2 Chronicles 6:12-42 (Part 1) – Let Them See You Submit To His Authority

Posted: July 17, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 6:12-42 (Part 1 of 4)

Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication

Opening Illustration/Comments

My greatest athletic achievement, sad to say, occurred when I was in middle school, in the 7th grade, in Anderson, SC. I was a member of the Trinity United Methodist Church 12 & Under basketball team that year. We won the church league championship that year. On that team, Eddie Yount and me, were the most talented players and we were the unquestioned leaders among the players on the team. We would score 90% of the points of our team each and every game. The other players who were less coordinated and less skilled than Eddie and me would simply try to get us the ball so one or both of us could make something happen. If they got in trouble in a corner or in a press on the court, they would look for one of us to get the ball to. Everybody knew, even our coach, that Eddie and I carried the team. We were his star players.

However, Coach Middleton worked us hard all of us, including me and Eddie. Coach Middleton was a sweet guy outside our practices but when we walked on the court for practice, he was all business. It took a few practices for all of us to figure that out, especially Eddie and me. We already knew from pick up games with the other guys that would be on our team that we were the best players. We knew we were going to start and would not be bench warmer. Coach Middleton didn’t care though. He put us all through the paces. He exercised us hard. He made us run plays OVER and OVER and OVER again. If we didn’t get them perfect, he would make us run them again. Defensive sets were run OVER and OVER and OVER again to get our reactions to what the other team was doing to become second nature. And, early on, he was hardest on Eddie and me. He knew we would be the ones to carry the team, so he hammered us harder about perfection than he did the others. It was during those pre-season and in-season practices, he established early on and throughout the season that he was the boss of the team, not me, and not Eddie. Even we, who were the ones to be counted on for most of the points and the best defense, were subject to Coach Middleton’s authority over the team. Back in those days, it wasn’t about making kids feel warm and fuzzy inside. In those days, it was about building character through the tough things that happen in sports and about teaching submission to those in authority over you. Eddie and I could have run away with the team so Coach Middleton had to establish his authority over us first.

Eddie and I didn’t like it at first – him being toughest on us more so than the other guys. However, after we got into the season and we started winning, we began to see that there was all a point to Coach Middleton’s toughness. We were tougher than other teams. We had better endurance than other teams. Funny how you can remember the details of your championship season (even if the only one you had was when you were 12! LOL!). The games we lost that year were because we did not observe the disciplined approach to offense and defense that Coach Middleton instilled in us. When we did, we won. By the time we got to the tournament that year, we were primed for our best basketball. We blew through the tournament’s first two rounds, betting the first two teams by 18 points and 12 points respectively. Then, in the championship game, we were going up against our rivals from Boulevard Baptist. They were our rivals because we all knew each other from school. We were all buddies. So boys being boys, you want to beat your best friends, right? They had beaten us during the regular season. They were just as good as us. So it was going to be a tough game. We won it by 8 points by the end. But it was Coach Middleton’s insistence on us listening to him and running the plays that he called and exactly as we practiced them that won us the game. When we submitted to his authority and didn’t try to be superstars trying to do everything ourselves, we won.

It is that idea of submitting to a higher authority that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the entire community of Israel, and he lifted his hands in prayer. 13 Now Solomon had made a bronze platform 7 1⁄2 feet long, 7 1⁄2 feet wide, and 4 1⁄2 feet high[a] and had placed it at the center of the Temple’s outer courtyard. He stood on the platform, and then he knelt in front of the entire community of Israel and lifted his hands toward heaven. 14 He prayed,

“O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David, my father. You made that promise with your own mouth, and with your own hands you have fulfilled it today.

16 “And now, O Lord, God of Israel, carry out the additional promise you made to your servant David, my father. For you said to him, ‘If your descendants guard their behavior and faithfully follow my Law as you have done, one of them will always sit on the throne of Israel.’ 17 Now, O Lord, God of Israel, fulfill this promise to your servant David.

18 “But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built! 19 Nevertheless, listen to my prayer and my plea, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you. 20 May you watch over this Temple day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name. May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place. 21 May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.

22 “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of your altar at this Temple, 23 then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused. Pay back the guilty as they deserve. Acquit the innocent because of their innocence.

24 “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn back and acknowledge your name and pray to you here in this Temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and return them to this land you gave to them and to their ancestors.

26 “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and if they pray toward this Temple and acknowledge your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to follow the right path, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.

28 “If there is a famine in the land or a plague or crop disease or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever disaster or disease there is— 29 and if your people Israel pray about their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, 30 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 31 Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

32 “In the future, foreigners who do not belong to your people Israel will hear of you. They will come from distant lands when they hear of your great name and your strong hand and your powerful arm. And when they pray toward this Temple, 33 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. In this way, all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built honors your name.

34 “If your people go out where you send them to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you by turning toward this city you have chosen and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 35 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.

36 “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you might become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far away or near. 37 But in that land of exile, they might turn to you in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’ 38 If they turn to you with their whole heart and soul in the land of their captivity and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors—toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name— 39 then hear their prayers and their petitions from heaven where you live, and uphold their cause. Forgive your people who have sinned against you.

40 “O my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to all the prayers made to you in this place.

41

“And now arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place,

    along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.

May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation;

    may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness.

42

O Lord God, do not reject the king you have anointed.

    Remember your unfailing love for your servant David.”.

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we see that Solomon knelt before God publicly. It was and is unusual for a king or head of state to kneel before someone else in front of his own people, because kneeling meant submitting to a higher authority. Solomon demonstrated his great love and reverence for God by kneeling before Him. His action showed that he acknowledged God as the ultimate authority, the ultimate king, and it set an example for his people.

Life Application

I think there are two takeaways for us today. First, no matter how talented you are. No matter how much money you have. No matter what. We are all subject to God’s authority. We must realize that and submit to that. He created us and the entire universe around us. Thus, we are subject to God. He may be tough on us at times, but He only wants the best for us. He expects obedience from us not because He is sadistic or controlling but rather because He knows what will happen to us when we don’t obey Him – danger, disaster, and loss. He wants us to live in the boundaries that He has established for us so that we can flourish in His blessings. Second, as parents, as leaders, as preachers, as those who lead others, showing that we submit to God in everything that we do sets a good example for the others. For me and Eddie on that 12 & Under team, when the others saw that we listened to and followed Coach Middleton’s instructions, it was easier for them to submit to his authority. It is the same for us as leaders in our submission to God. Let others see our dependence on God. Let others see us following His commands. Let them see us pray. Let them see us seeking God’s help when we are troubled. Let them the see us submit to the One and Only True Authority in our lives.

Amen and Amen.

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