Scriptures

2 Chronicles 6

Introduction

‘Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them. Then he said: “Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, who with his hands has fulfilled what he promised with his mouth to my father David. For he said, ‘Since the day I brought my people out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city in any tribe of Israel to have a temple built so that my Name might be there, nor have I chosen anyone to be ruler over my people Israel. But now I have chosen Jerusalem for my Name to be there, and I have chosen David to rule my people Israel.’ “My father David had it in his heart to build a temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, ‘You did well to have it in your heart to build a temple for my Name. Nevertheless, you are not the one to build the temple, but your son, your own flesh and blood—he is the one who will build the temple for my Name.’ “The LORD has kept the promise he made. I have succeeded David my father and now I sit on the throne of Israel, just as the LORD promised, and I have built the temple for the Name of the LORD, the God of Israel. There I have placed the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD that he made with the people of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 6:1-11

Common sense tells us that God wouldn’t literally dwell in the temple, 1 Kings 8:27-30 / Acts 7:48. Solomon is basically saying that the temple would represent God’s presence among His people.

After blessing the people, Solomon then goes on to quote God’s words to his father, David, 1 Kings 8:14-21 / 2 Samuel 2:13. However, if God had originally planned to choose a city and build a temple in the land of one of the tribes, then that tribe would have taken ownership of a visible symbol of God’s presence, but it never was God’s plan.

God didn’t want a temple in the first place, 2 Samuel 7:5-7, this temple was built for Solomon’s father, David because it was David’s dream to build one, 2 Samuel 7:1-2.

Solomon’s throne wasn’t established forever and the temple he built which bore God’s Name, was claimed to be such by Solomon and the Israelites and God appears to allow the temple to be built and used for worship at this time, but the house which God was speaking about was referring to the Lord’s church, Acts 15:16-18.

Solomon goes ahead and expresses his gratitude that he was set upon the throne of David in fulfilment of the promise that God made to David, 1 Chronicles 28:6.

Solomon’s Prayer Of Dedication

‘Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the centre of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. He said: “LORD, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today. “Now, LORD, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ And now, LORD, the God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true. “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! Yet, LORD my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.’ 2 Chronicles 6:12-21

In 1 Kings 8:22-53, we read about Solomon’s prayer of dedication. Some suggest that Solomon prayed for the wrong thing, instead of praying that God will keep His word, he should have prayed and he himself and his son would keep the Lord’s Word.

It’s possible that his prayer was written down and kept in The Book of the Acts of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:41, or in The Book of Nathan the Prophet, 2 Chronicles 9:20.

It’s incredible to think that here, Solomon openly declares that ‘there is no God like you’, but as he approaches his later years of reign, he commits idolatry, 1 Kings 11:5-12.

He also quotes God’s words again in saying, ‘you shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel’, this of course was God’s promise to David, that from him only God would recognise someone as the rightful king of Israel.

Although Solomon declared earlier that the temple will be God’s dwelling place forever, 1 Kings 8:13, now Solomon answers his own question, when he asks, ‘will God really dwell on earth?’ He certainly knows that no-one can confine God to one place, never mind a temple, Deuteronomy 10:14 / 2 Chronicles 6:18 / Acts 17:22-31.

The name of God, or authority of God, was once displayed through the presence of the tabernacle, and now Solomon asks God to display His Name through the presence of the temple.

The problem, however, is seen in this, if the temple demonstrated God’s presence and it also displayed God’s authority over His people, then all the nations around could claim the same thing about their temples.

‘When anyone wrongs their neighbour and is required to take an oath and they come and swear the oath before your altar in this temple, then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence. When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you and when they turn back and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors. “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance. When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of their afflictions and pains and spreading out their hands toward this temple—then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors. As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.’ 2 Chronicles 6:22-39

The text here is basically saying, if the Israelites don’t remain faithful to God and His Word, then there will be consequences to pay, famines, plagues exile etc, 1 Kings 8:31-53.

The terms and conditions that a person be in the presence of the temple to swear an oath or repent couldn’t be a condition for making binding oaths or bringing about personal repentance, simply because the temple was far away from most of the other Israelites.

Notice Solomon ask God to hear their prayers when they are facing the temple, this is mentioned four times in his prayer, but we know God doesn’t ask us to pray in any specific direction, He hears our prayers wherever we are and whatever direction we’re facing.

Over and over again throughout these verses Solomon speaks about God’s dwelling place as heaven, not the temple or any other physical place. Solomon asks that the beautiful temple which he has built be used as evidence for the existence of God when foreigners pass by.

The sending of the rain is in correspondence with their obedience to the Law of God, and so, if they were disobedient, they would be taken into captivity. Solomon says that no one can say they haven’t sinned, and that is still true today, Romans 3:23 / 1 John 1:10.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following about Solomon’s prayer.

1. The omnipotence of God is evident in his conviction that God was able to hear and answer prayer in any land on earth ‘far or near,’ 1 Kings 8:46.

2. Although God’s name was associated with the house Solomon built, God’s ‘dwelling place’ is emphatically declared to be ‘in heaven’, 1 Kings 8:32 / 1 Kings 8:34 / 1 Kings 8:36 / 1 Kings 8:39 / 1 Kings 8:43 / 1 Kings 8:45 / 1 Kings 8:48, that’s no less than seven times.

3. Both the ubiquitousness and the omniscience of God appear in the declaration that God knows ‘every human heart’, 1 Kings 8:39. Also in the view that ‘the heavens, even the highest heaven’, 1 Kings 8:27, cannot contain Him, there is further evidence that God is everywhere throughout his whole universe.

4. The fact of God’s displeasure with sin and the certainty of his punishing it appear in such verses as 1 Kings 8:33 / 1 Kings 8:35 and 1 Kings 8:46.

5. That God’s forgiveness is contingent upon the condition of the sinner’s turning away from his transgressions is a major thesis of the prayer, 1 Kings 8:33 / 1 Kings 8:35 / 1 Kings 8:48.

6. That God is not merely the God of the Jews but of all the peoples of the earth is the burden of 1 Kings 8:41-43.

7. God’s forgiveness of sins is repeatedly promised upon the condition of its being prayed for. ‘If they make supplication, 1 Kings 8:33 / 1 Kings 8:47, ‘if they pray’, 1 Kings 8:35 / 1 Kings 8:48, ‘when he shall pray’, 1 Kings 8:42, ‘if your people pray’, 1 Kings 8:44.

Solomon’s profoundly beautiful and correct thoughts regarding God’s nature and character were recorded in The Acts of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:41.

‘Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. “Now arise, LORD God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness. LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.” 2 Chronicles 6:40-42

In conclusion, Solomon asks God to open His eyes and ears when prayers are offered in the temple. Not that the ark was in the temple, this represented the presence of God being in the temple, Numbers 10:35-36.

Solomon asks God that His priests be clothed in salvation, in other words, the conduct of the religious leaders must be according to the righteousness of God.

He asks God not to reject His anointed one, that is, Solomon himself. He doesn’t want God to hide His face through shame at having his prayers rejected, 1 Kings 2:16.

Go To 2 Chronicles 7

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

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