Partial script for the May 28th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 28th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 2 Chronicles 4-6. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Chronicles 4
Every house needs furniture, and the Temple needed funishings as well. The Tabernacle had specific items that were made by Moses to aid in worshipping the Lord. Solomon would remake those furnishings but do so on a grander scale.
In verse 1, we learn that the bronze altar for sacrificing animals was made. It was thirty feet long, thirty feet wide, and fifteen feet high. We learn in another passage that there were stairs to get to the top.
In verses 2-5, we learn about the metal basin. It was perfectly round and fifteen feet across. It was also seven and a half feet high and supported by twelve cast metal oxen that supported the basin upon their backs. This basin was used by the priests for washing since sacrificing was dirty, bloody work.
In verse 6, ten basins were made, five on the right side and five on the left. These basins were used for rinsing parts of the burnt offering.
In verse 7, ten gold lampstands were made. In the Tabernacle, there was only one golden lampstand, but this Temple includes all of the items in the original place of worship but done in a way that might even make the Temple more spectacular than the Tabernacle ever was.
In verse 8, we are told that ten tables and a hundred gold bowls were made. The tables may have been what the Bread of the Presence was placed on every week.
In verse 9, the courtyard was set up with bronze doors. Then, in verses 10-11, the basin for the priests to wash was placed on the right side of the courtyard. Pots, shovels, and bowls were also made.
The rest of the chapter simply recounts how the gold and bronze furnishings were completed. The Temple that King David dreamed about had now been completed by his son.
2 Chronicles 5
2 Chronicles 5:1 (CSB): “So all the work Solomon did for the LORD’s Temple was completed. Then Solomon brought the consecrated things of his father David—the silver, the gold, and all the utensils—and put them in the treasuries of God’s Temple.”
But there was one thing that needed to be brought into the Temple. The Jerusalem Temple was not complete without the Ark of the Covenant. It was apparently placed in a temporary tent while the Temple was being built. Now, it was time to bring the ark to its resting place.
Let’s read the verses that recount how the ark was placed in the Temple.
2 Chronicles 5:4-10 (CSB): “All the elders of Israel came, and the Levites picked up the ark. They brought up the ark, the tent of meeting, and the holy utensils that were in the tent. The priests and the Levites brought them up. King Solomon and the entire congregation of Israel who had gathered around him were in front of the ark sacrificing sheep, goats, and cattle that could not be counted or numbered because there were so many. The priests brought the ark of the LORD’s covenant to its place, into the inner sanctuary of the Temple, to the most holy place, beneath the wings of the cherubim. And the cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark so that the cherubim formed a cover above the ark and its poles. The poles were so long that their ends were seen from the holy place in front of the inner sanctuary, but they were not seen from outside; they are still there today. Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had put in it at Horeb, where the LORD had made a covenant with the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.”
The ark is now in the Temple. But we are told that the only thing in the ark is the two tablets on which were written the Ten Commandments. The jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded are long gone.
Well, if something big happens, you’ve got to celebrate it. There needs to be music and happiness. And that’s what we observe in the text.
2 Chronicles 5:13a (CSB): “The trumpeters and singers joined together to praise and thank the LORD with one voice. They raised their voices, accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and musical instruments, in praise to the LORD: ‘For he is good; his faithful love endures forever.’…”
But God has been silent to this point. Was He pleased with the Temple? Would He reside within the Temple as He dwelt in the Tabernacle during the wilderness wandering?
2 Chronicles 5:13b-14 (CSB): “…The Temple, the LORD’s Temple, was filled with a cloud. And because of the cloud, the priests were not able to continue ministering, for the glory of the LORD filled God’s Temple.”
The cloud these verses talk about was like no cloud we’ve ever seen. It was the glory cloud of the Lord. Some people call it the Shekinah glory. It was the thick radiance of God’s glory that was manifested in a way that could be clearly seen.
But the important thing was that God had approved of the Temple. He was now residing among His people.
2 Chronicles 6
Now, with everything complete, there needed to be a ceremony. There needed to be a formal dedication of the Temple by Solomon and the people.
Solomon begins by acknowledging his amazement that the God of the universe, who is cloaked in darkness (which refers to his invisibility), would inhabit the Temple they have built in Jerusalem. It appears that he said these words loudly as he looked at the Temple.
2 Chronicles 6:1-2 (CSB): “Then Solomon said: The LORD said he would dwell in total darkness, but I have built an exalted temple for you, a place for your dwelling forever.”
Then, in verse 3, Solomon turns around and faces the thousands of people who have gathered.
In verses 4-6, Solomon reminds the people that the Lord chose Israel and brought them out of Egypt with a mighty hand. He then chose Jerusalem for His Temple and He chose David as His King. So they were in a moment that did not come about by chance; it had been determined by the Lord.
