Holy God, invade the sanctuary of my heart as I worship You today. I need You more than ever.
Read 2 Chronicles 8:1-18
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The secret of life is pursuing one thing” (Soren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855). Do you need to face divided loyalties?
With an impressive capitol equipped with temple and palace, Solomon now redeploys his large workforce to improve the infrastructure of key cities across the land. Of the places mentioned, Hamath Zobah and Tadmor (3,4) are north of Damascus; Beth Horon and Baalath (5,6) are on the central route that connects Jerusalem to the Mediterranean coast, and Ezion Geber (17) is right down on the gulf of Aqaba. This was the greatest empire that Israel ever controlled.
Some scholars think this chapter is structured to lead into the section (12-15) that talks about the temple again and then back out to continue the theme of the growing wealth of the whole kingdom. The effect is to confirm that when the first priority is met and worship is attended to, then God responds by blessing the other aspects of the community’s life. It is also not sufficient to have one great inaugural celebration. It was important that Solomon made sure the regular rhythms were established—daily prayer, weekly and monthly worship and the major annual festivals. These were the things that would sustain the long term faith and commitment of the covenant community.
There is a brief reference to one of Solomon’s wives, the Egyptian princess whose home is to be kept separate from places the ark has been (11), places that have become associated with the holiness of the Lord. This mention, however, reminds us of the part of the story that the chronicler undoubtedly knew but omitted. 1 Kings tells us that Solomon allowed his many wives to have separate places to worship their gods and that gradually he joined in with them and his heart was no longer single-minded in devotion to the Lord (1 Kings 11:4).
We may become aware of failings of particular church leaders. Beware of being dismissive of their good achievements where they have led the congregation in a godly direction.
Lord, forgive me that sometimes I become comfortable with sin. Bring me to new devotion and loyalty to You.
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