Partial script for the May 29th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 29th 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 7-9. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
2 Chronicles 7
As we enter this chapter, the Temple has been completed. Everything is in its place and ready for worship to begin.
The Lord has entered the Temple in the form of the glory cloud. Solomon has been offering up a public prayer of dedication. What’s next?
2 Chronicles 7:1-3 (CSB): “When Solomon finished praying, fire descended from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. The priests were not able to enter the LORD’s temple because the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD. All the Israelites were watching when the fire descended and the glory of the LORD came on the temple. They bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground. They worshiped and praised the LORD: ‘For he is good, for his faithful love endures forever.’”
This was an awe-inspiring sight. They had heard a fire coming from heaven in the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. But now it happened in front of them. They had never seen anything like it. They were in the presence of an amazing God and they were His people. They could do nothing but bow in worship.
In verses 4–7, we read that Solomon was leading in an enormous number of sacrifices. The number was so large that the massive bronze altar could not handle it all. So they designated another temporary site in the courtyard to offer up the sacrifices.
Just remember that while animal sacrifices are utterly appalling to us, they were the Old Testament way of acknowledging the guilt of the worshiper, and the ability of a substitute to die in the place of the worshiper. It also pointed to a God who was filled with righteous indignation at sin and who demanded justice. But His wrath could abate, and His justice appeased when a substitute died in the place of the worshiper.
Ultimately, this pointed to Jesus, who would die in the place of everyone who puts their trust in Him. We are forgiven, and God‘s wrath and justice are satisfied.
We are told in verses 8-10 that the time of dedication and celebration lasted for two weeks. After this, the people went home as normalcy was restored.
2 Chronicles 7:8-10 (CSB): “So Solomon and all Israel with him—a very great assembly, from the entrance to Hamath to the Brook of Egypt—observed the festival at that time for seven days. On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly, for the dedication of the altar lasted seven days and the festival seven days. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people home, rejoicing and with happy hearts for the goodness the LORD had done for David, for Solomon, and for his people Israel.”
The glorious Temple of Solomon was now open for business. As the people scattered to their homes, they would have looked forward with great anticipation to the next time they showed up in Jerusalem to offer their sacrifices. They would once again be able to feast their eyes and ears on the Temple and enjoy the incredible experience of such a powerful place.
Then the Lord spoke with Solomon privately, without all the fanfare of the public dedication. Essentially, the Lord said that He had heard the prayers and accepted the Temple as His house among His people. Yet, His people would eventually go off into sin and He would have to bring judgment upon them. But if, during the judgment, they made things right and prayed to Him, He would forgive and restore them.
2 Chronicles 7:12-16 (CSB): “Then the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple of sacrifice. If I shut the sky so there is no rain, or if I command the grasshopper to consume the land, or if I send pestilence on my people, and my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. My eyes will now be open and my ears attentive to prayer from this place. And I have now chosen and consecrated this temple so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there at all times.”
These words are wonderful. They tell us that even when we fall into sin and God brings discipline into our lives because of it, there is hope. There is always hope. But it is our responsibility to make things right. It is also no guarantee that we will not have lasting consequences from our sinful choices. But we can be brought back into a right relationship with God if we abandon our sin and seek Him.
As this chapter comes to an end, the Lord gives a hopeful promise and a sobering warning. If Solomon obeys the Lord, then He will be free to bless Solomon and will establish his monarchy. His sons will reign on the throne of Israel in perpetuity.
But, if Solomon turns away from the Lord, if he falls into sin or worships other gods, then the Lord will reject Israel and reject His Temple. Israel will be despised and pitied among the nations.
As much as we want to believe that Solomon will do well, it doesn’t take long to realize that Solomon would have about 1,000 women who were either his wives or his concubines. They would bring their pagan idols with them and continue to worship those gods even as they bore children to King Solomon.
The result would be that the kingdom would split soon after Solomon died. The northern kingdom would be called Israel, while the southern kingdom would be called Judah. The northern kingdom of Israel would have nothing but wicked kings, would last for a little more than 200 years, and then would go off into captivity under Assyria’s rule. The southern kingdom of Judah would have a mix of godly kings and wicked kings and would last for about 350 years, and then would go off into captivity under Babylon’s rule.
Little did Solomon realize how much his life would determine what would happen for hundreds of years after he was gone. Honestly, friend, we could say the same thing about ourselves. Who’s to say that our passionate pursuit of the Lord or our apathy toward the things of God will affect generations that come after us.
So don’t merely follow the Lord for your own benefit. Do it for those who will come after you.
2 Chronicles 8
In verses 1–10, we’re told that Solomon did not merely build his palace and the Lord’s Temple. He was actively involved in building and rebuilding cities in Israel. If King David was a fighter, king Solomon was a builder.
We’re also told in these verses how Solomon was able to effectively engage in these ambitious building projects. He forced all of the Canaanites, who were still living in the land, into slavery. He also conscripted many of the Israelites into his labor force. However, while they were not slaves, they were laborers and supervisors.
And then we read of one of Solomon’s vices. He intermarried with pagan daughters of pagan kings. This was a way that he could secure peace with the nations around him. Yet, in doing so, he was bringing paganism into the Israelite community, which would ultimately lead to its demise. Obviously, Solomon knew that he was creating trouble because he wouldn’t let one of his wives, the daughter of Pharaoh, live in a place where the Ark of the Covenant had once resided because he knew that she wasn’t holy.
