Monday, August 15, 2011

Do you want to hear from heaven? - August 15th, 2011

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,...

 ...if My people who are called by My name will 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.

 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.
2 Chronicles 7:12-16

History and Context:
1 and 2 Chronicles, like the Samuels and the Kings, were originally one book. The Chronicles, for the most part, are simply a sparser repeat of historical events more thoroughly covered in Samuel and Kings. However, there seems to be a different focus from the Chronicler. The author is unknown though many believe it to be Ezra. The author is definitely from that time period in which the Israelites are returning from Exile in Persia in order to rebuild their temple and the city of Jerusalem. In Samuel and Kings the writers were a bit more concerned in providing the actual historical account of the kings of Israel and Judah whereas in Chronicles, the focus is not on the history but on the meaning of the history. He had two focuses which the author of Samuel and Kings did not have; first he focused on the building of the temple and what true worship is, and second he focused on the true kingship, namely the line of David.

The Text:
This particular passage comes directly after Solomon's temple has been built. Solomon prays and worships the Lord and petitions the Lord to live in the temple and honor the prayers to this temple, this passage is God's response. God says that He will honor it, that no matter what happens to the people of Israel, if they will turn back to Him in humility, He will hear their prayers and restore them. This is an amazing promise which we see fulfilled so often throughout the old testament. There were so many times in which the Israelites went away from God and ended up in captivity, but once they returned to God, God restored them as a people and as a country. In fact, at the time of the writing of the chronicles, they were in a state of finally returning to God and seeking His face, and God restored their land.

The Challenge:
We are under a new covenant, but the principles are the same. God's people are no longer defined by a country or nationality but simply by confession and faith. But God has never changed. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! Now our relationship with God is simply more personal, and this promise can be applied in our personal life. When you find yourself in a time of hardship, often it is because you have taken yourself out from God's covering. It is in these times that you must humble yourself, pray and seek His face, and God's promise is that you will hear from heaven! If you are in a place in which you need to hear from heaven here is the formula. It is simple but not always easy. We must lay aside our pride and our desire to want to do it on our own, we must admit that we were wrong to go away from God, and we must seek Him and His will in our lives.

The Prayer:
Lord, I want to hear from heaven! I want to hear from you! Show me your face! Show me your glory! Show me who you are and what you desire for my life. Forgive me for trying to do it on my own. Forgive me for my pride in thinking that I can do it on my own. I know that I can only do it with you and I trust you to work in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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