Summary: How do we have a great life? 1. Restore the temple 2. Restore the people 3. Rely on God.
"If My People"
1. Restoration of the Temple
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the LORD because the glory of the LORD filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the LORD above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”
The temple was complete. It was a great accomplishment of the Lord. The promise of a great temple had been fulfilled. Every part of it was filled the gold, silver, and precious jewels. No expense had been spared. Truly, at this point the people of Israel had given God the very best of what they had. Solomon and the people had dedicated the temple with great sacrifices.
God had made His presence known to all the people by filling the temple with His glory. What an awesome sight it must of been to see "fire coming down from heaven". The people worshipped their God and proclaimed, His goodness and His enduring love.
Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. 2 Chronicles 7:4-5
All that remained was the reminder to the people. Why, because they had worshipped and dedicated themselves before. Then they would get comfortable and forget the Lord and worship other Gods. The Lord would discipline them then they would repent and He would redeem them once again. The cycle was restoration, sin, judgment, repentance, and restoration.
The Lord reminded Solomon once again of some very important truths. 2 Chronicles 7:14-16 says,
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
2. Restoration of the People
It is a conditional statement. It implies that there are options. It also means that there is a choice involved on our part. A choice by us takes an act of the will. We can either take the offer or we can refuse the offer and accept the consequences.
It is an opportunity from the Lord. He is almighty God. He does not have to offer us anything. The great part of this offer is He desires top give us a chance, an opportunity that would not be offered if it were not for Him. It is freely given with no obligation on His part.
"my people" Ephesians 1:13,
I love these two words. They imply a personal relationship, not ownership, but relationship. God has chosen the Israelites out of all the peoples on the earth, they are His and He is their God. Above all He desires a relationship with them.
Jesus looked down from the hills of Jerusalem and said, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, How I have longed to gather you as a mother hen gathers her chicks." It is a love relationship. He created us to love.
Today believers are His chosen people. The chosen are those who have received Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. Again, it is a choice to accept or reject His offer of salvation. It says in 2 Corinthians 1:22,
He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
Once we receive Jesus Christ we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as God’s only. And scripture says that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38-39 says,
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Once we are His, we are His. But remember the choice? It requires a volitional act on our part, an act of the will to choose one or the other. What is it we are to do?
If we will humble ourselves is the first step. Humility does not mean we walk around all day with our eyes to the ground or with a whip smacking ourselves on the back or allowing someone else treat us that way. It means we recognize that we are not God and in life, we are powerless to live apart from Him. We admit that we have sinned and apart from Him there is no remedy.