Scripture reading – 2 Chronicles 7; Psalm 136

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The reign of Solomon was a glorious time in Israel’s history. With humility, the young king requested that the LORD give him wisdom (2 Chronicles 1:10). God honored his request and promised him not only wisdom but also “riches, and wealth, and honour, such as none of the kings have had that have been before,” neither would there be any succeeding Solomon. (2 Chronicles 1:12).

Having fulfilled his father’s desire to build a house for the LORD, Solomon dedicated the Temple and adorned it with furnishings reflecting the majesty of the LORD (2 Chronicles 2-5). Then God’s Spirit descended upon the Temple in a cloud and displayed His glory and presence among His people (2 Chronicles 5:13).

Solomon then led the nation in worshipping the LORD. He affirmed that God’s hand and providence were upon them as His chosen people (2 Chronicles 6:1-11) and concluded with a prayer of dedication for the Temple (2 Chronicles 6:12-42). How did the LORD respond to Solomon’s prayer?

A Glorious Confirmation (2 Chronicles 7:1-2)

We read, “Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house” (2 Chronicles 7:1; 1 Kings 8:63-64).

The presence of the LORD was so powerful that “the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house” (2 Chronicles 7:2).

 

How did Israel respond to the display of God’s presence? (2 Chronicles 7:3)

 “All the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he [the LORD] is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (2 Chronicles 7:3)

 

The Sacrifices Solomon Offered to the LORD (2 Chronicles 7:4-7)

The king led the people in giving offerings as they “dedicated the house of God” (2 Chronicles 7:5). The priests also began their ministries in the Temple and around the altar as the Levites took up the instruments David prepared for the occasion, and began to praise the LORD in music and with the sound of the trumpets (2 Chronicles 7:6-7).

 

A Celebration of the Feast Days (2 Chronicles 7:8-11)

The seven-day-long celebration of the Temple dedication preceded the observance of the Feast of the Tabernacles (7:8-9; Leviticus 23:34-36, 39-43). So, the people were united for fourteen days as they celebrated the Temple dedication and the feast (7:8-9).

When the celebration ended, Solomon “sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel His people” (7:10). 2 Chronicles 7:11 gives testimony of God’s grace and blessings on Solomon, for “all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected” (7:11).

The LORD’s Appearance to Solomon and His Answer to the King’s Prayer (2 Chronicles 7:12-16)

The LORD responded to Solomon’s prayer and confirmed that He had chosen the Temple as His “house of sacrifice” (2 Chronicles 7:12). He affirmed He would hear and answer the people’s prayers when they sinned, were assailed by troubles and were taken captive. The LORD promised:

2 Chronicles 7:13–1413If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turnfrom their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Solomon was promised that when calamitous times would come upon the nation because they had sinned and broken their covenant with Him (7:13) if the people would “Humble themselves…PraySeek His face…and Turn” from their sins, He would forgive the sins of His people and heal the land (2 Chronicles 7:14b).

2 Chronicles 7:14 was not a new covenant but a restatement of the covenant the LORD established with Israel in the wilderness and was recorded in the Law and Commandments (Exodus 19:5; 34:6-7). Yet, the fulfillment of the covenant promises was conditioned upon the people obeying the LORD.

 

Closing thoughts –

The covenant promises given to Israel express the longing in the hearts of sincere believers. When I consider the times in which we live, I find my country and the nations of the world are troubled by wickedness and overshadowed by adversities.

Should we not be moved to humble ourselves before the LORD? Is it not time to search our hearts and confess personal and national sins? Should we not earnestly seek the LORD’s forgiveness and claim His promise to Israel that He might show mercy and heal our land, families, churches, and nation?

I have no more excellent way to conclude today’s study than to commend the reading of Psalm 136 which invites us to “give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: For his mercy endureth for ever” (Psalm 136:1).

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith 

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