2 CHRONICLES CHAPTER 7
The Dedication Ceremonies Completed.
THE SACRIFICES AND THE DOUBLE FESTIVAL. ó V. 1. Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, and in response to his appeal, the fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, which had been prepared beforehand; and the glory of the Lord filled the house, with a supernatural brilliancy, both of these manifestations showing Godís approval of Solomonís dedicatory prayer and of the entire festival. V. 2. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, the Sanctuary, because the glory of the Lord, the cloud of supernatural light, had filled the Lordís house, both revealing and concealing Jehovahís presence. V. 3. And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, cp. Lev. 9, 24, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, surrounding and filling the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, the mosaic flooring of the court, of ornamental variegated stone, and worshiped, and praised the Lord, saying, in an antiphonal chant which repeated the song of praise sung by the choir of Levites, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever. The attitude of the immense multitude, as that of a single person, was one of intense and adoring worship before the supreme revelation of God. V. 4. Then the king and all the people, through the priests, offered sacrifices before the Lord, partly on the large altar of burnt offering in the court, partly on special altars erected for that purpose, also in the Court of the Priests. V. 5. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep, 1 Kings 8, 62-64, for there was a great sacrificial meal connected with the dedication. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God, set it apart for His worship by installing the ark in its place and by this solemn service of sacrifice and praise. V. 6. And the priests waited on their offices, they performed the service with which they were charged, chiefly the preparation and offering of the sacrificial animals; the Levites also with instruments of music of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because His mercy endureth forever, Ps. 106; 107; 136, when David praised by their ministry, 1 Chron. 25; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, namely, those delegated for this service, and all Israel stood. Cp. chap. 5, 11-13. V. 7. Moreover, Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord, consecrated a section of the outer court as a temporary place for the offering of sacrifices; for there he offered burnt offerings, to atone for the sins of the people, and the fat of the peace offerings, the meat of which was used in the sacrificial meal, because the brazen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, which accompanied all burnt offerings, and the fat, there was not enough room for the almost unbelievably great mass of sacrifices. V. 8. Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, namely, that of dedication, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath, in the extreme North, unto the river of Egypt, on the southwestern boundary of the kingdom. V. 9. And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly, a service of worship distinguished even above those of the other days; for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast, that is, the Feast of Tabernacles, seven days, combining the two into one great, joyful festival lasting fourteen days. V. 10. And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, that is, their homes, glad and merry in heart, literally, ďfull of joy and good with reference to the heart,Ē for the goodness that the Lord had showed unto David and to Solomon and to Israel, His people, V. 11. Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the kingís house, his own splendid palace; and all that came into Solomonís heart to make in the house of the Lord, whatever he could think of in the way of greater decorative effects, and in his own house, he prosperously effected, having the means to carry out any project which came to his mind. Thus was the dedication completed, and all men went home full of happiness. He who prays, praises, thanks, and sacrifices to the Lord according to his ability will afterward gladly return to his work, with peace in his heart.
THE LORDíS ANSWER TO SOLOMONíS PRAYER. ó V. 12. And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, the prayer made at the dedication of the Temple, and have chosen this place to Myself for an house of sacrifice. V. 13. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, all these being special punishments of the Lord upon the disobedience of His people at all times; v. 14. if My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, in true repentance, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land, as the body of a person afflicted with severe ulcers. V. 15. Now, Mine eyes shall be open and Mine ears [be] attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. V. 16. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever, to be proclaimed by sacrifices, by prayers, and by the singing of the glorious psalms; and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually, His eyes to watch over this Sanctuary, and His heart to be united in love with all true believers. V. 17. And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before Me, as David, thy father, walked, ordering his whole life according to the divine will, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe My statutes and My judgments, both the precepts of the covenant relation and those of the general relation toward God and men, v. 18. then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David, thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel, chap. 6, 16. V. 19. But if ye turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods and worship them, in any form of idolatry, v. 20. then will I pluck them up by the roots, eradicate them completely, like noxious weeds, out of My land which I have given them, and which they possess merely as stewards or tenants, as all men do in reality; and this house, which I have sanctified for My name, will I cast out of My sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations, Deut. 28, 37; Jer. 24, 9. V. 21. And this house, which is high, both by reason of its location and its distinction, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it, so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land and unto this house? V. 22. And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshiped them, and served them; therefore hath He brought all this evil upon them. Cp. 1 Kings 9, 3-9. The same holds true today. A mere dead orthodoxy, without true piety of the heart, will not uphold the Church. Lutherís warning regarding the swiftness with which Godís pure Word is taken from the people that forsake Him in their hearts may well be heeded even at this time. Believers should never become self-reliant, for let him that standeth take heed lest he fall.