Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Monday, June 13, 2016

Chronological Reading Plan for June 13, 2 Chron 6-7, Psalms 136

Today's readings are 2 Chron 6-7, Psalms 136. tomorrow's are Psalms 134, 146-150. 

In 2 Chron 6, we see the dedication of the temple in detail. Solomon's prayer of dedication reveals much about himself. Like his father, David, Solomon is a godly man who sometimes makes regrettable decisions. In this case, he humbles himself before the nation he leads and before his God by kneeling down and uttering an astonishing prayer.

He begins by confessing that God cannot be contained in the temple. Then Solomon enumerates the possible consequences of sin upon the nation of Israel. In each case, he prays that the people would repent before their God. We see the value of contrite, repentant hearts. 

Solomon's prayers reflect the experience and history of his people. They have repeatedly sinned, paid the consequences, then turned back toward God and called out to Him. God has been consistently gracious and merciful but has also continued to refine them, teach them and discipline them, revealing more of His character and nature to them as their relationship with Him continues to develop. 

This is a model for our personal relationship with God. We may stumble and fail from time to time. God is always gracious and merciful, willing to teach us and move us forward. But this happens only if we humble ourselves and repent. Israel did it. Solomon, the wisest man in the world did it. We should do it as well. The reward is a closer, more intimate relationship with God. 

The temple is a milestone in the Israel's growth. Adam walked in an intimate relationship with God. When he sinned, Adam was ejected from the garden, taking the human race with him. God chose a man, Abraham, to begin leading a particular people back into an intimate relationship with Himself.  He delivered them, gave them His law, gave them a home and now dwells among them. The relationship is progressing but is not yet complete. There is still a veil between God and His chosen people. The relationship will continue to grow until, one day, the veil will be removed and God will live inside His people rather than among them. 

In 2 Chron 7, we see that much bloodshed accompanies this phase of the growing relationship. We learn that man's communion with God progresses through repentance and the shedding of blood as a sacrifice for sin. 

God reiterates all this when he reveals to Solomon that His blessing are conditional. They will come if the people humble themselves and repent. There are tremendous blessings for those who lead godly lives. But there are also grave consequences for those who sin. 

The ground rules have been set. There is a clear understanding of what God expects from His people. The temple is complete. There is peace in Israel. 

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