The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), May 24
A conditional promise accompanies the inauguration of Solomon's temple. Lest Solomon or Israel think that having a temple will ensure God's presence regardless of the people's behavior, the LORD warns, "But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples" (2 Chron. 7:19-20). Nearly 400 years later this is exactly what happens!
During their nearly 400 years as a nation, Israel drifted farther and farther away from God. Throughout those years God's promise offered Israel forgiveness and healing in exchange for repentance, "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" (2 Chron. 7:14). Sadly, none of Israel's kings and only a few of Judah's kings humble themselves before God and experience the joy of restoration.
Over the millennia thousands of preachers have used 2 Chronicles 7:14 to confront man's sinfulness with God's goodness.
This scene offers a number of truths about God and human nature:
People are often content to have a building dedicated to God rather than a building inhabited by God's presence.
Out of His goodness, God often gives men plenty of time in which to repent; sadly, few repent and experience His restoration.
God's promise of restoration demonstrates that the problem always lies with man-not God!
Questions from today's chronological Bible reading (1 Kings 8:54-9:14; 2 Chronicles 7):
What does Solomon, in his inaugural prayer, reveal about God's faithfulness to Israel?
What does his request regarding Israel reveal about the heart of man?
How does God manifest His presence to Israel, and what do they recognize about Him?
What metric of success does the LORD give to Solomon in answer to his prayer? What do the conditions given to Solomon in God's reply require of him and all future kings?