“Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people ... This great people of Yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Wisdom is not given to us for our own benefit, It is given to us for the benefit of others - so that we might lead them to the Lord. We are to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. He “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
“I want to build the Temple for the Lord my God. I want to dedicate it to Him” (2 Chronicles 2:4). Everything that we do is to be done for God. Everything that we do is to be dedicated to Him. This is the lesson that we learn from Solomon and the building of the Temple. We are to do all things for the glory of God. He alone is worthy of our praise. We are not only to worship Him in the place of worship and at the time set aside for worship. We are to worship Him all of the time, wherever we are. We are to praise Him in His House. We are to continue to praise Him, as we go out from His House to the world.
The building of the Temple - It was “the Lord’s Temple” (2 Chronicles 3:1). It was being built “for the Lord’s Name” (2 Chronicles 2:1). The glory of the Lord - This must never be forgotten. There is nothing more important than this. God is to be glorified. This was the reason for the building of the Temple.This must be the driving force in our lives - in everything we do. Let God be glorified in all things. Blessing will only come to us when we give the glory to God. We must not seek glory for ourselves.
“The Lord’s glory filled the Lord’s Temple” (2 Chronicles 5:14), The emphasis is not on Solomon. It is the Lord who must be the focus of our attention. It is the Lord who is to receive glory. Solomon emphasizes this: “I’ve built the Temple for the Name of the Lord God of Israel” (2 Chronicles 6:11). In his prayer (2 Chronicles 6:14-42), Solomon prays for “salvation” (2 Chronicles 6:41). He does not only pray for himself. He prays for others. He prays that they will come to God, praying for “salvation”. He asks God to hear and answer these prayers.
The continuation of God’s blessing is conditional on the continuation of Israel’s obedience. The Temple does not guarantee the continuation of God’s blessing: “If you and your descendants turn away from Me ... I will reject this Temple that I declared holy for My Name. I will make it an example and an object of ridicule for all the people of the world” (2 Chronicles 7:19-20). These are God’s words of warning. He also gives His promise of blessing to those who turn to Him - “If My people ...” (2 Chronicles 7:14-16).
The grandeur of Solomon was most impressive. After reading about all of his glory, we come to the point where he dies. This is a reminder that we cannot take our riches with us. It’s a reminder of Jesus’ words: “Do not lay up treasures on earth.Lay up treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:19-20), We must never lose sight of the eternal dimension of our life.
In the history of Israel, there were low points - “all Israel abandoned the Lord’s teaching” (2 Chronicles 12:1) - as well as high points - “Asa did what the Lord his God considered right and good” (2 Chronicles 14:2). Even Asa was not consistently faithful to the Lord. Despite the statement, “Asa remained committed to the Lord his entire life” (2 Chronicles 15:17), there are signs that, at the end of his life, his faith was not as strong as it should have been. God is calling us to move forward in faith and obedience. He is calling us to walk in His ways all the days of our life.
The reign of Jehoshaphat was a good reign. He was the “king of Judah” (2 Chronicles 20:31). He was very different from “King Ahab of Israel” (2 Chronicles 18:3). Good kings, bad kings - Each has his influence on the people: a good influence, a bad influence. Reading about these things makes us think about ourselves and the influence we have on other people. Is it good or bad? What about our own commitment to the Lord? Is it real? Is it changing us - and others?
We live in difficult times. Many are choosing to do what is ‘evil in the sight of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 21:6). We must make another choice, a better choice. We must choose to ‘be the Lord’s people’ (2 Chronicles 23:16). In this time of great darkness, we have ‘the lamp of the Lord’: ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ (2 Chronicles 21:7; Proverbs 20:27; Psalm 119:105). We must let His lamp shine brightly: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven’ (Matthew 5:16). The darkness will not overcome the light (John 1:5). Satan will be ‘slain by the sword’. He will be ‘thrown down’. All God’s people, from every land, will rejoice - ‘Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Chronicles 23:21; Revelation 12:9; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 15:57).
‘He turned away from the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 25:27). Things have not changed. Many are turning away from the Lord. We must search our hearts. We must pray for God’s help: ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me, and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!’ (Psalm 139:24). We read about the kings who ‘turned away from the Lord’. We must learn from their mistakes. These things are ‘recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord’ (Psalm 102:18). If we don’t learn from their mistakes, we will repeat their mistakes. Don’t turn away from the Lord. Turn to Him. May God help us to live as His faithful people - ‘Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong’ (1 Corinthians 16:13).
We must not take God’s blessing for granted. King Uzziah began well - ‘He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord... He set himself to seek God’ (2 Chronicles 26:4-5). Things went wrong - ‘When he was strong he grew proud’ and ‘he was false to the Lord his God’ (2 Chronicles 26:16). We must choose to live the Lord’s way - King Jotham ‘did what was right in the eyes of the Lord’. Even when we do this, it does not guarantee that others will follow our example - ‘the people still followed corrupt practices’ (2 Chronicles 27:2). In times of trouble, we can become bitter people - ‘In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the Lord’ - or better people - ‘the God of all comfort ... comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble...’ (2 Chronicles 28:22; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Bitter or better - Which will it be?
