Sit quietly and focus on God. Let him remind you of all that he is. Praise him!
Read 2 Chronicles 7:1–22
The Dedication of the Temple
7 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,
“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. 5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. 6 The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the Lord and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, “His love endures forever.” Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.
7 Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions.
8 So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more. 10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.
The Lord Appears to Solomon
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’
19 “But if you[a] turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you[b] and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 This temple will become a heap of rubble. All[c] who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’”
a 2 Chronicles 7:19 The Hebrew is plural.
b 2 Chronicles 7:19 The Hebrew is plural.
c 2 Chronicles 7:21 See some Septuagint manuscripts, Old Latin, Syriac, Arabic and Targum; Hebrew And though this temple is now so imposing, all
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat do you think it would have been like to be present at this gathering?
God comes in glory—again (5:13,14). How do we understand God’s glory? It’s not an easy idea to get hold of. It suggests worth, value, status. Here it refers to God‘s presence seen and felt by his people. What did they experience? Perhaps something like the pillars of cloud and fire in Exodus or the cloud at Sinai (Exod. 24:17). Whatever actually took place, it was something both beautiful and awesome, attractive but overwhelming. Some of us will have had experiences of God a little like that when we feel very close to him.
How do we respond to such experiences of God? When the Israelites recognized the glory of the Lord, they knelt face-down on the ground (3). This is not a “best friend” sort of God; he is the awesome and powerful creator of the universe. But he is also the One whose love endures forever (3,6). They worshipped in style, at some cost (5) and with enthusiasm (6,8,10). Capturing this full vision of God is not easy. Somehow we have to hold together his power and majesty, his holiness and justice, his love and grace. When we meet together let’s encourage one another to look for a bigger vision of God; let’s never assume that we have discovered all there is.
Is your image of God too small? Our God is limitless. How can you expand your vision of God today? Can you start praying bigger prayers? Or remind yourself of God’s incredible acts in his word?
Take time to quiet your mind. Ask God to show you more of himself.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.