the cloud that filled the Temple testified to His blessing and presence (2 Chronicles 6:10-11).

Solomon’s Dedicatory Prayer (2 Chronicles 6:12-42)

We considered Solomon’s prayer in our study of 1 Kings 8:22-53, which is again recorded in today’s Scripture. 2 Chronicles 6 gives us further detail regarding the king’s unpretentious posture before the LORD and the people. We saw how Solomon humbled himself and prayed on his knees. Still, here we find he also “stood before the altar of the LORD” on a raised platform, with his hands uplifted toward heaven (2 Chronicles 6:12). Then he “kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven” (2 Chronicles 6:13).

Solomon’s Reverence for the LORD (2 Chronicles 6:14-21)

Solomon’s prayer acknowledged the greatness of the LORD and that there was no other God like Him. He had kept His covenant with His people and promised mercy to those who would walk in obedience (2 Chronicles 6:14). The king acknowledged God’s faithfulness to His promises (2 Chronicles 6:15). He prayed the LORD would fulfill His promise for David’s lineage to rule as long as his children obeyed the law (2 Chronicles 6:16). Solomon longed for the perpetual presence of the LORD, and that every prayer of His people would be heard (2 Chronicles 6:17-21).

Solomon’s Petition for the People (2 Chronicles 6:22-35)

We have considered the specifics of Solomon’s prayers for God’s mercy upon Israel (2 Chronicles 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 (2 Chronicles 6:28-31).

2 Chronicles 6:32-33 reminds us that the LORD’s presence in Israel was 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 that He would “maintain their cause” (Israel’s national interests as a people, 2 Chronicles 6:34-35).

Closing thoughts –

Concluding his prayer, Solomon acknowledged the universal sinfulness of humanity. He prayed, “There is no man which sinneth not” (2 Chronicles 6:36). The king then prayed that God would show mercy to the people when they confessed their sins, repented, and turned to Him (2 Chronicles 6:37-39).

The king’s dedicatory prayer closed with him petitioning the LORD to hear his prayer and for His presence to rest upon the Temple and to remember especially His love and “mercies of [toward] David thy servant” (2 Chronicles 6:42).

Questions to ponder –

1) What did the Ark represent for Israel? (2 Chronicles 6:11)

2) What were two examples of Solomon’s posture before the LORD? (2 Chronicles 6:12-13)

3) What was Solomon’s prayer for non-Hebrew people who came to worship at the Temple? (2 Chronicles 6:32-33)

4) What was Solomon’s universal observation concerning the sinfulness of humanity? (2 Chronicles 6:36)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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