Wednesday after the Seventh Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 4-6 (NKJV)
4:1 Moreover he made a bronze altar:
twenty cubits was its length, twenty cubits its width, and ten cubits its height. 2 Then he made the Sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. 3 And under it was the likeness of oxen encircling it all around, ten to a cubit, all the way around the Sea. The oxen were cast in two rows, when it was cast.
4 It stood on twelve oxen:
three looking toward the north, three looking toward the west, three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east; the Sea was set upon them, and all their back parts pointed inward. 5 It was a handbreadth thick; and its brim was shaped like the brim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It contained three thousand baths.
6 He also made ten lavers, and put five on the right side and five on the left, to wash in them; such things as they offered for the burnt offering they would wash in them, but the Sea was for the priests to wash in.
7 And he made ten lampstands of gold according to their design, and set them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left.
8 He also made ten tables, and placed them in the temple, five on the right side and five on the left. And he made one hundred bowls of gold.
9 Furthermore he made the court of the priests, and the great court and doors for the court; and he overlaid these doors with bronze. 10 He set the Sea on the right side, toward the southeast.
11 Then Huram made the pots and the shovels and the bowls.
So Huram finished doing the work that he was to do for King Solomon for the house of God:
12 the two pillars and the bowl-shaped capitals that were on top of the two pillars;
the two networks covering the two bowl-shaped capitals which were on top of the pillars;
13 four hundred pomegranates for the two networks (two rows of pomegranates for each network, to cover the two bowl-shaped capitals that were on the pillars);
14 he also made carts and the lavers on the carts;
15 one Sea and twelve oxen under it;
16 also the pots, the shovels, the forks—and all their articles Huram his master craftsman made of burnished bronze for King Solomon for the house of the LORD. 17 In the plain of Jordan the king had them cast in clay molds, between Succoth and Zeredah. 18 And Solomon had all these articles made in such great abundance that the weight of the bronze was not determined.
19 Thus Solomon had all the furnishings made for the house of God:
the altar of gold and the tables on which was the showbread;
20 the lampstands with their lamps of pure gold, to burn in the prescribed manner in front of the inner sanctuary,
21 with the flowers and the lamps and the wick-trimmers of gold, of purest gold;
22 the trimmers, the bowls, the ladles, and the censers of pure gold. As for the entry of the sanctuary, its inner doors to the Most Holy Place, and the doors of the main hall of the temple, were gold.
5:1 So all the work that Solomon had done for the house of the LORD was finished; and Solomon brought in the things which his father David had dedicated: the silver and the gold and all the furnishings. And he put them in the treasuries of the house of God.
2 Now Solomon assembled the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel, in Jerusalem, that they might bring the ark of the covenant of the LORD up from the City of David, which is Zion. 3 Therefore all the men of Israel assembled with the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month.
4 So all the elders of Israel came, and the Levites took up the ark. 5 Then they brought up the ark, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up. 6 Also King Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel who were assembled with him before the ark, were sacrificing sheep and oxen that could not be counted or numbered for multitude.
7 Then the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the temple, to the Most Holy Place, under the wings of the cherubim. 8 For the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim overshadowed the ark and its poles. 9 And the poles extended so that the ends of the poles of the ark could be seen from the holy place, in front of the inner sanctuary; but they could not be seen from outside. And they are there to this day. 10 Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they had come out of Egypt.
11 And it came to pass when the priests came out of the Most Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, without keeping to their divisions), 12 and the Levites who were the singers, all those of Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, stood at the east end of the altar, clothed in white linen, having cymbals, stringed instruments and harps, and with them one hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets—13 indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying:
“For He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud,
14 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
6:1 Then Solomon spoke: “The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. 2 I have surely built You an exalted house, and a place for You to dwell in forever.”
3 Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. 4 And he said:
“Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, 5 ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. 6 Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there; and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’
7 “Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 8 But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart. 9 Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.’
10 “So the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke, and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. 11 And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel.”
12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands 13 (for Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and he stood on it, knelt down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands toward heaven); 14 and he said:
“LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or on earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with Your servants who walk before You with all their hearts. 15 You have kept what You promised Your servant David my father; You have both spoken with Your mouth and fulfilled it with Your hand, as it is this day.
16 “Therefore, LORD God of Israel, now keep what You promised Your servant David my father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man sit before Me on the throne of Israel, only if your sons take heed to their way, that they walk in My law as you have walked before Me.’ 17 And now, O LORD God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David.
18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! 19 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: 20 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant prays toward this place. 21 And may You 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.
22 “If anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, bringing retribution on the wicked by bringing his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.
24 “Or if Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and their fathers.
26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.
28 “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 29 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: 30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men), 31 that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.
32 “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but who comes from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; 33 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name.
34 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.
36 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near; 37 yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, and have committed wickedness’; 38 and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been carried captive, and pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and toward the temple which I have built for Your name: 39 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.
40 “Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. 41 Now therefore, Arise, O LORD God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let Your saints rejoice in goodness. 42 O LORD God, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed; Remember the mercies of Your servant David.”
Once the Temple is constructed and furnished, the Ark is brought to its resting place and the glory of the Lord fills the Temple. Solomon speaks to the people about the Lord’s faithfulness to His Word. David’s son sits on David’s throne and has built the Lord a house, just as the Lord had promised to David. Not a single promise of God falls to the ground unfulfilled.
This is the reason why prayers are to be offered at the Temple. When a man sins against his neighbor he is to pray to the Lord Who dwells in Jerusalem so that the Lord would show him mercy. When the people transgress God’s Law they are to pray to the One Who dwells in the Temple so that He will forgive. When the Lord allows afflictions such as drought and famine to occur to teach them “the good way in which they should walk” (6:27), they are to pray to the Lord Who will hear from Heaven and forgive. “Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: then hear from heaven your dwelling place, and forgive” (6:29-30).
We pray because the Lord always fulfills what He promises. As Solomon points out, His chief promise is the promise to forgive the sins of all who repent of their sin and flee to Him for mercy. Christians need no temple to pray toward as Israel did. Christians have the Temple, our Lord Jesus Christ, “God with us,” Who promises to hear and forgive.
Lord Jesus Christ, may we may daily flee to You in repentance, firmly trusting Your promise to forgive all our sins. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.