God is calling us to be holy - ‘Now sanctify yourselves, and sanctify the House of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the holy place’ (2 Chronicles 29:5). Before there can be true rejoicing in the Lord - ‘they sang praises with gladness’ - , there must be real dedication to the Lord - ‘We have cleansed all the House of the Lord’ (30,18). Before there can be rejoicing, there must be restoration (2 Chronicles 29:35-36). We may pray, ‘Restore, O Lord, the honour of Your Name!’. We must also pray, ‘Cleanse me from my sin, Lord’. The prayer for revival begins with the dedication of our own lives to the Lord - ‘O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival - start the work in me’ (Mission Praise, 579, 82, 587). Revival can happen ‘suddenly’ (2 Chronicles 29:36). It will not happen without a true return to the Lord.
We are called to ‘return to the Lord’. With this call comes God’s promise: ‘the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you, if you return to Him’ (2 Chronicles 30:9). Where does the desire to return to the Lord come from? - It comes from the Lord Himself: ‘the hand of the Lord was on the people to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the Word of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 30:12). Returning to the Lord, we hear His Word of forgiveness: ‘The good Lord pardon every one who sets his heart to seek God’. We rejoice in the Gospel - ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. ‘ The Lord has blessed His people’. We rejoice in Him - ‘Praise the Lord!... Let the people rejoice’ and ‘let the earth hear His voice’ (2 Chronicles 30:18-19, 10; Mission Praise, 708).
Seek God and serve God. This is what King Hezekiah did - ‘he did what was good and right and faithful before the Lord his God,... seeking his God... with all his heart’ (2 Chronicles 31:20-21). Seek God and serve God. This is what we must do. God was good to Hezekiah - ‘the Lord saved Hezekiah...’ (2 Chronicles 32:22). God is good to us. He saves us. To ‘all the ends of the earth’, He says, ‘Turn to Me and be saved’ (Isaiah 45:22). He calls us to come to Him through Jesus Christ, ‘the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42). It is so easy to forget the Lord. Hezekiah was delivered from death yet he did not thank the Lord (2 Chronicles 32:24-25). We may forget the Lord, but He does not forget us. He waits for us to return to Him and receive His forgiveness - ‘the Lord is merciful and gracious... He does not deal with us according to our sins...’ (2 Chronicles 32:26; Psalm 108:8-13).
Good work can be very quickly undone - ‘Manasseh... did what was evil in the sight of the Lord... he rebuilt the high places which his father Hezekiah had broken down, and set up altars to other gods...’ (2 Chronicles 33:1-3). We must be careful to follow the godly example of those who have served the Lord well. In Hebrews 11, we read about God’s faithful servants. They served the Lord in their day. We are to serve Him in our day - ‘surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,... let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus...’ (Hebrews 12:1-2). Bad work can also be undone if, like King Josiah, we are ready to make a new beginning with God (2 Chronicles 34:1-4). He was only ‘eight years old when he began to reign’. Pray that the children will start loving God now and keep loving Him as they grow older.
During the reign of King Josiah, there was spiritual revival (2 Chronicles 34:33). Where did this spiritual revival come from? It came from God. It came from the rediscovery of God’s Word. Where was the Word of the Lord found? - It was found ‘in the House of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 34:15). God speaks to us through His Word. Beyond the written Word, there is Jesus Christ, the living Word. The Word of God is preached to us. We listen for the Voice of Jesus Christ, the true and living Word of God. God is speaking His Word in power. This is much more than the opening of a book. It is the opening of our hearts to the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts (Romans 5:5). It is the opening of our hearts by the Spirit of God. Through the Spirit, ‘rivers of living water’ flow out from our hearts (John 7:37-39).
Josiah had been a good king, but ‘he did not listen to the words of Neco from the mouth of God’. His mistake was very costly. He ‘fought’. He was ‘shot’ and ‘badly wounded’. He ‘died’ and was ‘buried’ (2 Chronicles 35:22-24). Be careful in your listening to God”s Word. Failure to obey His Word will be costly: ‘How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?’ (Hebrews 2:3). After Josiah’s time, there was terrible spiritual decline. Beginning with Jehoahaz (1-2; 2 Kings 23:31-32), the kings ‘did what was evil in the sight of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 36:5,9,11-12). Was there any hope for the future? - Yes! ‘The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia... to build Him a House at Jerusalem’. Like Cyrus, we must say to our neighbours, ‘Let us go to the House of the Lord’ (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Psalm 122:1). His time of blessing may not be far away!