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2 Chronicles 7:11-22
March 25, 2018
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L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
Teaching the Truth in Love

2 Chronicles 7:11-22
March 25, 2018

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“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands
I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,
then I will uproot Israel from my land,
which I have given them,
and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name.
I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples”
(2 Chronicles 7:19-20).

Devastating Disobedience
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2 Chronicles 7:11-22

(2 Chronicles 7:11) Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the LORD and in his own house he successfully accomplished.

After King Solomon met his own needs for a palace, and after he completed and dedicated the temple that his father, King David, wanted him to build, he could turn to doing the LORD’s will for the benefit of the LORD’s people and the foreigners who came to the temple to pray. Regarding the foreigner and their coming to know the LORD, Solomon prayed: “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” (2 Chronicles 6:33).  In 2 Chronicles 6:14-42, his prayer indicated that King Solomon knew right from wrong and some of the different ways the LORD can punish sin; therefore, he prayed that when the Israelites sinned, confessed their sins, repented, and prayed toward the temple that the LORD would forgive them.

(2 Chronicles 7:12) Then the LORD appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice.

After King Solomon prayed and dedicated the temple to the LORD, the LORD answered his prayer by visibly filling the temple before the assembled people. Later, the LORD appeared to King Solomon at night and affirmed that He would accept the sacrifices offered at the temple at the place He had chosen. Up to this point, King Solomon had done well and prayed well. In speaking to King Solomon, the LORD told him how to lead His people as well as educate them in the ways of the LORD. The LORD also expected King Solomon to serve as an example for the people to follow as one of the LORD’s faithful servants, even as King David had faithfully served the LORD before him. We can learn some of the truths King Solomon taught in Proverbs, in the Song of Solomon, and (according to rabbinic tradition) in Ecclesiastes. Despite all his knowledge and wisdom, King Solomon began building temples for idols and became a slave of sin.

(2 Chronicles 7:13) When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,

The LORD told King Solomon some of the consequences for disobeying the LORD’s commands and laws. The consequences listed here could have an effect on all the people in the land. The consequences could result from a large number of the LORD’s people rebelling against Him and turning to idolatry. God can bring environmental change to discipline His people. God can bring a drought (or a flood) to influence the people who are suffering from His discipline to come back to obeying Him. The LORD can use insects or animals to destroy the food supply of His people until they repent. The LORD can send disease to afflict His people directly until they confess their sins, pray to Him and begin to obey His commands and laws once again. When these afflictions came upon the LORD’s people, they needed to pray and reflect to discover if these afflictions were the LORD’s discipline or just a cycle of nature to be expected in a fallen world. Not all droughts, famines, plagues of locusts, and diseases are God’s punishments for personal or national sins, because we live in a fallen world unlike the LORD’s original design, but these afflictions can give cause for reflection, repentance where required, and most certainly prayer for God’s help in times of trouble.

(2 Chronicles 7:14) if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The LORD told King Sol0mon some of the punishments that He might send upon His people for their unrepentant behavior, and He told King Solomon the solution when His people came to themselves and acknowledged their sinful behavior. To save His people from their sins and disaster, the LORD expected King Solomon serve as a good example and teach His people everything He told him. Those “called by His Name” were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When they came to realize that they were being punished by the LORD for their sins, they would need to humble themselves before the LORD and acknowledge the LORD as the King of kings and their rightful King in particular. They would need to stop being self-centered and become God-centered; which is a way of humbling oneself before the LORD. They would need to pray with their faces toward the LORD, rather than keeping their backs to the LORD and continue walking away from the LORD to do whatever they wanted to do as they prayed. They would also need to humbly pray for the LORD to turn His face toward them in a way that would indicate the LORD was listening to their prayers and acknowledging their humble repentant hearts. They would need to show or convince the LORD that they had turned from their wicked ways. Only by doing these things would the LORD answer their prayers, forgive their sins, and stop the form of punishment they were suffering (which might not cease immediately, but in God’s perfect timing). God did not promise to remove His punishments from a land or nation where most of the people were living in godless rebellion against Him, but He will watch over and care for His people who are living and praying in the midst of a godless generation or nation.

(2 Chronicles 7:15) Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place.

The LORD promised that if His people prayed at or toward the temple from wherever they were that He would be looking to see them pray and hear them pray. He would turn His face toward them. The LORD gave them the assurance that by doing what He commanded, He would give attention to their prayers.

(2 Chronicles 7:16) For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time.

King Solomon dedicated the temple to the LORD, and the LORD consecrated or made the temple holy, a place where the LORD who is holy could dwell in the Holy of Holies and listen to the prayers of those who came for worship. Since the temple could not contain the LORD, for the LORD dwells in heaven, His presence described as “my Name” would be there to hear the prayers of His people and look upon them. From the LORD’s perspective, if His people met the conditions He set for them; then, His Name (or presence) would be at the temple forever. The LORD loved His temple because His people could worship Him there and He could look upon them with favor and pour out His blessings upon them when they prayed. But, as Israel’s history shows, they became stubborn and unrepentant in their sins; therefore, the LORD had to destroy the temple as punishment and remain separated from them until the time of the coming of Jesus Christ. We have no indication that the LORD was ever present or returned to indwell the second temple or the temple built by Herod the Great.

