Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 years ago

Solomon's Prayer Requests (2 Chronicles 6:22-42)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Let's turn now to second chronicles chapter six. Second Chronicles six, I'll be reading verses twenty two through forty two. These verses conclude Solomon's prayer. So second chronicles chapter six, starting at Verse Twenty Two, here we have several petitions, requests, prayer, requests that Solomon Asks of God. Let's go our attention to God's word. If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath and comes and sweares his oath before your altar in this house, then hear from Heaven and act and Judge Your servants, repaying the guilty by bringing his conduct on his own head and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. If your people, Israel, are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and they turn again and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house, then hear from Heaven and forgive the sin of your people, Israel and bring them again to the land that you gave to them and to their fathers, when heaven is shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you. If they pray towards this place and acknowledge that your name and turn from their sin. When you afflict them, then here in heaven, in Heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk, and grant reign upon your land, which you have given to your people as an inheritance, if there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or Caterpillar, if their enemies besieged them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, whatever proud prayer, whatever...

...plea is made by any man or by all your people, Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands towards this house, then here from your heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways. For you, you only know the hearts of the children of mankind, that they may fear you and walk in your ways all the days that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers. Likewise, when a foreigner who is not of your people, Israel, comes from a far country, for the sake of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this House here from heaven, your dwelling place, and do all do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the Earth May know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this House that I have built is called by your name. If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and the House that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea and maintain their cause. If they sin against you, for there is no one who does not sin, and you are angry with them and give them to an enemy so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near. Yet, if they turned their heart in the land to which they have been carried captive and repent and plead with you in the land of their captivity, saying we have sinned and acted perversely and wickedly, if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart, in the land of their captivity, to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city which you have...

...chosen, in the House that I have built for your name. Then here from heaven, your dwelling place, their prayer and their please and maintain their cause and forgive your people who've sinned against you. Now, Oh my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. And now arise, oh Lord God, and go to your resting place, you and the Ark of your might. Let your priests, so Lord God, be clothed with salvation and let your saints rejoice in your goodness. Oh Lord God, do not turn away the face of your anointed one. Remember your steadfast love for David, your servant. This ends the reading of God's word. May Be seated. Well, a few things to note and remember before we get going and focus on the content of Solomon's prayer. Are these. There's lots and lots of phrases. That will be confusing, I think, unless you remember where Solomon is. You notice throughout his prayer he keeps referencing this place this land, this house. So in your mind's eye, if you can just position yourself in Israel, in this land and look at Solomon, he's there in the city of Jerusalem, by the top, by the temple that he is just built, and he's praying in front of the in front of the temple, and he's talking about that place, that house, that city, that land. But he has in his mind's eye not just the place that they are in, but two others. One not a physic coal place, but a heavenly place. He prays to God, who has promised to dwell with the people in this temple. But he also you remember him saying earlier, that God does not is not confined to a places like this, but it need. God dwells everywhere and in heaven...

...itself, and so he prays to God, who is in heaven. He Asks God to answer from there. The second place Solomon has in mind is outside of Israel, foreign lands, foreign places, and he anticipates a time when the people will be led away to a foreign place and will desire to come back in. Also, he anticipates people who come from foreign places to be close to God, to draw near to him. So, as we consider this. As we consider Solomon's prayers, he asks these for these various things, we come to understand something about our own prayers. So, just as we did last time, I want to give our attention to Solomon's prayer and see what we might learn of God and the kinds of prayers that please him. Last time we considered particularly the how we address God. Tonight we consider what we ask of him. Solomon makes several prayer requests, or sometimes they're called petitions, or he Solomon, uses the word plea. So when you heard the word please, that's not as in May I please, but a please is another word to say a request, a asking for something. I please, and that's what I want to focus on tonight, to consider our prayers of repentance and petition, to consider our plea before God and asking things of him. And as we look at this prayer, this last part of this prayer, what will come to learn is that for anything we need, particularly for the forgiveness of sins, because of Jesus, we can find favor with God. Or, to put it even more simply, or rather simply to put it simply, because of Jesus, if you draw near to...

God, he will draw near to you. So let's think about Solomon's prayer. You notice that it's divided up into these several requests, many of them beginning with the word if. In each of these situations, he anticipates something that might happen in the future. If this happens, then do this Lord. If this happens, then do this. And in almost all of these requests, that is he that he asks, if not all of them, he's essentially saying, when this bad thing happens, please bring about a good thing. When this bad thing happens, bring about a good thing, and he speaks about that both in a corporate sense, meaning all of Israel, and in an individual sense. You get that particularly in verse is to the Paragraph of Verse Twenty Eight, where he says whatever sickness there is, or whatever prayer, whatever plea is made by any man or by all your people, Israel, Psalomon has a sense that the people will be praying together as a group. They will be addressing the Lord in a corporate way but also in an individual ways. In our own time, you could think about it like this. We don't just pray at Church together, but we also pray at home by ourselves. And in any of these situations, whether corporately together or at home by ourselves, when there are bad things that happen, Plomon asks that God would bring good things about. So in the first paragraph he says that when there is a sin that happens, he asked that God would bring justice. In the next paragraph he asks that when there is a defeat, that God would bring victory, and then, paragraph after that, he asks that when there's no rain, God would bring rain. In the paragraph...

