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Completion of the Temple (II Chronicles 6:1-11)

“Then Solomon spoke: “The LORD said He would dwell in the dark cloud. I have surely built You an exalted house, And a place for You to dwell in forever.” Then the king turned around and blessed the whole assembly of Israel, while all the assembly of Israel was standing. And he said: “Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, who has fulfilled with His hands what He spoke with His mouth to my father David, saying, ‘Since the day that I brought My people out of the land of Egypt, I have chosen no city from any tribe of Israel in which to build a house, that My name might be there, nor did I choose any man to be a ruler over My people Israel. Yet I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name may be there, and I have chosen David to be over My people Israel.’ Now it was in the heart of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a temple for My name, you did well in that it was in your heart. Nevertheless you shall not build the temple, but your son who will come from your body, he shall build the temple for My name.’ So the LORD has fulfilled His word which He spoke, and I have filled the position of my father David, and sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised; and I have built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel. And there I have put the ark, in which is the covenant of the LORD which He made with the children of Israel.”” II Chronicles 6:1-11 NKJV

From the time of Israel’s Exodus and the giving of the Covenant at Mount Sinai the Ark of God rested in a tabernacle. It was a portable tent which moved throughout Israel’s wilderness wondering. The Ark of the Covenant, representing God’s presence, remained in the tent long after Israel settled in the Promised Land, throughout the Period of Judges, and into the United Kingdom period up to King Solomon. To his credit, David desired to build a permanent house for his GOD. David even collected the finest materials available for the monumental project. But God granted the honor of building His house to Solomon, David’s heir to the throne. Upon It’s completion God’s presence filled His Temple. This passage marks the beginning of Solomon’s dedication of the Temple.

Jesus Christ built another temple, His Church. He did so by giving His life and shedding His blood. In a very real since it took His blood, sweat, and tears to complete. His life is the flawless building material, eternal! After dying on the cross, the Father raised and exalted Him above all, proving that He is the eternal heir to the throne. Christ was given all authority to rule at GOD’s right hand. His first act was to send His Holy Spirit to dwell in the newly completed Temple on the Day of Pentecost.

If you belong to Him your body is the God’s Temple, purchased with the precious blood of Christ. He lives within each of His children by His Spirit! How do you dedicated His Temple?

Jesus, Heir of David’s Throne (Acts 2:29-36)

“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”” Acts 2:29-36 NKJV

Here Peter affirmed, as did Christ on the road to Emmaus (cf. Luke 24:25-27), the events of Christ’s earthly life. Namely, that He would suffer, be crucified, and raised from the dead so as not to remain in the grave (v. 27). Christ was exalted to the second highest position in the universe (to the right hand of the Father) and given authority to rule (v.34). King David foresaw and prophesied this, fulfilling God’s promise of an eternal heir to his throne (cf. Psalm 132).

Having authority to rule delegated to Him by the Father, Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit at Pentecost to work more powerfully in the lives of His people. By the power of the same Spirit the people of God work to expand His kingdom and defeat His enemy, while Christ oversees at the Fathers right hand.

How is His Spirit manifested in you?

 

The Lord Has Chosen Zion (Ps. 132:13-18)

For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place: “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread. Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy. There I will make a horn to sprout for David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.” Psalms 132:13-18

Is there any wonder why the people of Israel expect bliss? God swore to dwell in Zion, The City of David (2 Samuel 5:7). In His presence is abundant provisions, abolishing starvation. The righteousness reign throughout, leading the inhabitants in joyful worship. An heir to the throne will come from their own brothers and Israel with be the envy of the world.

Through Jesus, the Father has chosen to dwell within the hearts of His faith children by His Spirit. He adorns them in righteousness and their children have abundant provisions. He has given them authority to vanquish His enemies and the ability to live holy. By faith sinners are adopted into His family and have become joint heirs with His One and only Son. Together they have inherited eternal life, and shine as the brightness of the sky. As a virtuous wife, His Church shines as a crown.