(2 Chronicles 7:17) As for you, if you walk before me, as your father David walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my ordinances,

As the leader of His people, the LORD spoke to directly to King Solomon, who would teach God’s law and set the example for his people. King David had walked faithfully before the LORD, but not perfectly. When King David was confronted with his sins, he humbled himself, repented, and returned to obedience (as described in 2 Chronicles 7:14). In this sense, David was faithful; he sought to know the LORD’s will in order to do it because he loved the LORD. The LORD told King Solomon that He expected him to faithfully obey Him and rule as he had learned from King David, his father. Previously, the LORD had given King Solomon wisdom, so King Solomon had all the knowledge he needed to walk faithfully before the LORD as his father had done. At Solomon’s request for wisdom: “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29).

(2 Chronicles 7:18) then I will establish your royal throne, as I made covenant with your father David saying, ‘You shall never lack a successor to rule over Israel.’

The Messiah would be a son or descendant of David and Solomon, as shown in Jesus’ genealogy (see Matthew 1:6). But because of King Solomon’s rebellion against the LORD, and because he created temples for the idols of his foreign wives on the mountain tops around Jerusalem instead of leading them to faith in the LORD, he failed to have successors always rule over Israel. Many of the kings and people following him worshiped the idols of his foreign wives; therefore, after Solomon’s death Israel divided into two kingdoms and both kingdoms were eventually destroyed along with the temple in Jerusalem.

(2 Chronicles 7:19) “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them,

King Solomon did exactly what the LORD told him not to do. He followed his emotions and desires instead of his reason, wisdom, and the commands of the LORD. He served other gods and worshiped them when he built temples for them and his wives as places for pagan sacrifices.

(2 Chronicles 7:20) then I will pluck you up from the land that I have given you; and this house, which I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.

The LORD used the Assyrians and punished the Kingdom of Israel (the northern kingdom) in 722 BC when He destroyed the nation and dispersed the ten tribes (now “the ten lost tribes of Israel”) among the nations. The LORD used the Babylonians and punished the Kingdom of Judah (composed of the tribes of Benjamin and Judah) in 587 BC and destroyed the temple. The LORD sent the Judean exiles to Babylon for seventy years of discipline. These twelve tribes were punished for their own sins, but King Solomon sowed the seeds of their destruction when he rebelled against the LORD and built temples to idols around Jerusalem. His descendants followed his ungodly example and faithlessness. When the LORD caused the Babylonians to destroy the temple, He caused them to do so thoroughly. The destroyed temple became a “byword”: “a person, event, or thing that has become a notorious or an infamous example or embodiment of the consequences of doing evil or rebelling against God.” For example, the name of Judas became a “byword” as the disciple who betrayed the Lord Jesus. So, someone might call someone who betrayed them a “Judas!” Or, someone might warn, assuming they knew about the event, “Remember Sodom and Gomorrah!” When Israel’s neighbors saw the destroyed temple, they ridiculed the LORD and the remnant of Judeans in Jerusalem who were not taken into exile. God could only reverse this ridicule when He returned the Judeans from exile and they rebuilt the temple.

(2 Chronicles 7:21) And regarding this house, now exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished, and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this house?’

What the LORD warned would happen as a consequence of King Solomon’s disobedience happened: Solomon misled the LORD’s people and his own children into sinful rebellion against the LORD. Because the land and temple became a “byword,” what the LORD once did in the Kingdom of Judah still serves as a warning to all the nations of the earth that rebel against the LORD. Eventually, the LORD punished the nations around Israel who saw what the LORD had done to Israel because they did not repent after they saw what the LORD would do to nations that rejected God.

(2 Chronicles 7:22) Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD the God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore he has brought all this calamity upon them.’”

The LORD warned King Solomon that if he rebelled against the LORD disaster would come upon the Kingdom, but even that solemn warning did not deter King Solomon from following his feelings. Those who saw and asked why the temple was a rubble were told the truth and given the right answer. In some sense, Solomon has become a “byword” for the person who thinks he is so smart that he can rebel against the LORD and not suffer the consequences or have his children suffer the consequences. Solomon has become a “byword” for the leader who thinks he is so wise that his rebellion against the LORD cannot cause the eventual destruction of his own family and nation.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Name three ways the LORD can punish a nation when the people turn from Him (see 2 Chronicles 7:13). From your Bible study, can you think of additional ways?

2. What do those called by the LORD’s Name need to do when He disciplines them?

3. Why was the LORD’s presence not at King Solomon’s temple forever?

4. What did the LORD require of King Solomon (see 2 Chronicles 7:17)?

5. Think about human history around the world for the past 100 years, can you think of any people or events that have become “a byword” or an example of evil choices to avoid?

Devastating Disobedience

“But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples” (2 Chronicles 7:19-20).

The LORD gave King Solomon a choice between two options. After he made his choice, he would receive the results God promised him. His choice would not only have an effect on him, but also on all his descendants and the nation of Israel. On the one hand, the LORD promised Solomon that if he faithfully walked before God as David his father had and did all God commanded; then, one of his successors would rule over Israel forever. On the other hand, if he turned away and disobeyed the LORD and began serving other gods; then, Israel would be uprooted from the LORD’s land. Solomon chose the second option: he built pagan temples and set up idols in the hills around Jerusalem for his foreign wives to serve and worship. By his disobedience, Solomon sowed the seeds that quickly destroyed the Kingdom of Israel that his father had united from the twelve tribes of Israel. Following Solomon’s bad example, most of the kings who succeeded him and almost all the people worshiped the idols of his wives and refused to repent and obey the LORD. Almost immediately after Solomon’s death, Israel split into two parts: The Kingdom of Israel was destroyed and never restored; The Kingdom of Judah suffered seventy years of exile and never completely recovered. Only a future Messiah could save the people. – LG Parkhurst Jr.

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