In verses 7-11, Solomon continues to speak to the people. He reminds them that his father, King David, had a desire to build the Temple. The Lord had affirmed his desire but would not let him build the Temple. David was told that his son would build the Temple. So, once again, they are reminded that the completed Temple did not come about by chance; the Lord had decreed it to happen. The goodness and joy they were experiencing was a gift from the Lord, a gracious act of love given to His people.
In verses 12-13, Solomon’s comments to the people have come to an end. He got down on his knees in the presence of the people, lifted up his hands toward Heaven, and began to lead in a public prayer.
In verse 14, Solomon’s prayer begins with praise. He acknowledges that there is no God like Israel’s God.
2 Chronicles 6:14 (CSB): “… LORD God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth, who keeps his gracious covenant with your servants who walk before you with all their heart.”
This is always a wonderful way to start off our prayers. Sometimes, we begin with our needs. But when we do that, we generally never get around to finding comfort in our wonderful God. But when we begin by building up our faith in our wonderful God, then our needs won’t seem as overbearing by the time we get to them.
In verses 15-17, Solomon had a request for the Lord. But he didn’t start with the request. After praising the Lord, he spoke of how the Lord had fulfilled His promise to David about building the Temple and having his son sit on his throne. So, based upon the fact that God had fulfilled those promises to David, Solomon asked the Lord to fulfill His promise of always having an heir on the throne of Israel so long as the people of Israel obeyed Him.
Then, beginning in verse 18, Solomon begins to focus on the topic that takes up the largest part of this prayer. Solomon is asking that the Lord would honor the Jerusalem Temple by hearing the prayers of those who pray toward it. Just listen to how he begins this part of his prayer.
2 Chronicles 6:18-21 (CSB): “But will God indeed live on earth with humans? Even heaven, the highest heaven, cannot contain you, much less this Temple I have built. Listen to your servant’s prayer and his petition, LORD my God, so that you may hear the cry and the prayer that your servant prays before you, so that your eyes watch over this temple day and night, toward the place where you said you would put your name; and so that you may hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place. Hear the petitions of your servant and your people Israel, which they pray toward this place. May you hear in your dwelling place in heaven. May you hear and forgive.”
Then, in verses 22-23, Solomon asks the Lord to bring about justice and rewards for those who come to the Temple for a resolution. Once again, Solomon is asking the Lord to validate the value of the Temple by listening to the people who pray toward or visit the Temple.
In verses 24-25, Solomon moves to another scenario. He asks the Lord that if the people of Israel are defeated by their enemies and then offer up prayers of repentance toward the Temple, may the Lord hear the prayers and restore them to their land.
In verses 26-31, Solomon prays and acknowledges that God may bring natural problems or disasters as a result of Israel’s sin. Yet, he asked that when the people pray toward the Temple, may the Lord hear, forgive, and heal.
In verses 32-33, Solomon asks that the Lord would hear even the prayers of the foreigner who prays in or toward the Temple. If the Lord heard and responded to their prayers, the peoples of the earth will come to know the God of Israel.
In verses 34-35, Solomon asks the Lord to hear the prayers of His people directed toward Jerusalem and the Temple when they go out to battle. May the Lord hear and give them victory.
In verses 36-39, Solomon assumes that the people of Israel will sin and may be taken into captivity in other lands. Yet, he asks the Lord to hear the prayers of His people when they pray toward the Temple with repentant attitudes. May He hear and forgive them.
So, as we have listened to Solomon’s prayer, we hear him asking the Lord to make the Temple very special in the minds and hearts of the Israelites. When we understand that most Jews would come to feel this way about the Temple, some other things in Jewish history make more sense. We understand how they were furious when Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed a pig on the Temple’s altar. He understand how the Jews got so upset when they thought the Apostle Paul had taken a gentile into the Temple area. We also understand why Jews continue to visit the Western Wall even today as they grieve the loss of their Temple.
This chapter ends with Solomon asking the Lord to honor the Temple by coming to dwell within it.
2 Chronicles 6:40-42 (CSB): “Now, my God, please let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. Now therefore: Arise, LORD God, come to your resting place, you and your powerful ark. May your priests, LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and may your faithful people rejoice in goodness. LORD God, do not reject your anointed one; remember your servant David’s acts of faithful love.”
Lord Jesus, Solomon’s Temple was spectacular, and then the second Temple that You walked in during Your 3-year ministry was impressive as well. But help us, Lord, not to long for a building to worship You inside. If it was necessary for us to have a building to worship You, You would provide it. But we don’t need a building to worship You. Instead, we are told in Your Word that our bodies are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit. We take the place of worship with us everywhere we go. Since this is the case, we understand that literally everything we do is to be an act of worship since we are doing it in the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Help us, Lord, to let this powerful truth play out in wonderful ways in our lives. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
If looking over the script for this podcast would be beneficial to you, hop on over to my website at mattsmusings.net. I will provide a link in this episode’s show notes.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!