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- 2 Chronicles
by Joseph Parker
Almighty God, may the fire upon the altar ever be burning; may we watch lest the fire should decline, and in the morning we should find nothing but cold ashes where the flame should be springing up as if in conscious aspiration and joy. We remember the time when our hearts burned within us; a holy glow sent its fervour through the whole circle of our life, and men knew us by the warmth of our piety and the perfectness of our consecration; they said, Surely these men have been with Christ, and have been caught by the contagion of his enthusiasm. If we have become cold in our piety, broken in our devotion, shattered in our steadfastness, we blame ourselves alone. Thou wilt not forget our threefold enemy, the world, the flesh, and the devil. Thou knowest well that life is fought out upon a battlefield: that life is no luxury, no day-dream, no walk through scented gardens; how fierce a tumult it is thou knowest, and thou, High Priest of the world, wast tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Thou knowest the world, every phase of it, every day in its stormy week, and thou canst sympathise with us in the uproar and the conflict and the overwhelming assault. Yet thou canst make heroes upon the battlefield; there thou dost train men: may we take unto us the whole armour of God that we may be able to withstand in the evil day; may we fight bravely, strike strongly, with our whole heart, therefore with our whole arm, and in the end may it be found that by the grace of Christ we have trodden down all our spiritual foes. What burdens we have to carry thou knowest; how long the night often is thou canst tell, for thou dost keep the time in heaven; what weariness, what heartache: what tears we shed, what fears distress us, what sudden night hides the gleaming noonday and makes us afraid even in the midst of summer, thou canst tell; for we are naked and open to thine eyes, thou Maker of this mystery of manhood. Let thy Spirit come down upon us like a baptism of fire, and may we know the joy the tremulous, rapturous joy of those who their put trust in the living God, and who pray at the altar of the Cross, and have no hope but in the sacrificial blood there shed. Amen.
[The kingship of Solomon centres in the building of the temple of the Lord, and the account of that begins in chap. 2 with a statement of the preparations which Solomon made for the accomplishment of this great work, so much pressed upon him by his father, and concludes in chap. 7 with the answer which the Lord gave to his consecrating prayer in a vision. In chap. 1 before the history of the temple building, we have an account of the sacrifice at Gibeon by which Solomon inaugurated his reign ( 2Ch 1:1-13 ), with some short notices of his power and riches ( 2Ch 1:14-17 ); and in chaps. 8 and 9, after the temple building, we have summary statements about the palaces and cities which he built ( 2Ch 8:1-11 ), the arrangement of the regular religious service ( 2Ch 8:12-16 ), the voyage to Ophir ( 2Ch 8:17-18 ), the visit of the queen of Sheba ( 1Ch 9:1-12 ), his riches and his royal magnificence and glory ( 2Ch 9:13-28 ), with the concluding notices of the duration of his reign, and of his death ( 2Ch 9:29-30 ). If we compare with this the description of Solomon's reign in 1 Kings 1-11 we find that in the Chronicle not only are the narratives of his accession to the throne in consequence of Adonijah's attempted usurpation, and his confirming his kingdom by punishing the revolter (1 Kings 2:0 ), of his marriage to the Egyptian princess (chap. 1Ki 3:1-2 ), his wise judgment (chap. 1Ki 3:16-28 ), his public officers, his official men, his royal magnificence and glory ( 1Ki 4:1-5 , 1Ki 4:14 ), omitted, but also the accounts of the building of his palace ( 1Ki 7:1-12 ), of his idolatry, and of the adversaries who rose against him ( 1Ki 11:1-40 ). On the other hand, the description of the building and consecration of the temple is supplemented by various important details which are omitted from the First Book of Kings. Hence it is clear that the author of the Chronicle purposed only to portray more exactly the building of the house of God, and has only shortly touched upon all the other undertakings of this wise and fortunate king. Keil.]
the Fifth Week after Epiphany