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2 Chronicles 34:29-33 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

King Josiah set his sights on following God with his whole heart. He called together all the people of Judah for them to hear all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had recently been discovered while restoring the temple of the Lord. Then the king renewed his covenant with the LORD to follow and obey his commands as they had been written in the Book of the Covenant with all his heart and soul. He then instructed all the people in Jerusalem and Benjamin to pledge themselves to the covenant as well. Then Josiah once more purged the Israelite territory of all idols.

Our national leaders are not permitted to make such covenants on behalf of our country in the United States. But wouldn’t it be a blessing if our spiritual leaders – those in authority over our denominations and our individual churches would lead with such devotion to God coupled with such courage.

I feel I keep repeating myself at times on this blog, but these are the things that continually stand out as I read these passages of scripture. If God can continue to give the same message, I guess it is permissible for me to give the same interpretation of what I feel he is saying. Let us covenant to pray for our leaders every day.

Father, forgive me when I let myself become too absorbed in my own daily activities to find the time to pray for the leaders you have given to us. Help us all as your children to pray faithfully for those who are responsible for the direction in which our churches and denominations are going. Bless these leaders by giving them new insights that are from you alone. Give them discernment to separate the wheat from the tares when they listen to the advice they receive from others, and may their decisions always bring glory to your name.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 34:22-28 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

God honors those who honor him. Josiah had chosen to honor God by removing the high places, and Asherah poles. He honored God by restoring the temple. And he honored God by reading the recently found Book of the Law. As he read the book he became keenly aware of the guilt of the Israelites and the many ways they had sinned against God. Josiah repented by tearing his robes and by seeking the Lord’s counsel.

Because of Josiah’s repentant heart, God chose to honor him in his lifetime and to postpone his wrath on the Israelite nation.

If there was ever a time when repentance was needed it is today. It is needed at every level from leadership to those in the upper, middle, and lower status positions in government and society in general – even in our churches and denominations.

As individuals, we must begin with ourselves. We must prayerfully reflect on our own lives and repent (agree with God about the sins in our lives and make the necessary changes) of any sins we see. Only then can we effectively pray for our churches, our society in general, and for its leaders.

Father God, you see our sins much more clearly than our clouded eyes are able to see. Help us to see through your eyes the things we need to repent of in our own lives. Give us willing hearts to address these problems and to deal with them in a Godly way ridding our lives of them completely. Then bring to mind the leaders that we need to be praying for on a regular basis. Lead us Lord, in the way you would have us to go.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 34:19-21 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Josiah was receptive to the words of the Law as it was read to him. He was also grievously aware of how far the Israelite nation had strayed from God’s commands. He tore his robe in response to the anguish that was in his heart.

Josiah then sent a select group of men including Hilkiah his high priest to inquire of the LORD about what he had heard. He had suddenly come to fear God’s wrath because of the sins of his people.

Josiah was not a cowardly sort of person. He had struck down the priests of the high places as well as their idols and altars. He had embraced the challenge to restore the temple, and was eager to hear the word of God. But what a difference the hearing of the word had made in his life. He was suddenly aware of what God had demanded of his people and was immediately under conviction for them. Josiah had a receptive heart, and was both willing and able to hear what the Lord God wanted him to hear.

God was able to bless Josiah because he listened to God and was prepared to adjust his path accordingly.

Are we prepared to listen to God and to adjust our paths accordingly? It is the application of God’s Word to our hearts and lives that makes it possible for God to bless us. Consider James 22-25 which begins, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (NIV) The true benefit we receive from reading God’s word comes from applying it to our daily lives.

Father God, give us willing hearts to hear your word and to faithfully apply it to our lives. Teach us to see ourselves as you see us as we faithfully study your word.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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2 Chronicles 34:8-18 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

King Josiah didn’t stop with tearing down the evil high places where the people made sacrifices to foreign gods; he also had it in his heart to restore Solomon’s temple.

There had been so many wicked kings since the time of King David. Even King Solomon had allowed the high places to be established to please his foreign wives. The great temple that Solomon had built had long since become a pile of ruins. 

Josiah chose three men to put in motion plans to restore the temple. The people had been taxed to fund the project, and willingly they brought all the funds needed for the restoration. The Levites supervised everything.

An important discovery was made while the temple was being built. Hilkiah, the priest found the copy of the Book of the Law that Moses had given to the Israelites. The men brought the book to King Josiah who was eager to hear what it said.

Josiah was sold out to God. Even as a youth he saw the evils in his day and set out with resolve to make changes. He saw what needed tearing down AND he saw what needed to be built up. It was in the process of building up – of restoring the temple – that the holy scriptures which had long since been forgotten were brought to light.

