2 Chronicles 6

II Chronicles 6
by Pastor Mark Hudson

II Chronicles 6

The ark is now at the temple so the in chapter 6, we read Solomon’s speech in vs. 1-11 and in 6:12-7:3 is Solomon’s prayer.  Looking at his speech, Solomon thinks of the temple as a place where God will dwell forever.  This is no small event in the life of Israel.  If you read through David’s life quickly just reading for the parts you like, you may not consider the amount of time and effort King David exerts to prepare for this moment.  This is a huge accomplishment.

In fact, at the end of Solomon’s prayer and the beginning of chapter 7, fire came down from heaven and “consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.  This is a tremendous and significant event that we must not minimize.

Solomon expresses thanks to God in his speech in the first section of this chapter.  Solomon is under no illusion that this temple can contain God, yet Solomon realizes the completion of this temple meant so much to his father, David and is a promise from God Himself.  Solomon quotes God reminding the people that God choose David and Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was chosen “that My name may be there”  and David was chosen to govern His people.  So, this moment of the ark coming to the newly built temple, the temple where sacrifices would take place, was part of God’s plan for the salvation of others.  The completed temple was a demonstration that God has “fulfilled his promise that He made” in v. 10.  The ark residing in the temple, where it ought to be, is a further indication of completion and fulfillment.

In v. 12 to the end of this chapter, we see Solomon praying.  Solomon begins by standing in front of everyone with his hands spread out.  He is standing on a platform.  But then Solomon kneels in front of everyone, spreading “his hands toward heaven” and prays.  You can imagine the impact that had on the people of Israel to see their king kneeling and praying.

Notice the conditionality of v. 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.’”  One of the theological problems we encounter in the Old Testament is the emphasis on the ‘eternal’ covenant and the removal of kings from the throne as well as the ejection of the people from the promised land.  One of the ways to clear up the difficulty is to remember the inherent conditions of this covenant.

In other words, God will be faithful but if His covenant people are unfaithful, they have no claim to the promise of the covenant.  By their sin and rebellion, they have removed themselves from any right or privilege of the covenant.  This is what I Chr 28:7-9 asserts, where God is speaking to David about Solomon, “I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments and my rules, as he is today.’ 8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek out all the commandments of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and leave it for an inheritance to your children after you forever. “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

Yet, while Solomon did not finish well, notice Solomon manifests sound theology in his prayer.  His beginning statement is simple yet profound, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven or on earth. . . .   This simple declaration still has meaning for Christians almost 3,000 years later.  Solomon, for all his sins and faults in the future, knew this to be true.  This God is active.  He keeps covenant or He is trustworthy and shows “steadfast love to Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts” in v 14.  This turns out to be a message that Solomon will learn because He sinned against God and made some massive mistakes that hurt the nation of Israel.  More important than hurting the nation of Israel, Solomon sinned against a holy God.

As we mentioned above, Solomon knew that “heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house that I have built” v. 18. He reminds his audience that God doesn’t live in this house.  His presence will remain, but we need to be clear that God is a Spirit, and we must not of Him the way we think of other people.

No Christian could pray the way Solomon does when he talks about praying in this house or toward this house, but we are told to pray continually (I Thess. 5:17) and we know God listens to the prayers of His people (I Jn 5:14).  So, things have changed: no central temple since our Lord can be worshipped in many different settings.  No need for an ark since presence of Christ is always with us by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Dear heavenly Father, the entire Old Testament was written for our encouragement so that we might have hope (Rom. 15:4).  While things may have changed for us; You remain the same.  Your presence is with us in ways Old Testament believers would marvel at.  Yet, we are often more interested in videos on the internet, watching tv, or spending time working.  Forgive our worldliness and hard-heartedness.  Revive us, wake us up and fill us with Your Spirit so the attraction to sin is shown to be the scam it is. In the strong name of our risen Savior.  Amen.