2018-03-21 / Religion

Keep my statutes and ordinances

Sunday School Lesson
Rev. James Temples

2 Chronicles 7:12-22

The dedication of the temple was one of the highlights in the reign of King Solomon. This kind of activity was not common in the kingdoms that were located in that part of the ancient world — it is less well known in our present day.

As the king and the people dedicated their place of worship, they must have been astounded to see the immediate divine response. “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.

The human response to this supernatural manifestation was a time of celebration. This celebration lasted eight days. 2 Chronicles 7:10. The record tells us that “the people went away into their tents (dwellings), glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.” 2 Chronicles 7:10.

Solomon has experienced a direct encounter with Jehovah at the very beginning of his reign. At that time, the request had been made for divine help in governing the people — “Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” 1 Kings 3:9.

After the dedication, Solomon had a divine visitation. “And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer [of dedication], and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.” 2 Chronicles 7:12.

Even as he prayed, Solomon knew that the people might not be faithful in their worship of the God of their fathers. He described situations that would cause their promised faithfulness to waver. In the divine conversation, God addressed the same conditions. Since theirs was an agricultural economy, this situation was addressed — “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…” 2 Chronicles 7:13. The actions and attitude of the people would be able to reverse these pictures of divine destruction — "If my people, which are called by my name, shall (1) humble themselves, and (2) pray, and (3) seek my face, and (4) turn from their wicked ways; then will I (a) hear from heaven, and will (b) forgive their sin, and will (c) heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Even though this promise was made to ancient Israel, there is no indication in scripture that the divine principle has changed. There are some Bible instructors who teach that this promise was made for Israel, only. If this promise was given under the Old Covenant, how much greater are the promises given under the New Covenant through Jesus Christ!

God promised to Solomon, “Now mine eyes shall be open, and my ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:15. The reason is given — “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.” 2 Chronicles 7:16.

God made a promise to David concerning the future of the nation and his kingdom. Regarding his son, who would follow him in the position as king, God declared, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.” 2 Samuel 7:14, 15.

Solomon had met with God — in a dream — in the early part of his reign. After this dedication and assurance of the presence of God, this present dream turned to the life of the king — “And as for thee, if thou wilt (1) walk before me, as David thy father walked, and (2) do according to all that I have commanded thee, and (3) shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I establish throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler I Israel.” 2 Chronicles 7:17, 18.

The action and attitude of the king would determine the presence or absence of the divine guidance for all the people of the land. “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 make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.” 2 Chronicles 7:19, 20.

The king was given additional information regarding the degrading attitude of foreigners, as they would view the ruined sacred place. “And this house, which is high shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, What hath the Lord done 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.” 2 Chronicles 7:21, 22.

We are not in the same position as king Solomon, but we are expected to be obedient to the revealed will and plan of God. Solomon was not obedient to his divine call, and it cost the nation a great price. We can learn from the mistakes of others, and know a life of peace, through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ our Lord. John 14:27.

Rev. James C. Temples’ Sunday School Lesson has appeared in the Early County News each week since 1967. He can be contacted at P. O. Box 1484, Swainsboro, GA 30401; 478- 299- 2068. Email: temples_ james@yahoo.com

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