Dedicate Ourselves to God’s Worship: Revival under Solomon (2 Chronicles 6-7)

See also: Exod. 20.2, Exod. 24.15-18, Ps. 18.8-11, Ps. 97.2, Nah. 1.3, 2 Chron. 2.4-6, Ps. 132.13-14, Heb. 9.11-12, 2 Chron. 6.14-21, Deut. 7.9, Neh. 1.5, Dan. 9.4, Isa. 66.1-2, Isa. 57.15, Luke 18.13-14.

2 Chron. 6.1,2 – Then Solomon said, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in thick darkness. [2] But I have built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.”

What is the most awesome event you have ever experienced?

The birth of a child? Witnessing an historic event? Seeing the Lord move in an extraordinary way? Undoubtedly, each of us would answer the question of “awe-full” experience in a different manner, depending on our under- standing of the meaning of awe, wonder, and the mysterious.

Revival can easily be characterized as the restoration of the awe of God as his presence is manifested in an extraordinary way in the midst of his people.

This simple definition captures the theme of revival we consider in study and meditation in the dedication of the Temple during the reign of Solomon. This story is laid out carefully in the early chapters of 2 Chronicles which records Solomon’s completion of the Temple in obedience to his father David’s instruction before he died.

In his zeal and wisdom, Solomon followed through on the wishes of David’s heart to build the Lord the Temple, a place for his honor to dwell and for the worship and service of God. Without question, the glory and grandeur of the Temple and the Dedication are hard to imagine:

2 Chron. 7.4-6 – Then the king and all the people offered sacrifice before the Lord. [5] King Solomon offered as a sacrifice 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. [6] The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord— for his steadfast love endures forever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry; opposite them the priests sounded trumpets, and all Israel stood.

The grand nature of these preparations and the lavish construction of the Temple did not overly impress nor fool Solomon into thinking that someone as glorious and infinite as Yahweh could actually dwell in a house of wood and stone. Solomon clarifies the purpose of the Temple as a place of prayer and supplication to God for those who are indeed humble and contrite before him. Truly, the spheres of the universe are not capable of containing the glory of the sovereign and infinite LORD, the Creator of both heaven and earth. Why then a “house” for the Lord? It is made as a place of petition, that God’s ears might be open day and night toward that house, “the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place” (2 Chron. 6.20).  The Temple is a place where human petition and divine audience meet, where broken, lowly, and humble people in contrite prayer offer to God their praise and prayers, and where the Sovereign Lord hears and meets them at their point of need. Can anything be clearer for us as a prescription of what true worship is before our great God?

The notion of where God dwells and where his honor dwells is a significant issue in all the major monotheistic religions today–Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Each focuses on different geographic sites which have special significance in its belief and practice, and oftentimes pilgrimages and petitions are made toward these sacred places as a sign of true devotion and remembrance. The reality with the God and Father of Jesus, however, is that our God demands more than religious conformity to ritual and pilgrimage. What matters to God, what produces revival is humility and a new creation. Revival stimulates those who are regenerated to worship God as he truly deserves to be worshiped.

Centuries later, when our Messiah discussed worship and place, he made it plain that the worship of God under the new covenant now takes on a new and different sense. In a discussion with the Samaritan woman on the nature of the right place of worship, Jesus provides a shocking new revelation. Salvation is rooted in the covenant promise through Abraham, and true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for these are the kinds of worshipers the Father is seeking to worship him (John 4.21-23). Sacred place and pilgrimage has been replaced by true worship in spirit and truth wherever the people of God gather to glorify his name.

The people of God under Solomon, humbled, readied, and led by Solomon at a time of his obedience and openness, were revived at the Dedication of the Temple. The presence of God came in the humble intercession of the king, the obedient worship of the priests and people, and the sacrifices of praise and faith made in the Temple. When the people of God in obedience and humility came before God in contrition and reverence, God truly manifested his glory there:

2 Chron. 5.13-14 – and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, [14] so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God.

God promised that if his people would in fact humble themselves and pray, if they would forsake their wicked ways and stay true to him, he would heal them, bless them, and come to them (2 Chron. 7.14). Truly, if the fuel of genuine revival always and only be times of adversity and trial, it is equally true that when God’s people are truly humbled before him, he manifests his presence in their midst–he himself actually comes to them, and his presence produces awe, joy, wonder, repentance, healing, blessing, and judgment. Truly, revival is nothing more than the extraordinary manifestation of the presence of God in the midst of his people!

Let us, therefore, obey the command of the Lord to Solomon at the Dedication of the Temple. For emphasis, this is the same stirring we mentioned about revival under Asa: if we seek the Lord in humble contrition he will come to us.

2 Chron. 7.14 – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Seeking God (revival under Asa) results in the worship of God (revival under Solomon). Let us bring the sacrifice of praise to him, come before him together in assembly with prayers, petitions, intercessions, and supplication of our need for him, not just his gifts. Let us humble ourselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from our wicked ways, and then wait patiently for the God of covenant to hear from heaven, to forgive our sin, and to heal our land.

Revival that comes and is real will result in massive, continuous, and extraordinary new expressions of heartfelt and heaven-sent praise and worship to God. This is only right, for all things were created for his glory (Isa. 43.7), and everything that has breath ought to praise the faithful God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Ps. 150). May God grant us the humility and longing to wait in the presence of the Lord until he appears and sets our hearts free to worship!

Example of Seeking the Lord in Worship: Isaiah

Isa. 66.1-2 – Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? [2] All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”

Biblical Principle: Revival ushers the truly contrite and humble into the extraordinary manifestation of the presence of the Lord. When we worship the Father in spirit and in truth, humbling ourselves before him, seeking his face, and repenting from our wicked ways, God is set free to reveal his presence in our midst in wondrous and remarkable ways. The fruit of true revival is authentic worship of God who comes and dwells in our midst.

2 Chron. 7.14 – if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

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