Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 Chronicles 7

Today's reading in our daily plan is 2 Chronicles 7. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • God sent fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices (verses 1-3) to show His approval of what's happening. This supernatural fire also ignited the fire that was to burn continuously (see Leviticus 7:8-13).
  • The prayers that preceded all this (see chapter 6) and the offerings the people make here (verses 4 and 5) and the singing (verse 6) were all to dedicate, or consecrate, the temple to God.
  • In verse 12 (and following) God tells Solomon that He heard his prayer (of dedication of the temple, from chapter 6). This was months, or perhaps even years, after Solomon prayed those prayers.
  • Back in chapter 6 Solomon asked God to forgive the people when the sinned. Here, in verse 14, God says He will forgive on four conditions: (1) humble yourself by admitting sin, (2) pray, asking for God's forgiveness, (3) seek God, (4) turn away from sin. The same applies to us today, and the forgiveness is possible for us because of Jesus.
  • God sets forth conditions Solomon must meet if he wants the kingdom to continue and stay in his family. Unfortunately, we'll see that Solomon will turn away from God and the way God wants him to live. Throughout the Bible we see God make some unconditional promises (for instance, He promises to love us unconditionally) and some conditional promises (for instance, He promises to forgive us and bring us to Heaven if we surrender our lives to Jesus).
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Here we see Solomon and the people dedicate the temple to God. We need to dedicate ourselves to God. We do that initially when we choose to give our lives to Him as our Lord and get baptized. We need to repeatedly dedicate ourselves to Him. Rededicating yourself to Him re-aligns you - it puts your life in it's proper place as submitted to God and His leadership in your life.
  • Solomon prays (in chapter 6) and months (or years) later (in chapter 7) God answers. When we pray we expect God to answer our prayers immediately. We are fast moving people who live in a culture that is obsessed with speed. God works on a different timetable than us; He has better timing than we do. When He makes you wait, He has a reason. So, when He makes you wait, when your prayer isn't answered immediately, don't lose hope and give up.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • One idea a lot of Christians through the centuries have used is to begin each day's "prayer time" by dedicating/consecrating yourself to God. Doing this helps to remind you who God is and who you are, and to start your prayer time right. You can use your own words, but saying something like, "I belong to Jesus and I present my life as a living sacrifice" or "I choose to die to self, that I may live wholly for You" or "As I begin to pray, Lord, help me to order my heart's loves rightly. I seek You above all things" or "God, today I again dedicate my life to You."
    • Why don't you try that right now. Take a moment (or more) to pray, specifically dedicating yourself to God.
  • What have you been praying for, but haven't yet received an answer for? Why do you think God may be making you wait? Have you given up praying for it? What would help you to keep your confidence in God and to keep praying?