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Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness ( 2 Chronicles 6:1 ).
Now Solomon, at this point, preached the sermon to the people. All of Israel, you remember, all the chief people had gathered and out in the courtyard he had built this little brass platform seven and a half feet square, and it was about four and a half feet high. And so he stood up on this little platform so that he could address all of the congregation of Israel. And his sermon to them is a sermon on the faithfulness of God. And the very fact that, here is the temple, it is completed, it is built, it testifies to the faithfulness of God's promise.
For it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And Jehovah said unto David my father, Forasmuch as it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well in that it was in your heart: notwithstanding you shall not build it ( 2 Chronicles 6:7-9 );
Now this to me is very interesting. God said, "David, inasmuch as it was in your heart to do it, you did well. That's fine. That's good." God reckons the things of man's heart. Now it is interesting, a lot of people have a real heart to give to God, but they have nothing to give. Inasmuch as it is in their heart to give, God counts that. Some people have a lot to give to God, but they don't give with their hearts. God doesn't count that. God is interested in your heart. What is in your heart to do for God? Now, you may not always be able to accomplish that which is in your heart to do. But God takes consideration of the fact that it's in your heart to do it for the Lord.
Now, within a lot of you, it is within your heart to serve God in some capacity. It's in your heart to be in the ministry. And inasmuch as it is in your heart to serve the Lord, God acknowledges it. That's good. It may be that you will never be actively engaged in a pulpit kind of a ministry. I cannot believe that you'll never be engaged in a ministry. I believe that all of us have a ministry and some of us have the misfortune of having a pulpit ministry. And I really feel that the rewards for the ministries that are done, more or less, in a secret or a quiet way are greater than those public kind of ministries where you get so much feedback and all from the actual ministry itself.
It is interesting how so many pray that God will give them sort of a pulpit ministry or public ministry, and I prayed for years that God would give me some quiet ministry. For years I prayed that God would help me and call me just to be a Christian businessman. I wanted to prove that you could be gung-ho for Jesus Christ and be involved in business. I've heard people say, "Oh, it's so hard to be a businessman and be a Christian." I don't believe that. And I've always wanted God to call me to be a businessman so I could prove that you can be a sold-out, gung-ho Christian working in the business world.
What is in your heart to do for God? God sees your heart. God knows your heart, and not only that, God accounts what's in your heart to do. And when God finally measures the things that are done, we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the reward for the things that we have done in our body, whether it be good or evil, and all of our works are going to be judged by fire, "what manner or sort they are" ( 1 Corinthians 3:13 ). And if your works for the Lord endure this fiery judgment, you'll receive a reward. But many of the works are as wood, hay, and stubble, and will be consumed in that day of judgment. And you've come and offer all your works before God and is tested by God's fire, and poof! There went all your works.
"But Lord, where is my reward?" You had it! You were doing your works in such an ostensible way that everybody recognized and knew what you were doing. When you pray, don't sound a trumpet before you and all, or don't go out in the street corners and don't make a big fanfare. Go into your closet, shut the door. Your Father which sees in secret will reward you. When you give, don't make a big to-do over the amount you're giving in a big parade over the thing, but just don't even let your right hand know what your left hand does. "Give to the Father in secret and your Father which seest in secret will reward you" ( Matthew 6:4 ).
When you fast, don't make a big deal over your fasting and go around with a long face and a hungry look so that everybody knows you're fasting. But wash and anoint your face. Look happy and fast and your Father which sees in secret will reward you.
Your works will be tested. What was the motivation? Was I desiring to appear righteous before people? Was I desiring feedback from people? Or was I taking the position that I had to feed my own egoistic needs? If so, those works will all go up in the smoke of the fire by which my works are to be judged. And I will lose the reward for any work that I may have done for vain, glory sake. God is going to judge the things of the heart. What was the motivation? And that is why it is so important that we be motivated by the constraining love of Jesus Christ. As Paul said, "For the love of Christ constrains me. For I thus judge, if one died for all, then are all dead" ( 2 Corinthians 5:14 ). And it's important that I get out the message of life to those who are dead. And God, pressure on me. Woe is me if I preach not the gospel of Jesus Christ that burns within. Do the work of God with that great compassion. "I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren's sake according to the flesh" ( Romans 9:3 ). The Jews.
So it was in my father's heart, David, to build a house unto the Lord. And the Lord said, Inasmuch as it was in your heart, that's good. But you can't do it. It's good it's in your heart to do it. I'll account that. But David, you can't do it.
But your son which shall come forth out of your loins, he shall build the house for my name ( 2 Chronicles 6:9 ).
And so God's promise to David is, "You can't build a house, but your son that will come out of your loins, he will build a house." And so Solomon is now preaching his sermon, the faithfulness of God's work. And he said,
The LORD therefore hath performed his word that he has spoken: for I am risen up in the place of David my father, and I am set upon the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised, and I have built the house for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And in it I have put the ark, wherein is the covenant of the LORD, that he made with the children of Israel ( 2 Chronicles 6:10-11 ).
And so the message of Solomon to the people was a message of the faithfulness of God.
