October 9

II Chronicles 5:2-9:31

We are in the Nation Stream reading from the International Standard Version.

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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis

Lord Jesus, great things happen when we simply commit to worship wholeheartedly.  I pray our worship is as vibrant and magnificent as what we read of these days at the Temple. Amen.

This Temple phase of Israel’s history probably sounds familiar, and it does because we were reading this in I Kings 4-10.  It truly was a time and place with activity that was something to behold. Some may read of this magnificent development and wish things could have stayed this way but ours is to remember that we are being taken to another King (already reigning) and to another world, and into another worship service that we are to be preparing for.  This is the matter that God is planning for for us still.
5:2ff – When a home is newly constructed and the noisy building part is done and the crew starts putting items in the house while “dad and mom” are inside directing, it is an exciting time. A new home and a new setting is the stuff of dreams and future plans.  The Temple has reached this point in our reading today.  The Temple construction is done. Remember it was done in silence! The process of many years has been completed and items are being moved into place.  The Ark of The Covenant is put in the Holy of Holies – the X Commandments are the sole item inside the Ark.  Moses carried these two tablets 4-5 centuries prior, and here they are finally in the Temple on the Mount of Moriah where Abraham was preparing to sacrifice Isaac 1,000 years before. The significance of this Temple dedication cannot be overstated. The 120 trumpeters, the music and praises and loud singing was marvelous. And the Presence of the Lord, in a cloud, filled the Temple.  My oh my!  Revival is in full swing.
6 – Solomon prays in three phases here: to God, then turning to pray before the people, then praying to dedicate the Temple.  King Solomon has his critics throughout history but we must hand it to him that he is totally immersed in his assignment to do glorious things for God and to do all in a great way.  900 years later the eldest Herod is nicknamed “The Great”. Herod amassed a mere fraction of what Solomon accomplished. And here are Solomon’s prayers.  The prayers here and in ch. seven are the gems that Believers harken to today when they wish to bring about revival in the Holy Spirit. Solomon’s vast literative experience comes out in these prayers. He has done gloriously and yet speaks humbly.  His candor is refreshing in his speaking about what to do when sin happens, when defeats occur, when the weather fails, when there is famine or pestilence because of the sins of the people.  They are to return to God.  Solomon’s words, “…God, please let your eyes be open and you ears be attentive to the prayers that are uttered in this place…” This and the final verses of this chapter [40-42] are certainly highlight prayers in the history of pastoring.
7 – And God responds to the prayer of dedication and all the preparation that has taken place when he sends fire down and lights the sacrifices Himself. The glory of the Lord filled the Temple. The whole nation looking on fell on their faces in worship. How many pastors in the world wish that something like this, something that is not on the bulletin, would happen in their worship services?!
The dedication was followed by offerings to God –> 122,000 animals. Solomon does things in a big way for sure! Though the Bible doesn’t list this, the sacrifices required a drain/trough so that the blood didn’t flood the place shin-deep in red. This trench leading to the edge of the Temple area was unearthed by archaeologists in the latter 20th century and can be seen by visitors to Jerusalem today.  This drainage had to be built. The blood flowing from this sacrifice altar, just this week, was more than 6 swimming pools filled with blood. They didn’t want the Temple area to appear occultic so this trench let the blood flow away and down into the valleys immediately outside the walled city of Jerusalem.  The festival and sacrifices and worship went on for seven days and then Solomon dismissed people to go back to their homes.  They were a contented nation.  Again God appears to Solomon in the night and asserts to him that He/God means serious business with what Solomon prayed about repentance and restoration for His nation. When they come to him and confess and humble themselves and turn from wickedness, He Will Heal their land.  Do you think this is needed today? Still? Even 29-30 centuries after God and Solomon had this conversation?
8 – More of Solomon’s construction projects are listed in chapter eight.  Solomon built and/or rebuilt towns that had been acquired. He built new structures and forts and outposts in all directions. Solomon’s day saw the greatest expansion of the borders of Israel ever.  There was also a massive labor force of neighboring countrymen and foreign nationals that did much of what we call “the heavy lifting”.  His palace is completed, the Levites had commenced upon their duties of the daily sacrifices.  Solomon also visited the far south; the gulf of Eilat.  It had become an important shipping location. There is a new luxury hotel today in this area that is called, you guessed it: The King Solomon.  The full name is the Israel Hotel (Isrotel) King Solomon.  His name echoes still.  See what happens when one asks God for wisdom.  Are you asking God for wisdom? We sure are – Lord, please grant us wisdom.
9 –  As for how Solomon was leading the “worldwide WOW” factor in his day, we have the story of The Queen of Sheba coming to visit Solomon.  She had traveled 1,400 miles on the back of a beast. And it wasn’t a greyhound with a restroom behind the ninth row.  To give you some clearer proximity visuals: 1400 miles is the distance from Atlanta, GA to Phoenix, AZ / New York City to Houston, TX or Bismarck, ND / San Francisco to Lincoln, NE (the far side of Lincoln).  And Sheba is not traveling this distance where there are hourly stops with restrooms and beverages and sleeping quarters.  This is a world leader who has heard and must go see for herself regardless of inconveniences.  She was in awe at Solomon’s world being twice as magnificent as she thought. Solomon’s wealth and structures and servants and staff and soldiers and animals and wisdom and intelligence… it truly was overwhelming.  She left a gift of 9,000 lbs of gold and spices and gems; an epic gift.  Her testimony – [vv. 5-8] – was taken back to Africa and no doubt had an effect. The story began to spread of what “God was doing on the earth”. And if you wanted to know more, go to Israel and see Jerusalem!  Solomon’s wealth only grew for the rest of his life. 27 more tons of gold arrived annually in gifts to Solomon. More horses and animals, spices and ivory, precious metals . . . all these were from world leaders and travelers who sought audience with Solomon so to learn what God had merely told him.  Solomon was among the most impressive characters ever.  Who, indeed, has outdone him? In time Solomon went the way of all flesh and died after reigning 40 years.  But we are still learning from him. To walk closer with God we must be reading Solomon’s writings in Proverbs and David’s writings in Psalms.  Solomon is still with us.

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