HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER
Lord, thank You for Your unconditional love.
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.
What are the greatest burdens of your heart today? In prayer, use your imagination and hand each one to God saying, “Thank You, Heavenly Father…”
The two main features of this passage are the temple’s dedication to the Lord and the Lord’s visitation to Solomon. But there’s a third feature, too, which undergirds the first two.
No one in Israel needed to watch the film God’s Not Dead (in which a student challenges his college philosophy professor about the existence of God) to know that God is real. When the fire comes down from heaven and the glory of the Lord fills the temple, nobody needs persuasion (1,2). Today, many people confidently assert that there’s no way to prove God exists. Some are atheists and others claim to be agnostic; ironically, they also believe it’s impossible to believe. So why doesn’t God just unleash some spectacular heavenly sign so that unbelievers will believe?
The reason is embedded in the second feature of this passage: God’s message that he wants his people to “humble themselves and pray and seek my face” (14). The assumption isn’t that people will never sin. Indeed, God knows they will. The point is that when they do sin, which way will they turn—from their wicked ways (14) or from God and his commands (19)? All the proof in the world won’t dissuade someone who is determined to turn away from God. Belief bears on both the evidence and the will. That’s why the third feature of this passage is so wonderful: the people “gave thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever’” (3). The big story of the Bible is that, despite our tendency to reject God, he keeps loving us. Jesus put it this way: “There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:7). That’s the most incredible miracle of all!
Read Psalm 136, aloud if you are able. Add your own personal thanksgivings, followed by “His love endures forever.”
Lord, we humble ourselves before You in a posture of deference and supplication as we fully realize whom we are addressing.