Has He chosen to dwell in you?

God’s Promise to David (Psalm 132:8-12)

Arise, O LORD, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests be clothed with righteousness, and let your saints shout for joy. For the sake of your servant David, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: “One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne. If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies that I shall teach them, their sons also forever shall sit on your throne.” Psalms 132:8-12

How incumbent it is for those who lead in worship and teach the scriptures to be “cloths in righteousness.” Else the people would certainly stray from God. The prayer of this Psalm echos the sentiment of Solomon’s prayer of dedication (2 Chronicles 6:14-42) for God to establish David’s dynasty for the good of the people and ultimately the world. Here, worshippers petition that 1) God will be present in His chosen resting place; 2) priests be clothed in righteousness; 3) the saints celebrate God’s accomplishments in their midst; and 4) God would continue to show favor to David’s heirs.

Of course, God has already fulfilled His covenant through Christ Jesus. His Spirit perpetually rests within each believer (John 14:16); His beloved saints are clothed in the righteousness of Christ (Galatians 3:27) and form His royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9); true worshippers continuously show forth God’s praise through lifestyles that reflect His transforming work (2 Corinthians 3:18); and enjoy an inheritance as joint heirs with Christ, the beloved son of David (Romans 8:17). But this covenant rests in obedience, “if your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies…” (v. 12).

How do you share in God’s promise to David?

Provision Received by Faith (Hebrews 11:17-22)

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, “In Isaac your seed shall be called,” concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.”
Hebrews 11:17-22 NKJV

This passage examines the faith of Israel’s patriarchs. That their faith proved more vibrant at the end of life is noteworthy. By faith Abraham offered Isaac, the substance of his promise, back to God. He believed God was greater than the promise. Isaac, Jacob and even Joseph, looking beyond current circumstances, were able to forward blessings to their posterity. These men of faith understood that the same God who promised is greater than the substance of His promises. Thereby were able to maintain a faith to ignite the hope of an entire nation. It was not because the magnitude of the provision was so awe inspiring. Rather, it is because of the majesty of Him who promised.

The hallmark of faith cannot rest in the hope of promised provisions. Faith has to be anchored in the character of God. Where is your faith focused? Perhaps more importantly, how will you advance that faith to your posterity?

Blessings in Response to Obedience (Genesis 22:15-19)

 

And the angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the LORD, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba. And Abraham lived at Beersheba. Genesis 22:15-19 ESV

Oh how we crave God’s favor and “in error” chase after His blessings. This passage clearly shows us what moves God to bless His children and under what circumstances He extends Divine favor. Because there is no higher authority, He declares “I have sworn by Myself” (v.16). God grants favor and chooses to bless His children solely upon His integrity as our sovereign Lord. We were never meant to chase after blessings. In fact, His blessings are mandated to “overtake us” when we obey His commands (cf. Deuteronomy 28:2; 1 Samuel 15:22).

In his quest for God, Abraham’s obedience moved God to honor His promise (v. 16). When God’s children obey the voice of His command He is moved to bless them (v.18). This is not something He “will do” as much as He has “already done.” Instead of saying, “Won’t He do it,” perhaps we should exclaim, “Won’t He did it!” Time applies to us only in the since that this is “when” our obedience occurs. Today, as in times past, God grants needs and lavishes His children with blessings according to His glorious riches through Christ Jesus when we obey Him (cf. Philippians 4:19). We are not waiting on God to bless us; He is waiting on us to obey Him.

Can there be a greater motivation to seek after Him? What does your quest for God entail?

