Solomon Prays

By on September 9, 2018

Part 19 in Sermon Series: A Region Ripe for Revival

Scripture reading from II Chronicles 6:14-7:3

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2 Comments to “Solomon Prays”

  1. Donald McMahon
    September 9, 2018

    “Solomon Prays” (2 Chronicles 6:14–7:3)(9.9.18)
    LET US PRAY:
    INTRODUCTION:
    Puritan preacher John Owen presents a beautiful picture of what communion with God looks like:
    “there is no more sacred truth than this, that where Christ is present with believers, –
    where they live in the view of his glory by faith as it is proposed unto them in the Gospel, –
    he will give unto them, at his own seasons, such intimations of his love, such supplies of his Spirit,
    such holy joys and rejoicings, such repose of soul in assurance, as shall refresh their souls, fill them with joy,
    satisfy them with spiritual delight, and quicken them unto all acts of holy communion with himself.”
    We should pray for an experience of God like Owen describes. Notice the key condition, the beginning of the blessedness, is “that where Christ is present with believers.” The presence of God is the desire of every human heart, whether each person knows it or not. This desire we confessed earlier in the service: “that thou mayest come into the full glory of thy creation, in us and in all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord Amen.”
    In our Nicene Creed, we proclaim: “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and Son is worshiped and glorified.”
    When we are truly born again, we are baptized with God the Holy Spirit. Thus, the giver of life makes us new creations. As I have been praying and preaching revival these last four months, I have been calling on God to do a mighty act in us as individuals, as a church, in our community, and in our region. Last week, I showed you the picture of Emmaus Church with a beautiful rainbow arching over the region. And, I reminded you of the vision of Revelation 4 where the heavenly throne of God was crowned with a rainbow. May God’s presence be enthroned right here at Emmaus.
    In today’s scripture, we have King Solomon praying for the same kind of manifestation of God. The Jerusalem Temple of God has finally been completed. It is an historic day of dedication and the whole place is filled with Jews who have gathered for the Feast of Tabernacles and the subsequent grand opening of Yahweh’s Temple. Before this huge congregation, on a large altar, King Solomon, King David’s son, kneels, lifts his hands and prays.
    2 Chronicles 6:14–7:3 (NIV84)
    14 He (Solomon) said:
    “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 15 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.
    16 “Now Lord, God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ 17 And now, O Lord, God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.
    18 “But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.
    22 “When a man wrongs his neighbor and is required to take an oath and he comes and swears the oath before your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty and so establish his innocence.
    24 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you and when they turn back and confess your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their fathers.
    26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.
    28 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 29 and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel—each one aware of his afflictions and pains, and spreading out his hands toward this temple— 30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), 31 so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.
    32 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when he comes and prays toward this temple, 33 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.
    34 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.
    36 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.
    40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
    41 “Now arise, O Lord God, and come to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
    May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
    may your saints rejoice in your goodness.
    42 O Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
    Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”
    7 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. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 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 word of God for the people of God.
    BODY:
    I am sure you will be grateful that I am not going to go through this prayer verse by verse due to time constraints. But, there is much for us to learn here and it has been recorded for us as a model and for establishing several truths for us.
    Solomon starts the prayer with adoration for the God of Israel. This is claiming God’s rightful place over His people. There is no God like our God who is faithful who is love, who keeps promises, who by his mouth and hands is active in human history.
    Before I get into the promise, I want to point out the primary condition that God’s people must meet to be God’s people. Very significantly, there are 12 instances in this prayer where Solomon says to God, we are your people and another 11 instances of the name Israel used to identify the people. Right in the beginning Solomon states that we must continue wholeheartedly in God’s way. Then a few verses later “if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law.” Obedience is critical. Right living is critical.
    Confession is another element of this prayer, individual and national. There is a plea for mercy; Israel sinned; when you hear, forgive; forgive the sin; your people have sinned; forgive the sins of your servants; forgive and deal with each man; When they sin against you; For there is no one who does not sin; and forgive your people that sinned against you.
    There is no doubt in Solomon’s mind about the connection between sin and punishment: defeat by an enemy; there is no rain; you have afflicted them; famine, plague, blight, mildew, locust, grasshoppers, disaster, disease, pain; captivity, and exile. These are all identified as tools of Yahweh’s wrath.
    The proper response is to go to God in prayer and confess: we have done wrong and acted wickedly. BUT merely mouthing words of confession is not sufficient. Repentance is required. Solomon prays: they turn back and confess your name and they confess your name and turn from their sin; if they have a change of heart and repent and plead with you; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul. Do you see the power of true confession? Repentance follows true confession and includes a significant change of heart. It includes a change of direction for your life.