Now he then knelt on this little brass altar or platform that he had built in the presence of the congregation of Israel, and he spread forth his hands toward heaven: and he said, O LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee in heaven, or in earth; which keeps your covenant, and shows the mercy to your servants, that walk before you with all your hearts ( 2 Chronicles 6:12-14 ):
No God in all the world that keeps His promises and shows mercy as You do.
Which has kept with thy servant David my father that which you have promised him; you fulfilled even as we can see today. Now therefore, O LORD God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, There shall not fail thee a man in my sight to sit upon the throne of Israel; yet so that thy children take heed to their way to walk in my law, as you have walked before me. Now then, O LORD God of Israel, let Your word be verified, which You have spoken unto thy servant David. But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, the heaven of heavens cannot contain you; how much less this house which I have built! Have respect therefore to the prayer of your servant, and to his supplications, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which your servant prayed before thee: That your eyes ( 2 Chronicles 6:15-20 )
Now Lord, I know that isn't a place for You to dwell in. I know that can't hold You. But let Your eyes,
be open upon this house day and night ( 2 Chronicles 6:20 ),
In other words, just watch it.
And on the place where you have said that you would put your name there; to hearken to the prayer which your servant prays toward this place ( 2 Chronicles 6:20 ).
So Lord, this isn't a place for You to dwell. Heavens can't contain You. But this is a place where men can come and meet You. So Lord, watch this place and keep Your ear open to the prayers that come forth to You from this place.
Hearken to the supplications of thy servant, and of the people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: and hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive ( 2 Chronicles 6:21 ).
So Lord, not a place for You to live. You dwell in heaven. But when we offer our prayers here, hear the prayers. "Hearken to the prayers of your servants: and hear from Your dwelling place in heaven; and when you hear, O God, forgive."
And now he foresees situations that may arise. The broken covenants.
If a man sins against his neighbor, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house; then hear from heaven, and do, and judge your servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his ways upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous ( 2 Chronicles 6:22-23 ).
Let there be, Lord, righteousness judgment proceeding.
And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before their enemies, because they have sinned against thee ( 2 Chronicles 6:24 );
And he now foresees these things that would transpire to the nation for sinning against God. And the first that they see, that he sees is that they would be put to the worst before their enemies.
but if they shall return and confess your name, and pray and make supplication in this house; Then hear thou from heaven, forgive thy people Israel, bring them again unto the land which you gave to their fathers. Now when the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, then hear from heaven. If there be dearth in the land, if there be a pestilence, if there be a blasting, or mildew, or locusts, or caterpillars; or if their enemies besiege their cities; or whatsoever sore or sickness there may be ( 2 Chronicles 6:24-28 ):
Whatever plague might go through.
Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people of Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men;) ( 2 Chronicles 6:29-30 )
How many times we think we know what's in the heart of the children. But we really don't. We are so guilty of misjudging people's motives. Some people are very gifted and talented in discerning the motives of others, they think. And they oftentimes read wrong motivation into a person's actions. And they are always looking for some ulterior kind of motive.
I had a lady in one of the churches I pastored. If you would say, "Good morning. How are you today?" She'd say, "Now just what did you mean 'Good morning'? And what are you really trying to say?" And always looking for some kind of an ulterior motive or hidden message or something. Thinking that you're trying to talk in double-entendres or something. Using innuendoes and all. And I've never been sophisticated enough to use double-entendres. So it's one of those things that only God really knows the heart and what's in the heart of the children of men.
If the strangers come in and they come into this place and they stretch out their arms and pray; then hear from heaven. If your people go out to war against their enemies, and they shall pray toward this city; then hear from heaven and answer their supplications, maintain their cause. If they sin against thee, [and then he said] (for there is no man which sinneth not,) ( 2 Chronicles 6:32-36 ).
The Bible says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" ( Romans 3:23 ). "There is none righteous, no, not one" ( Romans 3:10 ). And Solomon, a wise man, said, "For there is no man that sinneth not."
and you be angry with them, and deliver them before their enemies, and they are carried away as hostages into a land that is far off or near; yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and they turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have dealt wickedly; if they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have been carried captives, and they pray toward this land, that you gave to their fathers, and toward this city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Hear thou from heaven, even thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee ( 2 Chronicles 6:36-39 ).
Now in this, "being carried away captive and turning towards Jerusalem and praying," who does this remind you of? Daniel. You remember when he was in captivity in Babylon that he prayed three times daily. He'd open the windows towards Jerusalem and pray. And even the prayer of Daniel was what? The confession of sin. And it's following, really, the pattern that he was praying according to the pattern that Solomon had given here. If they confess their sins, and say, "We have done amiss. We have dealt wickedly," and you read the prayer of Daniel in captivity, and you know that he was familiar with this prayer of Solomon. Because he was doing exactly what Solomon had foreseen them doing in the future when carried into captivity. And so Daniel followed the pattern in his prayer.
Now, my God, I beseech thee, that thine eyes be open, thy ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. Now therefore arise, O LORD God, into thy resting place, thou, and the ark of thy strength: let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice with goodness ( 2 Chronicles 6:40-41 ).
What a beautiful sight. The priests clothed with salvation and the saints of God rejoicing in the goodness of God.
O LORD God, turn not away the face of thine anointed: remember the mercies of David thy servant ( 2 Chronicles 6:42 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 6". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany