2Chronicles 7:1 ¶ Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.

2Chronicles 7:2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’S house.

 

When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices as the glory of the LORD filled the temple.  These actions testified to God’s acceptance of both.  The priests were not able to enter the temple because His glory filled the whole house at first.

 

2Chronicles 7:3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

2Chronicles 7:4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.

2Chronicles 7:5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.

 

When the people saw the fire and the glory of the LORD upon the temple, they bowed with their faces to the ground, worshipping and praising the LORD saying, “ For He is good; for His mercy endures forever.”  (Brings to mind Psalm 136 in which this phrase is repeated at the end of every verse.)

 

It’s always hard for me to understand how those who witnessed such obvious displays giving testimony to God’s glory and power could ever choose to turn away from Him in sin.

 

Then Solomon and the people offered more sacrifices before the LORD.  Solomon offered a total of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep in celebration of the dedication of the temple of God.  Guzik makes this comment:  “This is a staggering - almost grotesque - amount of sacrifice. Each animal was ritually sacrificed and a portion was dedicated to the LORD, and a portion given to the priests and the people. It was enough to feed a vast multitude for two weeks.”

 

It’s really hard for me to imagine this scene and how such a great number of animals could be sacrificed in this 7-day period (see vs. 8).  I am so thankful that Jesus is the only sacrifice necessary for us to enjoy fellowship with the LORD.

 

2Chronicles 7:6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.

 

We are told that the priests and Levites served in accordance with their assigned duties.  The Levites sang songs of thanks for God’s mercy using the instruments that David had made for them.  The priests joined them with the blowing of trumpets.  All the while the people stood to show their respect for the worship and praise being offered.

 

As I try to picture this scene, I can’t help but try to imagine what such a praise and worship gathering in heaven will be like one day.  I can hardly wait!

 

2Chronicles 7:7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.

2Chronicles 7:8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.

2Chronicles 7:9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

2Chronicles 7:10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the LORD had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.

 

Because of the number of sacrifices being made, Solomon dedicated or consecrated (both from the Hebrew) the middle of the court in front of the temple to provide more space to make the sacrifices.  The celebration and feasting lasted seven days.  On the 8th day they gathered together to mark the end of the celebration.  On the 23rd day of the 7th month King Solomon finally sent the people home.  They went home rejoicing in their heart at the goodness the LORD had shown to David, Solomon and the people of Israel.

 

The dating identifies the celebration in connection with the feast of tabernacles, a time when all Israel planned to come to Jerusalem.

 

2Chronicles 7:11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the LORD, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

2Chronicles 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.

2Chronicles 7:13 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;

2Chronicles 7:14 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 will heal their land.

 

Solomon finally completed the building of the temple and his palace in accordance with his plans.  According to scripture, it took Solomon 7 years to build the temple and 13 years to build his palace, so there is quite a gap of time between verses 10 and 11.

 

1 Kings 6:37–7:1 “In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif: And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it.  But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.”

 

Once again the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and told him that He had heard his prayer.  The LORD affirmed to the king again that He had chosen the temple as the acceptable house of sacrifice to Him.  Sinful man cannot enjoy fellowship with God without benefit of a sacrifice.  Believers today are so blessed to enjoy ongoing fellowship with the LORD through the loving sacrifice of Jesus.  We no longer have to depend on the sacrifice of animals.

 

The LORD made specific reference to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple regarding possible famine, locusts or plagues among the people as a result of their sin.  He promised that if His people, those called by His name, would humble themselves in sincere repentance and sorrow for their sin and pray to Him, He would hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.  It should be noted that sincere repentance results in a change of lifestyle, turning away from one’s wicked ways.

 

What a beautiful promise!  It saddens me when I hear teachers today say that this promise was only for the people of Israel and not meant for believers today.  In context, the LORD is speaking to Solomon about the people of Israel.  He also, however, makes specific reference to those called by His name.  Scripture is very clear that the LORD never changes.

 

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not….”

 

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

 

The LORD set apart Israel to teach the nations and show them the benefits of serving Him and the consequences of choosing to reject Him.  There are so many beautiful promises in scripture that are ours to claim in the name of our Savior, many of which are found in the Old Testament in relationship to Israel.  Does that make them any less applicable to those of us called by His name today?  No!  God acts in accordance with the principles of His character toward His children of all times.  All people—Jew and Gentile, before Jesus and after Jesus—who have placed their faith in God are saved because of the sacrifice of Jesus and are one family before the Father in Christ.  There are some obvious specific promises in connection with the land inheritance promised to Abraham and his descendants through Jacob, but the principles by which the LORD dealt with his people in Old Testament times are the principles by which He deals with people of true faith of all times.  His character remains the same.

 

2Chronicles 7:15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.

2Chronicles 7:16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

 

The LORD goes on to tell Solomon that He will always be observant and listening to the prayers made from the temple.  He again affirmed that He had chosen the temple as the place especially sanctified to honor His name; He would always be attentive in sight and heart to what was occurring there.

 

How blessed we believers are today to know that we have constant access to the throne of God without regard to where we may be.

 

Ephesians 2:13&18 “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ….For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

 

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

2Chronicles 7:17 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;

2Chronicles 7:18 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.

 

The LORD then reminds Solomon that if he will walk before him in the same way as David his father had, and act in obedience to His commands, He would establish his kingdom in accordance with His promise to David.  He would never fail to have a descendant to rule over Israel as their king.

 

2Chronicles 7:19 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;

2Chronicles 7:20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, 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.

2Chronicles 7:21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?

2Chronicles 7:22 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.

 

If, however, Solomon turned away from the LORD and His commandments to go serve and worship other gods, He would take them out of their land and reject the temple, making it a place the nations could taunt and insult.  Those who passed by it would wonder why the LORD had allowed the land and the temple to be in such condition.  The answer would be made known that it was because God’s people turned away from Him to serve and worship other gods, so He had to judge them and make them suffer the consequences of their sin.

 

Sad to note, this is exactly what happened.