May 12, 2007
II Chronicles 6-8
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- Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.
- But I have built an house of habitation for thee, and a place for thy dwelling for ever.
- And the king turned his face, and blessed the whole congregation of Israel: and all the congregation of Israel stood.
- And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who hath with his hands fulfilled that which he spake with his mouth to my father David, saying,
- Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel:
- But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.
- Now it was in the heart of David my father to build an house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
- But the LORD said to David my father, Forasmuch as it was in thine heart to build an house for my name, thou didst well in that it was in thine heart:
- Notwithstanding thou shalt not build the house; but thy son which shall come forth out of thy loins, he shall build the house for my name.
- The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he hath spoken: for I am risen up in the room of David my father, and am set on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel.
- And in it have I put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel.
- And he stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands:
- For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven,
- And said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in the heaven, nor in the earth; which keepest covenant, and shewest mercy unto thy servants, that walk before thee with all their hearts:
- Thou which hast kept with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him; and spakest with thy mouth, and hast fulfilled it with thine hand, as it is this day.
- Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which thou hast promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as thou hast walked before me.
- Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let thy word be verified, which thou hast spoken unto thy servant David.
- But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
- Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee:
- That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.
- Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.
- If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house;
- Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
- And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house;
- Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
- When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;
- Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.
- If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be:
- Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house:
- Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)
- That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.
- Moreover concerning the stranger, which is not of thy people Israel, but is come from a far country for thy great name's sake, and thy mighty hand, and thy stretched out arm; if they come and pray in this house;
- Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for; that all people of the earth may know thy name, and fear thee, as doth thy people Israel, and may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name.
- If thy people go out to war against their enemies by the way that thou shalt send them, and they pray unto thee toward this city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name;
- Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
- If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near;
- Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
- If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
- Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.
- Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
- Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in goodness.
- O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant.
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- 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.
- And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house.
- And when 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 is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
- Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.
- And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
- And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
- Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.
- Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
- And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
- And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he 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.
- Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king's house: and all that came into Solomon's heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
- And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
- If 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;
- If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
- Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
- For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
- And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
- Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
- But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
- Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
- And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?
- And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
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- And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, wherein Solomon had built the house of the LORD, and his own house,
- That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.
- And Solomon went to Hamath-zobah, and prevailed against it.
- And he built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the store cities, which he built in Hamath.
- Also he built Beth-horon the upper, and Beth-horon the nether, fenced cities, with walls, gates, and bars;
- And Baalath, and all the store cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities, and the cities of the horsemen, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and throughout all the land of his dominion.
- As for all the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which were not of Israel,
- But of their children, who were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel consumed not, them did Solomon make to pay tribute until this day.
- But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen.
- And these were the chief of king Solomon's officers, even two hundred and fifty, that bare rule over the people.
- And Solomon brought up the daughter of Pharaoh out of the city of David unto the house that he had built for her: for he said, My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places are holy, whereunto the ark of the LORD hath come.
- Then Solomon offered burnt offerings unto the LORD on the altar of the LORD, which he had built before the porch,
- Even after a certain rate every day, offering according to the commandment of Moses, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts, three times in the year, even in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles.
- And he appointed, according to the order of David his father, the courses of the priests to their service, and the Levites to their charges, to praise and minister before the priests, as the duty of every day required: the porters also by their courses at every gate: for so had David the man of God commanded.
- And they departed not from the commandment of the king unto the priests and Levites concerning any matter, or concerning the treasures.
- Now all the work of Solomon was prepared unto the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD, and until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was perfected.
- Then went Solomon to Ezion-geber, and to Eloth, at the sea side in the land of Edom.
- And Huram sent him by the hands of his servants ships, and servants that had knowledge of the sea; and they went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and took thence four hundred and fifty talents of gold, and brought them to king Solomon.
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Thought for the day:
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II Chronicles 7:14 is an oft-quoted passage of Scripture. It reads,
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
This verse was given to Israel as a formula for dealing with the difficulties they faced which had been brought about because of sin. While we do not live in a Theocracy today, and while the United States is not the Promised Land, nevertheless the principle found here remains valid.
The first aspect of this principle is that the problems that face our nation are rooted in the carnality of the believer. We like to blame the politicians and the immoral for our problems, but the Lord said that the solution would be found if "His people, which are called by His name" would change. We will never be able to change society, which is beyond our control, if we refuse to change ourselves, which is within our control. It is the backslidden Christian who has allowed sin to get such a grip in our country. It is the apathetic Christian who allows his neighbors to go un-evangelized, and thus condemns them to remain in wickedness. It is the worldly Christian who tolerates sin in his personal life who ultimately tolerates sin in society. Thus, the problem lies with us.
What is the solution? God's people must humble themselves, pray, seek God's face, and turn. First, we must realize our error. We must stop blaming others, and put the onus where it belongs: squarely on our shoulders. Once we see our fault, then we must cry out to God, and seek His forgiveness and direction. It would be foolish to realize our need, and then not go to the One Who is able to take care of it. Having admitted guilt and gone to God in confession, we must then be willing to repent. Repentance is not simply sorrow, but rather it is the turning away from sin unto righteousness. It is not enough to admit that our actions are wrong; it is necessary to turn away from them and begin moving in the right direction. Carnality and apathy must be replaced with godliness and concern.
Once the believer has done this, God promises that He will hear. The Scriptures tell us that the Lord does not hear the prayers of those who have unconfessed sin (
Isaiah 59:2), but once confession has been made, the Lord's ears are opened once again. He will forgive, for His character demands it and He has promised it to all who confess their sins (
I John 1:9). Finally, He states that He will heal the land. I believe that this means that He will remove from it that which He has allowed to come in because of our sin. Perhaps this means that laws allowing abortion will be overturned. Perhaps it means that some of the devastating natural disasters that have taken place on our shores recently will not reoccur. Perhaps our nation's enemies, and particularly those who hate not only America, but particularly despise the Bible and It's God, will be driven away, never to bother us with their terrorism again.
It is time to stop looking talking about the sin problem facing our nation, and start doing something about it. Salvation can only come to this land when we who know the truth begin living the truth, and we can start by admitting our failures and begging God for His forgiveness and His power. Once we get right with God, it could be amazing to see what He can do.
Pastor Dr. Mark J Montgomery