Summary: We're going to look at an old passage of scripture today, we are going to focus on one verse, one phrase that God spoke and which we today consider one of the deepest revelations about the power and pattern of prayer.
If My People…
June 21st, 2015 2 Chronicles 7:14
Who here would like to know that God hears you when you pray? Who wants to be forgiven of any and all wrongs done to others or towards God? Who wants to be healed from past hurts and live in a community that is experiencing healing among its people?
Do we really want to see these things happen in our homes, our church, our community? Are we willing to hear what God says about these things? Then let's pray and let's learn a bit more today about prayer as we continue this series about communicating with God.
We're going to look at an old passage of scripture today, dating back to the time of the construction of the temple in Jerusalem by Solomon, the son of David and now King of Israel. We are going to focus on one verse, one phrase that God spoke and which we today consider one of the deepest revelations about the power and pattern of prayer.
So turn with me to 2 Chronicles chapter 7 and verse 14
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
(read it twice)
There is so much in that one verse, and we will try to grasp as much as possible today from it, but we must look at it on context also, so we don’t lose sight of why God said this and why we still need to follow his instruction a couple thousand years after He said it…
Solomon is building a temple for the Lord – as his father David had promised to do for God. The work is amazing, beautiful, wondrous for its day and even by today's standards. Statues of angels overlaid with gold, pillars of cedar, the most holy place almost entirely overlaid with gold, golden lampstands a giant bronze altar, gold decoration everywhere – golden tools and tables and dishes and doors…this would have been some sight to see!
When it was completed, the ark of the covenant containing the tablets (stone ones, not i-pads) on which God had written his ten commandments was brought into the temple. The worship team was instructed to play wearing their Sabbath best on cymbals, trumpets and other instruments and to sing 'For He is good, His love endures forever!' and when they did the house of the Lord was filled with a cloud, so much so that the ministers couldn’t keep the service going – wow!
Then in ch.6 Solomon stood before the entire assembly of people before the altar and on a specially made platform he kneels before them and before God – this is the KING, the LEADER humbling himself before everyone and he prays a prayer of dedication of this temple he has constructed for the Lord.
Now he realizes and he states in his prayer that no 'house' could actually contain God – 'heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you', he says. But this is a place where God will meet with mankind and will hear their prayers – this one place.
And so Solomon asks God some pretty deep questions, he makes some big requests on behalf of all the people. Things like, if a man sins but confesses before this altar, God, hear from heaven and you be the judge of what's right and wrong and repay accordingly.
If there's a defeat in war because we've sinned against you, but we turn back to you – hear from heaven and restore our land.
If the skies don’t bring rain - and we pray to you – hear from heaven and allow the land to be watered again.
If there's a famine and we run out of food, if there's disease or an outbreak of pests and we cry out to you for help – hear from heaven and forgive whatever sin has brought this upon us – we need you.
Hear from heaven, hear from heaven, hear from heaven: it echoes throughout Solomon's prayer – that in this place, when we come to you O God, hear us. And he closes his prayer with: 'let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place.'
And now in chapter 7, as soon as he finished praying – fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and the glory of God filled the temple – it was so bright and amazing that again, the priests could not even go in – it was that overwhelming.
And so a week of dedication celebration begins and it all starts with the offering of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep – this was HUGE!