Friday, February 20, 2015

Journal Through the Bible: Week 93 Friday

II Chronicles chapter 7

Looking back over the events of Israel's history, the author of these chronicles, who was most likely the Priest Ezra, told those returning from captivity that God had answered Solomon's prayer on Mount Moriah in the same manner that He later would answer the prayer of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices.

Once again it is noted that the glory of the LORD filled the house and the priests could not enter. The people who witnessed this event immediately fell to their knees with their faces to the ground in worship and praise.

Does God issue any commands?
  • Solomon consecrated the Temple with offerings and sacrifices such as God had commanded in the book of Leviticus.
  • God commanded Solomon to follow His commands and worship only Him.

Does God make any promises?
  • Solomon sent the people to their homes on the 23rd day. They were "glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people" (verse 10). This was confirmation of God keeping His promises.
  • The LORD appeared to Solomon by night and said that He had chosen the Temple for a house of sacrifice. 
  • God promised that after the people sinned if they would humble themselves, pray, seek His face, turn from their wicked ways God would forgive their sin and heal their land.
  • God promised that He would be attentive to the prayers made in that place.
  • God made a personal promise to Solomon that if he would walk before Him as David did by doing according to all that God commanded him, He would establish his throne forever but if Solomon turned away from God He would remove the people from the land and tear down the Temple so that all would be astonished.

Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
  • When the people witnessed the glory of the LORD in a visible way they bowed and worshiped God. Romans 14:11 and Philippians 2:10 say that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. The Apostle John said in John 1:14 that "we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." John was a witness to the glorified Christ both in the Transfiguration and as the risen Savior. 
  • During this dedication period the people kept the Feast of Tabernacles which was a time of celebrating both the tents they lived in during the Exodus and the fact that the Messiah would "tabernacle" with men. Jesus took on human flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).
  • God promised to be attentive to the prayers made in the Temple because the place was a symbol of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ who came to tabernacle among men. Jesus told His followers that if we ask anything in His name in repentance and faith and according to the Father's will He will hear and answer our prayers.
  • Because Solomon and the people did not keep the commands of God and serve Him only, the covenant was broken. The continual rule of the family of David was broken, the people taken into captivity, and the Temple was destroyed at the time of the Babylonian conquest. Jesus restores the covenant once more. He is of the seed of David, He sets free those who are captive to sin, and He is our Temple (our altar of sacrifice, our High Priest, the dwelling of our God, the Chief Cornerstone, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, the sweet incense, the burnt offering, the sin offering, the Light that shines in the darkness, etc.).

Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
  • When the people personally witnessed the glory of the LORD it caused them to fall to the ground on their knees and faces to worship and praise Almighty God. This will undoubtedly be the reaction of every believer when he encounters God face to face in eternity. (Why not practice this posture now?) 
  • God made very specific appeals and promises to Solomon and the people. He promised to hear their prayers, forgive their sins, perpetually listen to the prayers made in that place on Mount Moriah, and heal their land if the people would worship only Him. They didn't. But God still makes specific appeals and promises to those who will turn from their sins and trust Him today. He hears our prayers, forgives our sins, and one day He will again heal the land and take possession of it where His people will be free to talk openly with Him and worship Him out of grateful hearts.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Psalms 19:14 (KJV)