This is but one more example of God’s faithfulness to his promises. Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (NIV)

How close is your relationship with God? It is likely to be in direct proportion to the amount of effort you are putting into seeking him. Are you, like Josiah, sold out for God? Or have you pulled yourself into your own world with blinders firmly attached? Are you seeking a closer walk with God, or are you satisfied with lesser gods of busy-ness and wealth.

Almighty God, break down the barriers we have allowed to separate us from being sold out for you. Cause us to lose our desire for lesser things that push you out of our thinking. Awaken the hunger that you have placed in our hearts; make it gnaw away at us until we take definite steps to draw closer to you in daily study and prayer. Put new life into our daily walk that we may be salt and light that draws others around us to seek you.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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2 Chronicles 34:1-7 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Eight year old Josiah became king when his father was assassinated. His father was an evil king who did not have a heart for the things of God; but young Josiah did what was right. After he had been king for eight years (at age 16) he began to seek God, and by the time he was 20 he began removing the high places (where sacrifices were made to foreign gods), Asherah poles, and idols. He also tore down the altars to the Baals and broke to pieces the idols and scattered the pieces over the graves of the people who had been sacrificed to these idols. He also slaughtered the priests of those high places and burned their bones on their own altars. (2 Kings 23:20)

I believe the average person today has no concept of what was involved when the people established these altars to the Baals and to Molech. It was much more grievous than pretending some statue had some kind of power, like a rabbit foot or lucky charm; though that in itself is an affront to God who commanded us to have no other gods before him. But the sacrifices made on these altars were often the worshiper’s own children. The Asherah poles and idols were built for gods of sensuality.

When we compare behaviors today to those idolatrous people we have been reading about, we find some very unsettling parallels. Our society uses sexual overtones to sell everything from toothpaste to cars, clothing, and even children’s toys. TV and movies are dominated by crude jokes and sexual themes. Advertising is designed to whet our appetites beyond what we need or can afford. The rights of women to “choose” to sacrifice their children to abortion has been a major plank in one of our nation’s (U.S.A.) political parties. Often these decisions to abort are based on selfish greed, to avoid the additional expenses of inconveniently timed childbirth. God cannot be pleased with these behaviors or with those who profit from them.

What is our reaction to these lifestyles? Does it sicken us to the core? Or do we merely look the other way, or dismiss it with a wink or a joke? It is time we, as Christians, take seriously our commitment to our God and speak out and/or find other ways to bring about a spiritual awakening in our country. We cannot afford to be lukewarm Christians in our day.

Father God, open our eyes to the sin that is all around us. Help us to live our lives in a way that others will see your light in our walk. Plant such a hunger in our hearts that we will regularly search your Word for knowledge and wisdom. And prepare us to carry your Word to the hurting world around us.

 

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:40-42 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Solomon ends his prayer of dedication by appealing to God to be attentive to the prayers offered in the temple. He invited God to come into the temple and make it his home along with the ark of the covenant.

When Solomon prayed that the priests be clothed in salvation, he was praying that their spiritual welfare would exceed their fine outer appearance. 

Then Solomon prayed for the saints, those who loved God, that they would always take joy in the goodness of God.

Solomon prayed for himself, that God would never reject him as his anointed one, and that he would always be mindful of the promise he made to his father, King David.

These prayers are still perfectly suited for our churches and sanctuaries today. I encourage you to pray this scripture over your own church.

Our God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in _____ (our church). Fill ________ (our church) with your presence. Clothe ________ (our pastor) with your salvation. May the people in our congregation rejoice in your goodness. O Lord God, do not reject us, your chosen people. Remember the promise you made to us through the blood of your son, the resurrected Jesus Christ. (Adapted from verses 40-42.)

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:36-39  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

Solomon appealed to God on behalf of the people in his prayer of dedication for the temple. In his prayer he didn’t say “If they sin against you…” He said “When they sin…” Solomon knew the people would sin against God. He also appears to have had a premonition of the time in the Israelites future when the Babylonians did conquer the Israelites.

Solomon understood the importance of repentance. There is no hint that Solomon expected God to forgive those who were not repentant. Rather, Solomon describes a sequence of events in his prayer that he prescribes for forgiveness.

  • Experience the suffering brought about as a result of their sin;
  • Have a change of heart;
  • Recognizing their sin for what it is, repent and plead with God confessing their sins;
  • Turn back to God with all their heart and soul;
  • Pray to God;
  • God will hear and forgive.

