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Return to the Lord
Bible Passage 2 Chronicles 7: 11-22
This content is part of a series Bright Morning Reflections, in topic 2023 & books 2 Corinthians, Deuteronomy, EZEKIEL, John.

Return to the Lord

  • Rev. Bright Mawuena Nfodzo
Date preached May 9, 2023

SCRIPTURE 📖
11 And so Solomon completed the LORD’s Temple, bringing to completion everything that he had planned on doing for the LORD’s Temple and for his own palace.

12 Later, the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night and told him: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for a sacrificial temple to me.

13 Whenever I close the skies so there is no rain, or whenever I command locusts to lay waste to the land, or whenever I send epidemics among my people,

14 when my people humble themselves—the ones who are called by my name—and pray, seek me, and turn away from their evil practices, I myself will listen from heaven, I will pardon their sins, and I will restore their land.

15 “Now therefore my eyes will remain open and my ears will remain listening to the prayers that are offered in this place.

16 Furthermore, I have chosen and have set apart for myself this Temple, intending my name to reside there forever. My eyes and my heart will reside there every day.

17 Now as for you, if you commune with me like your father did, doing everything that I have commanded you, including obeying my statutes and my legal decisions,

18 then I will make your royal throne secure, just as I agreed to do for your father David when I said, ‘You are to not lack a man to rule over Israel.’

19 “But if you turn away and abandon my statutes and my commands that I have given you, and if you walk away to serve other gods and worship them,

20 then I will tear them up by the roots from the ground that I had given them! And as for this Temple that I have set apart for my name, I will throw it out of my sight and make it the butt of jokes and a means of ridicule among people worldwide!

21 “Furthermore, even though this Temple seems so exalted, everyone who passes by it will be so astounded that they will ask, ‘Why did the LORD do this to this land and to this Temple?’

22 They will answer, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD God of their ancestors, who brought them from the land of Egypt, adopted other gods, worshipped them, and served them, therefore the LORD has brought all of this disaster on them.’”

BACKGROUND
With the help of King Hiram of Tyre, Solomon prepared materials and arranged a workforce to build the planned temple.

Construction went on for seven years, until the temple, its furniture, its courtyard, and all other articles and decorations connected with it were completed according to plan. The temple was then dedicated to God.

After the dedication of the temple, Solomon built his palace. It took him 13 years to complete the palace (1 Kings 7:1). After he had finished the work, the LORD appeared to him. This was in Solomon’s 24th year as king (947 or 946 BC).

Although it was 13 years later, this was an answer to the dedication prayer (6:14-42). The LORD appeared to Solomon during the night. He told Solomon that He had accepted the temple. It would be a place for sacrifices to the LORD. God chose this place for that purpose. The Israelites must come here to worship Him (Deuteronomy 12:5-7).

This was the second time that the LORD appeared to Solomon (1 Kings 9:2). The first time was at the town called Gibeon at the start of his rule as king (2 Chronicles 1:7).

Solomon had prayed about the effects of sin in Israel. Because of their sins, maybe God would stop the rain. Here God says that He may stop the rain, may send locusts, and may make His people sick. God would allow these terrible things to happen in order to punish His people for their sins. But God’s purpose is not to hurt His people. His purpose is to persuade them to stop their sin. They must become loyal to Him again. If they do that, He will show His kindness to them again.

Of course, such troubles are not always the result of sin (John 9:1-3). But this passage is about the occasions when such troubles happen because of sin. These people were God’s people. He had chosen them to be special to Him. In a similar way, He has chosen us in Christ to be His special people. So, the attitude in prayer that the LORD desires here is for us as well.

This attitude consists of 4 parts.
1. Those who pray must be humble.
2. They must trust in the LORD.
3. They must confess that they have sinned.
4. They must stop their evil behavior.
Then the LORD will hear their prayer and forgive their sins.

When a nation turns to the LORD in this way, He will cure their land. Here the subject is the nation called Israel. When they turn to the LORD, He will rescue them from the effects of their sin. He will send the rain. He will remove the locusts. He will cure the people.

The prayers of Israel’s people must be in or towards the temple. This temple now must be carried in the heart of every believer.

The LORD made promises to David. But the promises depended on the actions of people. The LORD would establish Solomon’s kingdom if Solomon obeyed Him. Solomon had to serve the LORD as David had done. Solomon had to do all that the LORD said. He had to obey the laws and the rules of the LORD.

Solomon started well but afterward, he chose to do wrong things. Solomon and several kings who ruled after him turned from the LORD. The LORD had promised to support them, but only if they remained loyal to Him. So, the LORD could not do as he had promised. Instead, as the judge of the king and His people, the LORD had to punish them.

The Israelites neglected the laws of the LORD. Instead, they turned to other gods. They worshipped and served those other gods. Then the LORD did as He had said. He had given this country to them. However, the LORD sent the Israelites away from the country. They went into exile in Babylon.

So in the end, the LORD left the temple (Ezekiel 10:18). The temple was magnificent but soldiers from Babylon destroyed it.

LESSONS✍🏽
🔷 Lip service in prayer is useless when our hearts do not much the things we say

🔷 We must admit our sinfulness and turn to God wholly

🔷 God will allow us out into the hands of the enemy when we abandon His ways and instructions

PRAYER POINTS🙏🏽
💥 Ask God to forgive your misdoings
💥 Pray for restoration

CONCLUSION📙
God is always ready and available to turn the situation of His people when we humble ourselves and seek Him diligently. Those who love God will see His hands at work in their lives.
AMEN

In series Bright Morning Reflections