2 Chronicles 8:11 (CSB): “Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh from the city of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, ‘My wife must not live in the house of King David of Israel because the places the ark of the LORD has come into are holy.’”
So, Solomon knows what he’s doing. He’s trying to follow the Lord while doing other things that are clearly in violation of the Lord’s commands, or the spirit of those commands. Friends, we are capable of doing the same things, too. If we are serious about following the Lord, and we should be, then we need to get rid of everything that would hinder our enjoyment of Him and our submission to His rule over our lives.
In verses 12-16, we observe that Solomon had initiated and normalized worship at the Temple. The daily offerings and the special offerings at the Passover, the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Shelters were now started. The Temple was no longer something merely to feast the eyes upon but was a place where the Israelites regularly visited to offer their sacrifices to the Lord.
In the final verses of this chapter, we read that Solomon’s fleet, assisted by ships and servants from King Hiram, obtained seventeen tons of gold in Ophir and brought it back to Jerusalem. Gold and silver were very common in Solomon’s kingdom. These are the glory days of the nation of Israel.
2 Chronicles 9
Now that the Temple is complete, Solomon and the Israelites are excited about it, and God approves of it. Yet, the question remains: “What do the nations think about it?”
Understand that we don’t need to be consumed with what other people think. If we consume ourselves with others’ opinions, then they become our god, and we will serve them rather than our God.
But, even though we should never be overly consumed with others’ opinions, it is important to note that the people of Israel and their Temple were intended to make other nations jealous. If the people of Israel obeyed God, then He could bless them and work through them to reach the nations. So, it is in this way that we ask the question: “What do the nations think?” Are they being drawn to the God of Israel?
That question is answered in 2 Chronicles 9.
2 Chronicles 9:1 (CSB): “The queen of Sheba heard of Solomon’s fame, so she came to test Solomon with difficult questions at Jerusalem with a very large entourage, with camels bearing spices, gold in abundance, and precious stones. She came to Solomon and spoke with him about everything that was on her mind.”
It is generally thought that Sheba was in present-day Yemen, in southwestern Arabia. If that is where Sheba was, then it would have been about a 1,200-1,300 mile journey to Jerusalem to visit Solomon.
What did the Queen of Sheba think of Solomon and the nation of Israel?
2 Chronicles 9:3-4 (CSB): “When the queen of Sheba observed Solomon’s wisdom, the palace he had built, the food at his table, his servants’ residence, his attendants’ service and their attire, his cupbearers and their attire, and the burnt offerings he offered at the LORD’s temple, it took her breath away.”
Then, she tells Solomon how wise he is and how blessed his servants are. But what really matters is what she thinks of Israel’s God as a result of visiting with Solomon and his nation.
2 Chronicles 9:8 (CSB): “Blessed be the LORD your God! He delighted in you and put you on his throne as king for the LORD your God. Because your God loved Israel enough to establish them forever, he has set you over them as king to carry out justice and righteousness.”
Solomon is still the focus of her attention, but she realizes that Israel’s God is the one who put Solomon on the throne and loves Israel.
This is a great time to stop and reflect upon our own lives. When others encounter us, is their attention directed to our God? Are we so obviously servants of King Jesus that others are left with a positive view of Jesus because of us? If our lives draw only attention to ourselves, then we are not living for Jesus. This is not a small matter.
The Queen of Sheba gave Solomon “four and a half tons of gold, a great quantity of spices, and precious stones” (v.9). Among other possible explanations, this was a way of creating a friendly alliance between Sheba and Israel. Then, the Queen of Sheba returned to her country.
In verses 13-28, we read of Solomon’s immense wisdom and wealth. In verses 13-14, we hear that an enormous amount of gold was brought to Solomon annually. Because of this, verses 15-16 tell us that Solomon made shields of pure gold. In verses 17-19, we read that Solomon’s throne was made of ivory and it was overlayed with pure gold, making it like no other throne in any other kingdom. In verses 20-21, we read that gold was so plentiful in Solomon’s kingdom that silver was considered nothing.
Then, we are told in verses 22-24 that there was no one like Solomon and the kings of the earth wanted an audience with him.
2 Chronicles 9:22-23 (CSB): “King Solomon surpassed all the kings of the world in riches and wisdom. All the kings of the world wanted an audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart.”
Then, we read in verse 25 about Solomon’s stalls for horses and chariots and his 12,000 horsemen. Again, Solomon’s motto seemed to be: “Go big or go home.”
Then, we’re told in verses 26-28 that Solomon’s power and influence were expansive. He ruled over every nation from the Euphrates River to the north all the way to the borders of Egypt. Since Egypt and the powers beyond the Euphrates always wanted the land of Israel as a buffer, the fact that Solomon was in control of so much area meant that his nation was guaranteed a high degree of safety from enemy forces.
This chapter ends with the end of another monarch. Solomon dies.
2 Chronicles 9:29-31 (CSB): “The remaining events of Solomon’s reign, from beginning to end, are written in the Events of the Prophet Nathan, the Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and the Visions of the Seer Iddo concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat. Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel for forty years. Solomon rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of his father David. His son Rehoboam became king in his place.
Lord Jesus, we observe that even though Solomon was far from perfect, his attributes and achievements drew people’s attention to You. People who visited with Solomon couldn’t help but acknowledge Israel’s God. So help us, Lord, to live in such a way that we point others to You. Let us not waste our life by drawing attention to ourselves. We do not ultimately have what can fill their empty souls so help us to point to the One who can. 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!