This is a pattern that is consistent from the book of Genesis through Revelation. God has continuously asked man to repent of sins and to return to him. Fortunately for us, we are born after the resurrection of Jesus, and can receive total forgiveness through him.

Lord, quicken our consciences that we may see our sins for what they are, and lead us to come to you in total repentance. Then fill us with your joy as you cleanse us and enable us to break the chains of sin that would keep us from living fulfilled lives.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:18-31  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

The impact of Solomon’s words in verse 18 is a reflection of the wisdom God gave to Solomon. In spite of all the great craftsmanship and the elaborate construction that went into the building of the temple, Solomon knew that the completed house of worship could never contain the totality of God himself. God’s spirit could indwell the temple and it would certainly be a holy place. But it could only limit God to expect him to allow himself to be contained in the temple.

Solomon continued to pour out his heart in prayer for the people who would come to the temple. He prayed for justice among his peoples and forgiveness for the repentant. He prayed that the people’s hearts would be teachable when God’s discipline brought famine or other afflictions upon them, bringing them to repentance, followed by God’s forgiveness and healing. Solomon prayed that as a result of their afflictions, repentance, and forgiveness, the people would learn to fear God and walk in his ways.

There are many truths we can take away from these verses.

  • We cannot put God into a box. We can search the scriptures to learn about him, and sometimes it may stretch our minds beyond where they want to stretch. But we must never assume that the almighty God we worship must fit into a shape or form that we can understand fully. If he could, he couldn’t be God – we would be greater because we could contain him.
  • We should regularly pray for God’s spirit to indwell our churches, that God’s presence would be so strong that it would bring conviction on those who would do wrong.
  • We should pray for teachable spirits among our church members so that they would recognize situations when personal hardships or disaster is brought on by the hand of God to bring them to repentance for some grievous sin. (I am not saying that every such disaster is caused by our own great sins, though more often than not God will use our hardships to teach us something we need to learn.)
  • We should pray for members to come to God with a repentant heart that they may know the cleansing freedom of his forgiveness.
  • We should pray that Christians will have a healthy fear of God, that they may always walk in his ways and enjoy a growing relationship with him forever.

Father God, may we never tire of praying for our churches that they may truly glorify you. May your spirit indwell every worship service, that those who are in your house will feel your presence. May those who worship you with a right heart be filled with your refreshing joy. May they leave your sanctuary as salt and light that will draw others to you. And Lord, may those who come into your heart with wrong motives, or with sins they are trying to hide, may they feel the conviction of your presence. May they feel their hearts laid bare before you that they will repent in shame, receive your forgiveness, and then discover the true peace that comes from having a clean heart before you, the same peace that had been waiting for them from the beginning.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:12-17  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

In front of the entire assembly, King Solomon knelt down and with lifted hands prayed to God Almighty praising him for keeping his promise to his father, David. He also petitioned God to continue to keep his promise to keep one of David’s sons on the throne if they would walk according to God’s law.

King Solomon had made an awesome statement before he ever opened his mouth on that day. The kings’ subjects were supposed to bow down to the king; kings were not known to bow down to anyone. But King Solomon acknowledged to all the people on that day that Almighty God was the highest authority, and that he as king must be in submission to him.

What a different world it would be if all leaders would acknowledge God as their highest authority. One day this will happen. On that day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that righteousness and strength are found in God alone. (see Isaiah 45:23-24)

Father God, we acknowledge you as the one true God Almighty. May our daily lives also serve as a witness to our faithful submission to you. We pray for our leaders at every level, that they will recognize you as the only “Higher Power” worth serving, and that they will in turn serve their peoples accordingly.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:1-11 (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible.)

The labors were finally done and it was time to dedicate the temple.  Solomon re-stated the history behind the building of the temple as he addressed the assembly. Then he turned away from the people and offered praise to God for his faithfulness. Solomon again repeated the promise God had made to David emphasizing that God had been faithful to keep his promise.

Solomon gave credit where credit was due. He did not seek credit for building the temple, but gave God all the credit for having seen it through to completion and the ark of the covenant was now in the temple.

Are we willing to give God credit for seeing us through the tasks he gives us to do? Or do we feel like we did all the work? Are we quick to give him the credit for giving us the abilities we have, or do we want everyone to see what wonderful thing we have done?

Dear heavenly Father, you have been so faithful to us. Thank you for for loving us and reaching out to us, for opening our eyes that we might know you, and for giving us the desire to grow in our relationship with you. Help us to acknowledge you in everything and to recall your many blessings to us.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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