“…rejoicing and happy of heart because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel.”
When you know someone is caring for you, you are free from worry. This effect is on display here with the people having seen evidence of God’s care. This was Jesus’s point in directing people’s attention to the way God cares for the flowers and the birds. What better way to help people find release from worry than to stand with them in thoughtful caring, as though you were embodying Christ’s care for them?
Then on the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their tents, rejoicing and happy of heart because of the goodness that the Lord had shown to David and to Solomon and to His people Israel. vs. 10
Not every day is a festival day. Not every experience is on the mountain. These are moments that when totaled are far outnumbered by the regular, the mundane, and even the bleak, but they matter. They matter because of their uniqueness. Those times when you feel so near to the Lord can be a lifeline for the times when you are searching for his presence. It doesn’t mean that the Lord has left you, but perhaps you have allowed other things to cloud your vision. If you are in one of those times of distance right now stop and remember when you felt the overwhelming presence of God in your life. May that serve as a buoy for your heart right now, and inspire you to move once again toward him.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through 2 Chronicles 7:1-10 in our Spring Sermon Series: “SOLOMON – Building A Place of Worship.”
“When […] there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin […] send rain on Your land.” 26-27
There must have been a lot of repenting this week, because we had not gotten rain like that in a very long time! For clarity, I do not know if God continues to use weather patterns as a punishment for sin, but let me ask you a few questions:
Did you go outside after the rain let up? What did you see? Were the colors of the land brighter? Had there been new growth? How was nature reacting?
The rain was a cleansing for the land. Confession and repentance does the same thing for our soul. Every thing is brighter. We are seeing the world without a layer grime blocking our vision. New growth begins to come up in the form of relationships. Our relationship with others is restored. Our relationship with God flourishes. The storms that roll through can be dark and frightening, as can confession, but the healing that comes as a result makes the storm worth enduring.
The temple was a house of prayer. The whole purpose of atoning sacrifices was to pave the way for the people to commune with God; to petition him from out of their brokenness and sin, to find wholeness again. This ornate building was to be a constant reminder of that reality, that the God who fashioned the heavens and the earth, gave the people his name on which to call, giving his infinite and glorious attention to a people who need his help.
The temple was a sign of hope and promise:
That if they would humble themselves and call upon the Lord, they would be saved.
Jesus, is not a sign, he is the truth. He is temple, sacrifice, and high priest…
God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12
“Now, O my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.”6:40. The opportunity to communicate with each other has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, thanks in large part to technology. Cell phones, FaceTime, Instant Messages all make it easier these for communication to happen. Yet, there are still moments when communication becomes hindered and/or impossible.Loss of signal, dead battery, cell phone turned off, lost, or left behind. One of the great hopes and pleas in Solomon’s prayer is that God would hear his prayer and the prayers of the people (notice it’s both Israel and foreigners- but that’s another blog). God’s capacity to hear us never fails. No lost signals, no dead batteries, always listening. Does that bring you joy?Does that give you hope?Does that cause you to want to share your heart and thoughts with Him?
Solomon left no stone unturned…what a prayer of dedication and commitment! Solomon acknowledged God’s covenant keeping relationship with His people. He prayed for His lovingkindness…His favor…His justice…His forgiveness. He asked for restoration…for provision and relief when needed. Solomon sought proclamation…salvation…the presence of God. The king seemed to foresee every situation that might come up in the life of Israel.
Israel did not know what their needs would be in the future, but they had a king who interceded for them with the Father. Often, we do not know how to pray. We are overwhelmed with life and can only groan before the Father. Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;” The Spirit prays for us according to the will of God.
Intercession on our behalf is a blessed gift. What a privilege we have to do the same for others. Who do you know that you can pray for right now?
“Hear from your dwelling place, from heaven; hear and forgive.”
A person dies without fellowship – that physical and emotional welcoming of the whole person into the presence of others. From a baby’s need for nurturing touch and mother’s voice to an old man’s need for the grip of a friend’s hand and the sound of a neighbor’s greeting, people’s bodies and spirits need fellowship with one another. We will die – body and spirit – without it. Forgiveness – deciding not to punish a person when that person has sinned against you – is a necessary foundation of fellowship. To live in each other’s presence requires that nothing prevent intimacy between you and the other. We learn forgiveness from God. When he forgives, he is breathing life into us. When we forgive, we do the same. No wonder he commands us to forgive one another.
…if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been taken captive, and pray toward their land which You have given to their fathers and the city which You have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Your name,39 then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You. vs. 38-39
In the midst of all the wonderful descriptions about the Temple and all of its contents, this stands out to me the most. The building is vast and grand beyond description, but the message of forgiveness is greater than any amount of gold. Solomon recognizes here that God’s people will not always dwell in the magnificence of the building; they will eventually come off the mountain and lose sight and memory of the closeness they once had with the Lord. There is a way back, however, and that is the theme of the Gospel. God has made a way for those who love and follow him to be restored. It is through repentance. Have you forgotten the wonder of the presence of God, do you need forgiveness? Good news, it is waiting for you.
Join us as Senior Pastor Chris Johnson, Associate Pastor Aaron Hufty and Associate Pastor Bryan Richardson walk us through 2 Chronicles 6:12-42 in our Spring Sermon Series: “SOLOMON – Building A Place of Worship.”