GOOD MORNING, SIBLINGS!
Today’s readings are 2 Chronicles 6-8
We open with Solomon blessing the people of Israel. How does He do this? By reminding them of all that YHWH has done.
We are commanded to tell these stories to our children, the miracles YHWH performed for our ancestors, the miracles He has performed for us, the miracles He still performs today. Deut 4:9, Deut 6:7, Deut 11:19 Deut 32:46, Genesis 18:19, Psalm 78:3-8, Exodus 10:2, Exodus 13:8-9, Psalm 71:18, Exodus 13:14-16, Joshua 4:6-7.
When does a parent repeat themselves? When it is important.
It is so vitally important that we tell of His wondrous deeds because, despite His majesty, we are prone to forget. That is why, in His wisdom, He actually commands us to tell our children and our children’s children. This is yet another benefit of the Biblical Feasts – they are set up as remembrances and as teaching tools so that we know our history, grow closer to YHWH, and help those dear to us to do the same.
2 Chronicles 6:13 …” Then he knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel…”
They were watching him, they were exalting him, and he cared only to exalt YHWH. This prayer in 2 Chronicles 6:14-17 repeats key principles that the Father has been teaching us since Genesis. They are just as relevant today as they were then.
14 and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 15 who have kept with your servant David my father what you declared to him. You spoke with your mouth, and with your hand have fulfilled it this day. 16 Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father what you have promised him, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons pay close attention to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’ 17 Now therefore, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant David.
2 Chronicles 6:22-42 contains a series of if/then statements. I underlined all of the key if/then words in my Bible to make them stand out. Make sure you read over all of them to see what is being requested.
A selfless prayer for the Foreigner:
32 “Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for the sake of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, 33 hear from heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.2 Chronicles 6:32-33
If you’re like me, you’ve come to feel a special place in your heart at mention of the Foreigner. The Father has always made special accommodations for any foreigner who would seek Him to be counted among His people. Of course, by now we know that we are counted among this number. So to see Solomon following after this pattern of YHWH and so selflessly and lovingly praying for the foreigner is deeply moving. Note that in this case this is a person who is not even currently in his kingdom or among his charges, is a beautiful model of love for fellow man. The Father models this with us, still, today. May we seek to follow His example, as Solomon did.
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 When you get to this passage, linger over it a few moments. Try to imagine what it must have been like to be among the crowd that day. Visualize it taking place and really let it sink in that it happened. Further, know that you will witness more than this someday.
If my people pray…
We hit on a key if/then statement today.
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
We need to look at what this is telling us will happen, as it is part of the cycle that Believers tend to follow again and again. Just as Father has a cycle of faithfulness and covenant keeping, we have a cycle of disobedience, leaning onto our own understanding, and covenant breaking.
To be clear, who is being talked about here? Drug dealers, human traffickers, thieves, etc? Nope. YHWH’s people. According to this passage, those called by His name are not seeking His face but are fully enveloped in their evil ways. While they are still living under the banner of being His people. The text also tells us that they are proud of this behavior. Again, this is what we would consider to be Christians today. As a result, the Father is not listening to their prayers. Why should He? They are devoted to their own ways, which are wicked and not in line with His, and they are seeking other gods.
We need to realize, first and foremost, that we are never neutral. We are either turning from our evil ways or turning away from His ways.
So what is the directive to YHWH’s people today?
- Humble ourselves
- Seek His face (His will, His desire)
- Turn FROM our own ways (which are wicked) – Teshuva
- Replace our ways with His
Then He will forgive our sin and heal our land. The problem occurs when we refuse to accept that we’ve sinned. Therefore the pride is turned up, our wicked ways are seen as good in our own eyes, and the cycle continues.
2 Chronicles 7:19-22 is a sobering passage about the effects of turning aside from the Father’s statutes and commandments that culminates with people witnessing the tragic state of YHWH’s chosen people and asking “Why had YHWH done thus to these people and this house?”
It is answered with:
“Because they abandoned YHWH, the God of their fathers…”
Because they abandoned YHWH.
Because they abandoned YHWH.
That word abandoned is a powerful one. Websters defines Abandon as “to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert:” Many of us know what it feels like to be abandoned. To think that we as YHWH’s people have done that to Him is a soul wrenching, gnashing of teeth level grief.
Solomon’s Slipping- And with 2 Chronicles 8:11 we see the first record of an unwise marriage for Solomon in which he marries the daughter of a Pharaoh and realizes she can’t live in the house of his father because the ark has been there and it therefore is holy – she is likely an idol worshipper and cannot be in the same place. Recall that YHWH instructed repeatedly not to intermarry with those who worship foreign gods.
It happens that quickly. But often, despite how obvious it is, to us it seems subtle.
Because they abandoned YHWH.
We finish our reading with Solomon keeping the feasts and observing the Sabbaths, as commanded. But he has already invited the leavening into his house and it has begun doing its work.
Father, show us how we have abandoned you today. Bring us back and help us mark the trail back so that others may follow.
Here is His response:
If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
He is faithful. Throughout it all, He is faithful.
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!