2 Chronicles 7:12-16 Pray and Seek My Face

2 Chronicles 7:12-16              Pray and Seek My Face                                 WC McCarter
Chapter 13 of The Story is all about David’s successor, his son Solomon who was born of Bathsheba. The son of the greatest king of Israel’s history started out with a bang, but he did not finish well. As we saw in our class this morning, He did not endure until the end. He did not continue in the faith as his father had. David’s life could be said to be a rags-to-riches story. On the other hand, Solomon’s could be said to be a riches-to-rags story. Solomon was the king who had it all, and it wasn’t enough to satisfy him.
The Lord notably appeared to Solomon on two occasions. You remember the first time the Lord met him (2 Chron 1:3-12). It was in Gibeon toward the beginning of his time as king. The Lord came to Solomon at night and said to him, “Ask! What shall I give you?” Solomon, of course, asked for wisdom and knowledge in order to lead the people of Israel. The Lord was pleased and gave him that request. He also made him the world’s most wealthy and reputable man.
The second time the Lord appeared to Solomon was also at night after the temple had been built and dedicated (2 Chron 7:12-22). That appearance is our main text this morning. In this appearance, the Lord confirms His favor of the temple, responds to a previous prayer of Solomon in behalf of the people, and warns Solomon of the consequences of forsaking Him.
READ Scripture- This is the Word of God
Chosen This Place (12-13)
The Lord had publicly confirmed that He had chosen the temple as His holy place when, at the dedication ceremony, He sent down fire from heaven to consume the burnt offering and the sacrifices that had been placed on the altar. He also made His glory to fill the temple. What a marvelous sight it would have been. The people were forced, by the sheer wonder of it all, to bow their faces to the pavement, worship and praise the Lord, and say, “For He is good, for His mercy endures forever.”
Now the Lord privately confirms His favor of the temple structure to Solomon, the king. He had met Solomon on another night many years before, and now He comes to David’s heir again.
The reference to “the heavens being shut up” echoes back to what Solomon had said in his prayer of dedication (2 Chron 6:26-27). Solomon asked that the Lord be merciful and forgiving of the people when they sinned against God. He asked God to teach them the right way to live. Here, the Lord promises to do exactly what Solomon requested. God is merciful!
Repentance and Forgiveness (14-15)
Here are the stipulations for a nation to receive God’s blessing. We know the Scripture says in Psalm 33:12, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,” but what happens to the nation who forsakes the Lord? A nation who has forsaken the Lord must repent. That’s plain and simple in theory, but not in reality. People’s hearts are bent on evil, all the time. People love the darkness more than the light, and the Lord turns them over to their vile passions.
There is no help when there is no repentance. The Lord promises to look mercifully upon those who humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways; then and only then will the Lord respond. A broken and contrite heart will not be despised by God. Yet, a proud, arrogant, puffed up, and self-reliant heart will never receive mercy from God. And, trust me, He knows what’s in our hearts. He can see to the depths of us. Those things that we have hidden far away from the eyes and ears of others, God searches and finds those things. Our hearts condemn us, and only God is greater than our hearts. Only He can overcome our stubbornness and sinfulness. America will never be what it once was as long as it continues down the self-righteous path that it is on. The same is true for individuals who are lost and hopeless.
Forever and Always (16)
“God’s great name” refers to His presence in that place in the glory-cloud. Do you remember the Lord descending and appearing before the people to meet with Moses? He came in a cloud. He had made His presence in the glory-cloud to come and fill the newly constructed temple. His “name” means His “person.” He personally visited and promised to be ever-present in that temple constructed by human hands. Wow! Yet, that temple was only a shadow of things to come. The people, including King Solomon, would soon turn from God to wicked ways; the monarchy would soon be split in two; the northern tribes would soon be wiped away; and the south would soon be taken into exile while the temple would be left in a state of rubble.
Yet, the Lord said that His name would be there forever, right? He said, “My eyes and my heart will always be there.” What of that promise? The promise came with stipulations. The Lord would prefer for the temple to lie in ruins than for the people to drag His name through the mud. That temple was only a shadow of things to come. God now dwells among His people as we form a spiritual temple. One day He will dwell with us directly and permanently, face-to-face.
Conclusion and Christian Application
(1) The Lord has now chosen us as His spiritual temple. He dwells among us and will do so forever. His eyes and ears are constantly attentive to what we do among ourselves, our times of worship and our prayer.
(2) Along with that idea, the Lord no longer requires that we worship and pray in a certain place. He is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. The Lord is now bound to a temple or a land or a certain people group.
(3) This was followed by a promise that God would uproot Israel from the land and allow the temple to be torn down to rubble if they forsook His word and went after other gods to worship them. The Lord is a loving and compassionate God, but He is also a righteous God who will not and cannot permit our sinful lifestyles forever.
(4) Prayer helps us to maintain our relationship with God. It helps us to stay connected and renewed as we continue our pilgrimage through life.
(5) If a nation who has lost the favor of God is going to be restored, its people must humble themselves, pray, seek God, and turn from their wicked ways. If you want America restored, then it starts with you.