January 11, 2023
Thank you for your commitment to pray each Wednesday for prodigals and for revival among us. We live in difficult and uncertain times, maybe more so now than ever before. Our solid foundation is that God is among us! He is here. He will not leave us alone. These were the words of Jesus before He returned to His Father: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
When you turn the page of Scripture to 2 Chronicles, you will learn that the life depicted there was also very difficult and uncertain — a common situation in history. At the beginning of the book, young King Solomon is on the throne. Can he rule the people of God? After him, the kingdom is split. What will happen? Are God’s promises for the future forfeited? By the end of the book, King Zedekiah has been taken captive by Babylon and Jerusalem has fallen.
But God was still among His people! This is a truth that has not changed to this present day!
The notable and visible reality of God’s presence among His people in ancient days was evident in the portable tabernacle, used while going through the wilderness from Egypt to Canaan. In 2 Chronicles, with His people settled in the land, the emphasis is on the temple, which was the permanent structure known as the house of the LORD or the house of God. The one place where God lived on earth.
Notice how things evolved in 2 Chronicles with respect to the temple.
Firstly, the house of the Lord was built. This task came to Solomon; his father David, who had wanted to build it, was a man of war, so God didn’t permit him to do so.
Interestingly, King David made preparations for the building of the temple with gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood, precious stones, and marble (1 Chronicles 29:1-5).
2 Chronicles 1 to 4, reveals that Solomon put tremendous effort and care into the building of God’s house. It was a place of magnificence and splendor. While it is impossible to fully know, scholars have estimated that its material worth would be in the billions of present-day currency. Suffice it to say, there was no reserve in giving God the very best. According to 1 Kings 6:38, it took him 7 years to complete.
Secondly, the house of the LORD was filled. 2 Chronicles 5 tells how Solomon gathered all the people to the temple, and in great procession, the ark of the covenant was brought to the temple.
As the ark was brought to the holy of holies by the designated priests, the music played and the song was raised in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 5:13).
“The house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). This building, this temple, was set apart by God to be His house, and thus His glory filled it.
Thirdly, the house of the LORD was dedicated. Solomon blessed the people and dedicated the temple with sacrifices and prayer for 7 days (2 Chronicles 6-7). As he did this, God appeared to him and said, “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).
What a great promise God gave to His people that day! The principles of that promise are still true in our personal lives today. If we humble ourselves, if we pray and seek God’s face, if we turn from our sin, He will hear, forgive, and bring wholeness to our lives.
Fourthly, the house of the LORD was repaired. Sadly, God’s people turned from Him to serve the pagan, false gods of the land. The wonder, the glory, the thrill of God’s presence among them had lost its luster and appeal. While the temple was not totally abandoned, during the reign of wicked kings like Rehoboam, the priority of God was set aside. 2 Chronicles 12 reveals how Shishak King of Egypt came and took the treasures of the temple.
Fortunately, God raised up a king, Joash, who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and he restored and repaired the house of the LORD. This story is found in 2 Chronicles 24. And later a good king, Josiah, who found the Law of the LORD, brought the Passover feast and worship back to the people.
Lastly, the house of the LORD was burnt. God allowed Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon to invade and destroy Jerusalem and His temple. God’s people had disobeyed Him, had disregarded His Law, and were determined to go their own way, resulting in their 70-year captivity.
While they abandoned God, He did not abandon them. He remained with them through it all from the beginning to the end. While there are consequences to sin, that truth is still the same today, “If we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13).
Enjoy the fullness of His presence today!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel