Adult 1 Sunday School Class 2 Chronicles 7:12-22 March 25, 2018
Keep My Statutes and Ordinances
Theme: Living a just and merciful life requires people to sacrifice their own desires and thoughts. What are consequences for not choosing to be just and merciful? God told Solomon that if he did not follow the statutes and ordinances given to him by the Lord, then calamity would come upon the people and the Temple would be abandoned.
Understanding and Interpreting the Scriptures (answers are in bold print)
Please explain the meaning or significance of the following verses:
* 2 Chronicles 7:12, “And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.” Here God has appeared to Solomon in a dream and tells him that He has heard his prayers and has consecrated the Temple where His people will worship Him. (1 Kings 9:1-9). God’s covenant with Solomon is that his progeny (offspring) will prosper if they are obedient to Him by keeping His statutes and ordinances, and if they do not, they will be punished. Punishment in removing Solomon’s heirs from the throne, He will heap destruction upon this Temple, and will bring adversity upon them for adopting and worshiping other gods.
* v.13 and 14, “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14. If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Several years had passed since the dedication of the Temple in Chapter 6. These verses relate a cause and effect. Sin leads to punishment, and for these people to reconcile with Him, they should move to humility and repentance. God will respond to Israel with forgiveness and healing. These set of circumstances leading to redemption applies not only to the OT, but more importantly for Christians today. Nothing exemplifies this more than verse 14. “People called by my name” refers to the Israelites then, and for us today means “Christians”. To reconcile with God, they (we) must first humble themselves (ourselves) and pray for God’s forgiveness and seek His face (by turning away from sin and toward the Will of God), then I will hear from heaven (God’s response to repentant prayers) whereby God will forgive their sin and will heal their land. In the OT world, fruitful land was required for life itself. God could bring upon drought or the pestilence of locust upon their land. To “heal their land” means to remove all forms of punishment upon them so that crops would flourish. Today, God can remove the impediments in our lives as a result of our sins and heal our separation from God.
* v.15 and 16, “Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attend unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there forever: and mine eyes and heart shall be there perpetually.” Here the Lord speaks to Solomon and says, “Now my eyes are opened, and mine ears attend unto the prayer…” We have said before that this is the literary device called “personification”, whereby we give human attributes to a non-human entity. God is a Spirit and is not human, He has no eyes, yet He can see, He has no ears, yet He can hear. By using this literary form, it gives people a better description in terms that the masses can understand and gives them the feeling of a more personal and intimate relationship with God. God confirms that this is the place where His people will worship Him in this Temple.
*v. 17 and 18., “ And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; 18. Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.” God relates the perpetuity (continuance or perpetual) of Solomon throne to his progeny (offspring) in the covenant He made with David, and it is depended upon their obedience to God. The wisdom of Solomon, surprisingly, did not keep him from his disobedience to God.
*v. 19,20,21, and 22, “But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20. Then will I pluck them up by the roots out if my land which I have given them; and this house (Temple), which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. 21. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to everyone that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22. And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.” This is a warning by God that disobedience and idolatry will not be tolerated; and can lead to exile, humiliation, and destruction. A good Israel would be an example to the world; or a lesson to the world for those who disobey God’s statutes. Being in the Will of God brings hope, prosperity, and fulfillment, whereas disobedience brings your downfall and misery. However, the merciful God through our repentance bestows upon us forgiveness, healing and restoration.