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

God is patient and long-suffering. Yet he will do what he says he will do. The people had taken God’s patience for granted until even God’s patience had run out.

God’s covenant with King David and with Solomon was “I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time.” (1 Chronicles 28:7 NIV) But even King Solomon had begun the downward spiral of the Jewish nation by marrying foreign wives and making allowances for them to worship their Gods.

There were few kings over the Jewish people who followed God. Josiah was one who repented immediately when he heard for the first time the Book of the Law. If Josiah had not repented, God would have allowed the Israelites to fall captive to Babylon earlier.

But the people had once again become corrupt and God could no longer look away. God brought in the Babylonians to conquer the Israelites, carrying them off along with the items from the temple of God, and placed them in their foreign god’s house.

Lord God, May we never forget who you are. May we never forget your promises to us or your commands, lest we become defeated by our enemies. Keep us steadfast in service to you, oh God.

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 34:19-21 (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 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 6:18-31  (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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     20 David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished. 21 The divisions of the priests and Levites are ready for all the work on the temple of God, and every willing man skilled in any craft will help you in all the work. The officials and all the people will obey your every command.” 1 Chronicles 28:20-21 (NIV)

Solomon was young when he became King of Israel. Not only was he a new king, but he had laid out before him an enormous task – to build the temple of the Lord. He had a set of plans that would have been mind-boggling to any building contractor. It would be easy to imagine Solomon feeling overwhelmed with it all.

But David spoke words of encouragement to his son, reminding him that God was with him and would see him through the building of the temple. David had also prepared the priests, Levites, and skilled craftsmen who would help him with the task.

How did David encourage Solomon? Did he say things like “Hold your head up high,” or “Keep a stiff upper lip,” or “Look for the strength you need within yourself?” Not according to this record. David first pointed Solomon to God assuring his son of God’s strength and help. He also supplied people to help support him through the task.

I remember a very difficult day at work when I felt so defeated that I shared through my tears with my co-worker that I thought I would go home early. She immediately built me up by sharing bits of wisdom from her Christian faith. I can’t specifically remember the difficulty that brought on my despair, but I’ll never forget the warmth of her encouragement. She also took care of some of my responsibilities while I regained my composure to face the afternoon.

Almighty God, help us to remember just how mighty and powerful you are on those days when we feel the need for encouragement. And open our eyes to see the opportunities that are always around us to offer Christian encouragement and assistance to others who are overwhelmed or discouraged.

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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1 Chronicles 28:11-19 (click to view passage)

David had written out very elaborate plans that the Spirit had placed in his mind for the temple, its rooms, courts, everything including numerous named articles and the weight of refined gold or silver for each article to be used in the service of the temple. There were also instructions for the priests and Levites who would do the work in the temple.  Verse 18 even refers to the cherubim of gold that sheltered the ark of the covenant with their wings, so it appears the plans included an upgrade in the ark.

“All this,” David said, “I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.”

(Verse 19, NIV)

In a recent post (1 Chronicles 17:1-6 No house for God?) I discussed the importance of honoring God by the way we care for our churches and places of worship. This is yet one more example of God prescribing excellence in creating places to worship him.

Heavenly Father, open our eyes to see where we fall short in honoring you by the way we care for things that belong to 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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     9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. 10 Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”

1 Chronicles 28:9-10  (NIV)

As King David passes the responsibility of the throne to his young son, Solomon, he challenges him to acknowledge God in everything and to serve him with his whole heart. He reminds him of the importance of seeking God in order to find him. He assures him that to reject God is to be rejected by God. David then reminds Solomon of the one thing that is most dear to David’s heart – that the LORD himself had chosen Solomon to build a temple for God’s sanctuary. David challenges him to be strong and to carry out the task set before him.

King David knew he was nearing the end of his life; and as part of the inaugural ceremonies for King Solomon, David shared from the depths of his heart what he knew was the most important aspect of a successful reign as King over God’s people. What would you consider to be the most important advice you would want to pass on to the next generation? Would your deepest concern for your descendants be for them to seek the Lord with all their hearts (as you have/should have done), or would you be giving them advice on how to get ahead in life (as you might have done)? What are you telling the next generation through your everyday example?

Compare King David’s advice to Solomon with the kinds of advice our national leaders seem to pass on one to another. Consider what the most important traits are for our leaders to possess today. Are King David’s words still good advice for our leaders today?

Father God, we need your wisdom today more than ever. Increase our hunger and thirst to know you. Help us to seek you with all our hearts so that we will know without a doubt that we have truly found you. And then, dear God, enable us to serve you with such sincere and total devotion that our enriched lives will serve as a legacy that will inspire our descendants to trust you fully.

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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