Help from the Sanctuary (Psalm 20:1-7)

“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; May the name of the God of Jacob defend you; May He send you help from the sanctuary, And strengthen you out of Zion; May He remember all your offerings, And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, And fulfill all your purpose. We will rejoice in your salvation, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭20:1-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

There are times when praying for the success of our leaders seem misplaced, especially when you do not agree with his/her agenda or policies. Psalm 20 finds the congregation actively praying for the success of their king. They petition Almighty God to answer his prayers, protect him from enemies, send him help, and support him. To call all of this “salvation” (v. 5) is to recognize that it comes from God as a gift and that it must further the ends for which God called his people to begin with. In other words, it is not a blank check for greed and land-grabbing. Rather, it is for God to accomplish the end for which He appointed their leader.

As you petition God for the success of those in positions of leadership remember that while many trust in the might of men, we will remember the name of the LORD our God. The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will (Proverbs 21:1). 

Praying for the success of our leaders displays godly faith and maturity uncommon in an era where challenging authorities is the norm. But then we are not called to be normal or common. We are called to be a holy and peculiar nation. What does your prayer life reveal about you?

Prayer and Strengthening

 

And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:41-44 ESV

Nowhere in scripture is Christ’s humanity seen more clearly than in these verses. Despite knowing the Father’s will with greater than crystal clarity, Jesus prays that the cup of the Father’s wrath poured out against the sin of humanity be removed. But because of the intimacy of their relationship, our Lord’s resolve to complete the task set from the world’s foundation was unflinching. It is here in the “oil press” that “an angel from heaven” appeared to strengthen Him.

So too it is for you, that in the crucible of life a call to the Father dispatches an angel to strengthen you to do the Father’s will. What a wonderful assurance it is to know the Father still hears and answers prayers! How is your resolve to obey God’s will for your life? Have you called on Him lately?

Redeemer of Israel’s Iniquities (Ps. 130: 1-8)

There are times when life’s circumstances are so dismal that we must climb up from the depth of misery over sin to confession. When we have truly confessed known sin we are assured that God’s mercy grants us access into His presence. And it is there, in His presence, that we find what amounts to more than all earthly security. We find absolute forgiveness. This is the setting of a Psalm 130.

What does absolute forgiveness feel like? Well, when we come to God in faith He promises to forgive iniquities, heal diseases, redeem from the pit of despair, crown us with steadfast love, extent mercy, satisfy us with goodness, and renew our strength like that of eagles. Once God has strengthen you there is but one possible response, continual praise!

Take a moment to reflect on past dismal circumstances. Now what does your praise look like?

God’s Long Patience (Nehemiah 9: 26-31)

The pattern of sin, judgment, repentance and deliverance is recurrent not only here and in the book of Judges, but throughout the entire Bible. It is through this cycle that the goodness of God demonstrated through patience is seen most clearly.

After Moses broke the first tablets of stone in anger, God graciously gave him a new copy because He is “the Lord slow to anger” (Exodus 34:6).  Israel, weary by their wilderness wondering, saw no point in continuing their journey. Despite Moses, Aaron, Joshuah and Caleb’s attempts to reason with them, Israel longed to return to Egypt, choosing instead to stone their leaders. God would have wiped Israel out right then and there, but Moses interceded based on two immutable facts: (1) God would appear unable to keep His promise to give them land; and (2) He is “the Lord slow to anger and abounding is steadfast love” (Numbers 14:18). Countless times His servant David, whether in hiding from Saul or in self inflicted calamity, trusted in God’s grace, mercy, patience, steadfast love, and faithfulness.

The Apostle Paul understood that God’s forbearance and patience are meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). The Apostle Peter saw the patient suffering of Christ, “the righteous for the unrighteous,” as a means to bring us to God (1Peter 3:18). So to are we to understand that this same attribute is required of us in order to bring others to discipleship in Christ (Ephesians 4:2). And it is amply supplied as Spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22). Not to be disheartened, it requires a moment-by-moment trust in God to fulfill His promises and purposes in your life at His appointed time. In other words, it requires God-pleasing faith!

How have you demonstrated patience lately? Is your patience clearly see in the eye of those who have not yet come to discipleship?

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