2 Chronicles 7:11-22 (Part 1) – No Longer Is the Time of Comfortable Christianity!

Posted: July 27, 2020 in 14-2 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 7:11-22 (Part 1 of 2)

The Dedication of the Temple

Opening Illustration/Comments

Man, has this passage, particularly vv. 13-14, of this passage gotten a lot of airplay on the Facebook pages of Christ followers over the past few months and rightly so. I am not usually one to quickly jump on the bandwagon of ideas that permeate our Christian subculture, of which I am a part. Sometimes, we have to remember about God’s prophecies of end times, Jesus himself said that we will not know the time and the place of the fulfillment of the end times and that only the Father knows that. But there is certainly ample biblical evidence that God blesses those who obey Him and He withdraws his blessing from those who do not. God will protect those who obey and He will withdraw his protection from those who do not.

The actions of government and of the vast majority of Americans demonstrate that we are sliding down the slope of disregard for obedience to God’s Word. We have become a nation of rising the needs of the one over the needs of the many. By that, I mean that we were once a nation where the good of society was considered paramount and it would override the needs of the individual. Throughout our history until the last 60 or years, the “greater good of society” was always considered superior to the needs of limited subsets of individuals within our society. However, in the last sixty years and particularly within the last 10-15 years, the needs of the individual have become paramount in our society. The needs of the one outweighs the needs of the many. The expression of individual rights have become so treasured in our society that, even if the expression of those individual rights is detrimental to society as a whole, it does not matter. The practice of our individual rights has become a sacred thing in our nation. If I cannot express my rights personally then I am oppressed and I cannot live in full flower of who I am. If I cannot express my rights, I am held back and if I am not allowed to be who I am, it is a violation of the greater ideal of fully expressive cultural idea that this is love when we allow every individual to be who they WANT to be. The reason that this has taken root in our society is that we are me-oriented now rather than God oriented (which orients us toward the good of not only ourselves but of our society as a whole). No longer do we care about anyone but ourselves. It used to be that sure, you could express yourself, but expressing yourself was limited by whether expressing ourselves damaged society as a whole.

We have strayed so far from God in our pursuit of self as god that our society is decaying within just as the northern and southern kingdom did in the Old Testament. It’s like a playbook for what’s going on in our society right now. If you want to see the history of the United States that sounds eerily familiar just read the history of Israel. It was blessed so mightily for a while and then after Solomon, the kingdom became increasingly immoral and began pursuing their own personal, individual desires. We have forgotten about God and His Word much like Israel. God withdrew his blessing from biblical Israel and He will do so with us. We were blessed. He is withdrawing His blessings from us now. Read the playbook in Kings and Chronicles. It’s all right there. What happened to them will happen to us. As the old saying goes, “Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it!” We are repeating biblical Israel’s mistakes in pursuit of self actualization, in pursuit of our personal desires as the gods over of our 350 million lives.

It is that idea of withdrawal of blessing that I thought about this morning when reading this passage, 2 Chronicles 7:11-22. Let’s read through it this morning, together, with that idea in mind:

Scripture Passage

11 So Solomon finished the Temple of the Lord, as well as the royal palace. He completed everything he had planned to do in the construction of the Temple and the palace. 12 Then one night the Lord appeared to Solomon and said,

“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

17 “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 18 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’

19 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 20 then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make it an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. 21 And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’

22 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why he has brought all these disasters on them.”

Passage Analysis

In this passage, we remember from 2 Chronicles 6:37-39 that Solomon asked God to make provision for the people when they sinned. God answers here with four conditions for forgiveness:

  1. We must humble ourselves by admitting that our thoughts and/or actions have been sinful in the eyes of the Lord.
  2. pray to God and ask Him directly to forgive us during our prayers.
  3. seek God continually
  4. turn from the sinful behavior and ask for the Lord to guide you away from its temptations in the future.

True repentance is more than talk. It is fundamental change where the sinful behaviors are no longer desirable to us because (1) we are revolted by the sin and (2) are fully aware of the aftershocks that a sinful behavior has on ourselves, others, and our relationship with God. Whether we sin individually, as a group of people, or as a nation as a whole, following these steps will lead to forgiveness, God will answer our earnest and heartfelt prayers.

God plainly set forth certain conditions for Solomon to meet if wanted the kingdom to continue. If Solomon followed God, he and his descendants would prosper. If Solomon did not, he and the nation would be destroyed. In Deuteronomy 27 and 28, the whole nation heard this outline for continued blessing and protection by God. Sin is deceptively attractive and Solomon eventually turned from God. As a result his son and heir lost most of the kingdom of Israel held by Solomon. Following God brings benefits and rewards (though these may not be in earthly treasures or successes as we might wish they would be). Turning away from God brings suffering punishment and ultimately destruction.

Within 400 years of Solomon building the fabulous Temple to the Lord, it was ransacked. It is difficult for us to imagine that such a great and wise king as Solomon could become corrupted by allowing idols into his life – the symbols of power, prosperity, and sexuality. Even today, these idols lure us into their traps. When we allow anything money, sex, power, a person, self-help gurus, and anything that we allow to take the place of God on the throne of our hearts, we have take the first step toward spiritual decay.

Life Application

I think the thing that we need to takeaway this morning is that we as Christians can no longer sit on the sidelines and bemoan what is happening in our culture. We still have time to turn our country around before God completely withdraws His blessing and protection from our country. We must be willing to do more than sit on the sidelines and wish the game was turning out differently. We need to get in the game. We must be willing to do more than withdraw behind our fences and go up in our ivory towers and cast aspersion on what’s going on down below our ivory towers. We must be willing to come down from our ivory towers and go outside our fences. We must engage in the spiritual battle for the heart and soul of our nation. We must be willing to run for local, state and national offices and begin to change the culture. We must be willing to do more than sit in church on Sunday. We must be out in the street loving on our communities so that people can here different voices than that of Satan that is telling them to do whatever makes them individually feel good. We can’t turn our toward God when the only voice that is speaking to the culture is telling them they don’t need God anymore and that they are their own gods. We must be the voice in the culture. We must be the voice in government. We cannot turn the country around and toward God unless we are outside the walls of our churches. We can no longer be comfortable Christians. We must take the risks that need taking to save our nation. It’s not going to change by itself. It’s not going to change until we get in the game to change it!

Amen and Amen.

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