The Path of Repentance
Holy and Majestic One, You are worthy of my highest praise. I thank You for Your glory seen in Jesus.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:1-22
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.
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures for ever” (Psa. 136:1). What a truly blessed thought!
The dedication ends in a great climax: fire roars on the altar, the cloud of God’s glory spills over the temple. Crowds fall on their knees and the chorus swells: “God’s love endures for ever.” Worshipers return to the farthest reaches of the kingdom with joy in their hearts (10). Thirteen years pass as Solomon completes his palace. In a lull like this, Solomon has another night-time encounter with the Lord (2 Chron. 1:7). It reassures him that the work has been good and that God has indeed chosen the temple as a place of prayer and sacrifice (12).
Then follow the best-known verses in this book (13-16), verses that sum up its central theme. The temple is a solid sign that God is paying attention to his people, with a heart of love and compassion and that he will forgive. God does not select those who are likable or good or able to make suitable amends. God forgives all who repent. Verse 14 paints a striking four-fold portrait of repentance: (1) accepting God’s claim over us (my people, called by my name); (2) having the humility to admit that we have fallen short; (3) actively praying for a restored relationship; and (4) turning away from what we know to be wrong.
These are not trivial steps. Repentance can be a painful and challenging journey, but the result is that God heals. Healing may mean gentle recovery or, when repentance is severely lacking, it can involve radical surgery. The chronicler’s first readers knew that the sanctions of vs. 19-22 had been carried out at the exile, but a new temple was in place and now gracious healing was happening (Jer. 33:6,7).
Verse 14 gives a clear outline of biblical repentance: turn toward God, take ownership of sin and turn from it. Is there anything you need to bring to God today for repentance?
Lord, may my guilt and repentance always be directed away from myself and towards Your gracious love.
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