Tuesday Devotional: 2 Chronicles 6

bible2 Chronicles 6.12-42

12 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 13 Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high,[a] and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven. 14 He said: Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.15 You have kept your promise to your servant David my father; with your mouth you have promised and with your hand you have fulfilled it—as it is today.

16 “Now, Lord, the God of Israel, keep for your servant David my father the promises you made to him when you said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to sit before me on the throne of Israel, if only your descendants are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.’ 17 And now, Lord, the God of Israel, let your word that you promised your servant David come true.

18 “But will God really dwell on earth with humans? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! 19 Yet, Lord my God, give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence. 20 May your eyes be open toward this temple day and night, this place of which you said you would put your Name there. May you hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. 21 Hear the supplications of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.

22 “When anyone wrongs their neighbor and is required to take an oath and they come and swear the oath before your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven and act. Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on their heads what they have done, and vindicating the innocent by treating them in accordance with their innocence.

24 “When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you and when they turn back and give praise to your name, praying and making supplication before you in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them back to the land you gave to them and their ancestors.

26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance.

28 “When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, 29 and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of their afflictions and pains, and spreading out their hands toward this temple— 30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know the human heart), 31 so that they will fear you and walk in obedience to you all the time they live in the land you gave our ancestors.

32 “As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 33 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

34 “When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to you toward this city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause.

36 “When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to a land far away or near; 37 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong and acted wickedly’; 38 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their captivity where they were taken, and pray toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and toward the temple I have built for your Name; 39 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their pleas, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you.

40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

41 “Now arise, Lord God, and come to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
May your priests, Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
    may your faithful people rejoice in your goodness.
42 Lord God, do not reject your anointed one.
    Remember the great love promised to David your servant.”

The nature of God is that He is God.  The nature of man is that he is man.  These roles often get reversed in our prayer lives.  We tend to make demands of God as if He were serving us.  We demand relief from situations that we feel are unjust or unnecessary.  We request changes in fortune for health, finances, family, career, as if God made a mistake letting us experience challenges and must now, by our grace and under our supervision, rectify his errors.  The truth is that all we are and all we have is because of God.  He created all things out of love and desires to maintain them in love.  In all of history he has made good on his promises to be a loving yet just God, while we have been proficient at not keeping promises of our own.  Prayer should never be reduced to “what have you done for me lately?” nor should it be reduced to “what can you do for me tomorrow?”  Prayer is a desire to be in the presence of a God who has control of our often seemingly out of control lives.  While a hurricane might unleash devastating power, there is always a calm center amidst the chaos.  It is there that God desires we follow him, and it is there that Jesus says to come to him.  The center of the hurricane is still in the hurricane, but in the center, alongside our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we can survive, thrive and look ahead joyfully toward tomorrow.

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