    Confessing the Lord’s name is not simply saying God’s name. It is confessing who God is, the Great I AM; the character of God; the power of God; the authority of God. We begin to understand the significance of God’s name when Solomon prays “the temple I have built for your Name.” It is acknowledging who God is and who we are in relationship to our Lord.
    This is part of being humble before the Creator of the universe. The Lord brings down the proud but lifts up the humble. King Solomon calls himself a servant and calls his father King David a servant. Even the most powerful people in their day must submit to God Almighty. Servant is used 11 times in Solomon’s prayer.
    Pastor and preacher Charles Finney knew very well these truths that Solomon is addressing as he prays. Finney, after twenty years of experience as a “Revivalist,” wrote Reflections on Revival. Let me give a brief summary of his first few letters:
    “The reason people fall away from the faith is that their conversion was not based on a heartfelt recognition of complete human depravity. Without such a realization, we cannot fully understand our complete need of a Savior. Hence, we do not love God wholeheartedly for what has been done for us by Jesus’ death. Without our dying with Christ, we cannot be raised like Christ. Such feeble Christians only live a shell of the resurrected life made possible by our Lord Jesus.
    While Finney was often accused of trying to make revival a “man-made” event, in his Reflections on Revival, he plainly states that without God the Holy Spirit, there can be no real conversion and no “real” revival.”
    Now, in Solomon’s praying, he raises an issue that may bring a question to mind. If God is omnipresent, meaning God is everywhere, why pray for Him to come down into the Temple. The same question can be asked about our prayers for the presence of God to manifest here in our community.
    God transcends space and time and every other dimension or conception by which we frame our understanding of the universe. (Repeat) A biblical illustration of this is Moses and the burning bush. God, Yahweh, spoke to Moses from within the bush. Did Yahweh evacuate his presence from the whole universe to appear before Moses on that particular Holy Ground? Of course not. This is an additional, a special, manifestation of the Almighty.
    And, what made it holy ground? Yahweh’s presence made it holy ground. This is what Solomon prayed for and it is what we pray for. The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! We too want God’s presence to descend upon us. Burn within us Lord, with the fire that does not consume, but is realized as God the Holy Spirit.
    Over and over again, Solomon prays, O LORD my God, look down from heaven, see your people, hear your people. Hear our cries. Hear our prayers. Surely, he knew the Exodus account of the burning bush where 3:7 (NIV84) The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. Certainly God hears our cries, our pleas, our prayers.
    King Solomon prays, “But will God really dwell on earth with men?” The answer is an unequivocal Yes! As a pillar of fire God lead His people. The LORD filled the Tabernacle. When Solomon finished praying, fire from heaven came down and consumed the sacrifices. The glory of the Lord filled the Temple completely.
    And, God dwelled amongst us in the person of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of the Promise that I referred to earlier. The Lord had promised King David, when David wanted to build a house for the Lord, I will build you a house. This meant a dynasty from which the Messiah would come. There were also short term promises, but Jesus is the centerpiece of God’s promises to His people.
    Charles Spurgeon preached, “Our Temple is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ: “In him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” When we pray, we turn our faces toward him. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “In this place is One greater than the temple;” and so he is.
    Solomon knew that foreigners, people from distant lands, would be drawn to the Temple. They would be brought there by Yahweh’s great name, mighty hand and outstretched arm. They will be compelled to the Temple to pray. Likewise, Jesus came for all people and Jesus said in John 6:44 (NIV84) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
    CONCLUSION:
    Jesus, where’er thy people meet by William Cowper
    1 Jesus, where’er thy people meet,
    there they behold thy mercy-seat;
    where’er they seek thee thou art found,
    and every place is hallowed ground.
    2 For thou, within no walls confined,
    inhabitest the humble mind;
    such ever bring thee when they come,
    and, going, take thee to their home.
    3 Dear Shepherd of thy chosen few,
    thy former mercies here renew;
    here to our waiting hearts proclaim
    the sweetness of thy saving name.
    4 Here may we prove the power of prayer
    to strengthen faith and sweeten care,
    to teach our faint desires to rise,
    and bring all heaven before our eyes.
    5 Lord, we are few, but thou art near;
    nor short thine arm, nor deaf thine ear:
    O rend the heavens, come quickly down,
    and make a thousand hearts thine own!
    I pray with the great Methodist preacher Robert Watson:
    “Lord, we ask—is it too much to ask? Has not your condescension on former occasions emboldened us to ask?—your special presence.
    Now, therefore, O Lord God, arise, and the ark of thy strength; fill this house with your glory, shake the temple of our redeemed spirits, and be an everlasting resident there.
    We prepare our hearts for you; we cast away our sins to make room for you; your Priests wait to be clothed with salvation; your people, to rejoice in your goodness;
    “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come;” all our hearts say, “Come;” our guilt, our weakness, our nothingness, have all a voice,—all say, “Come;” and will not you also say, “Lo, I come quickly?” Even so, come, come, Lord Jesus!”

    Amen and amen. Let us pray.

    Reply
  2. Donald McMahon
    September 10, 2018

    two corrections: 1) Obviously, it was the Apostle John who had the vision in Revelation 4. 2) The concluding prayer offered was Methodist preacher Richard (not Robert) Watson.

    Reply

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