...after that he says when there is famine, blight, enemies, anything, if there's anything that a person needs, any sorrow in his own heart, when his hands stretch out to you, that the your house, this House, then here from heaven, your dwelling place, and forgive and render that word forgive is important and we've seen it appear several times and nearly every paragraph this comes up, and here we are reminded that these bad things that are happening are not just bad things that happen, but there are the curses of the Lord. They are connected with the sins. So, in other words, when a person sins, these bad things happen and he and he's asking that when they happen, as the God has promised, they will happen. God, will you please, when people repent and turn from their sins, forgive them. This includes not only Israel, but in the next paragraph he mentions foreigners, a wonderful promise anticipating the coming in of the gentiles. Solomon asks that even when a foreigner who is not of your people, Israel, who is not belong to the Covenant, who does not belong to the promises, when he comes from a far country, for the sake of God or is he puts it your great name, in your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, give him what he asks, forgive his sins. And he asks it and and and and, and that you would bless bless him. Essentially, he's asking that you would would that, as a foreigner, praise, he would no longer be a foreigner but come to enjoy the blessings of God and his people. In the paragraph after that, he again mentions war and victory and then, finally, in the last one, sin and exile. When these things happen, he asks again for forgiveness and return. Sin,...

...defeat, reign, famine, blight, enemies, foreigners, worse, thin, all resulting in good things justice, victory, reign responding and forgiveness belonging to the people of God. Victory, forgiveness return. What do we learn from all of this? Well, in some ways, Solomon's situation was unique. As I say, these are curses for a covenant that we no longer are under, but certainly we do experience, as Christians, God's displeasure for us when we sin, and this teaches us not merely to endure the things that we suffer as a result of our sins, but to seek God, to turn from our sins, not merely to endure them, but to repent of them. We are to go to God, recognizing our sin and our weakness, and that is why we sure we should call to him and seek him out. This is a good reminder that assalomon praise, he doesn't pray to God, who is his equal. Solomon doesn't go to God and sort of work out a deal with him. Solomon goes to God as one who is holy and who is just, who brings about the curses as well as the blessings who could, but who also gives forgiveness to those who ask. So the simple truth is this. When we sin, God says that we can repent of our sins and be forgiven. It's really that simple. But I realized that in saying this, some of you will feel that this is not enough, because you know, and I know how easily our commitment to...

...this truth gets washed away. We stand here or sit here now and think, yes, God forgives our sins. Yes, he says that when we go to him and repentance and ask for mercy, that he will forgive us. But then when we sin, when doubts creep in, when the devil whispers in our ears, we find that sometimes the foundation that we've built on is but s and and so, from Solomon's prayer I want to consider three reasons why, why we can seek the Lord in this way, three reasons Solomon gives why we can repent and trust him for this, that we might have a more sure foundation. Well, the first one is that Solomon asks boldly for forgiveness and repentance, and we should too, because of his faith in God's Covenant Of Grace, Solomon is trusting not his own imaginations. He's not merely wish wishfully hoping that God will forgive his sins, but he's standing on something strong as he asks, and that's God's covenant. So, for example, in verse Seventeen of this chapter, which I didn't read but read last time, Solomon says now, therefore, oh Lord, God of Israel, let your word be confirmed, which you have spoken to your servant, David. This comes up again in verse forty two, the last verse of this chapter. Oh Lord God, Oh Jehovah, God, do not turn away the face of or anointed one. Remember your steadfast love for David, your servant. You See, what Solomon is trusting him is not his own ability to repent, but in God's promise to forgive. Solomon's not saying,...

...oh Lord, when you see this good thing in me, this spiritual thing I'm doing, be pleased with it and save me. He's saying, act according to the promises you've made. I'm repenting because you've promised things to us. Freedom from enemies, the blessings of the earth, the forgiveness of sins. These are things that God promised Abraham and then again promised David, and Solomon is relying on them, and and we should too. When we ask for God to forgive us our sins, we ask not because we think it just might work. But we ask because God has promised to forgive us our sins, to give us good things, to bless us with wonderful things, both in this life and, even more importantly, in the next. A second thing to note is that when we pray these things and God uses our prayers to accomplish his will. So notice, for example, in Verse Thirty One of this chapter. In Verse Thirty One, this is the paragraph about forgiving. He says, please forgive, that they may fear you and walk in your ways all the days, that you live in the land, or that they live in the land that you gave to our fathers. You see, again, this is depending on God's Covenant Promise. There's this goal that the people live in the land, that they enjoy it, that they are blessed by it, that they are walking in the ways of the Lord. That's what Psalomon wants, and he wants that because that's what God wants, and God uses our prayers of repentance to get us to that end. It's the mechanism, so to speak, or one of them anyways, that God uses to accomplish his will. Here's another one in in verse thirty three.

It's the passage about the foreigner, he says when he ain't, when he comes from a far country and seeks you, hear from Your Heaven, here, from Heaven, your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls you, in order that, see, here's the goal, in order that all the peoples of the Earth May know your name and fear you and do as as do your people Israel, that they may know that this House that I have built is called by your name. You see what he's saying? You saying by the prayers that this foreigner gives and the prayers that God answers, something else is accomplished. Not only is these foreigner blessed, this non Israelite, but something of God's name is spread. You often hear me pray that God would do things for our good and for his glory. This is the pattern that we see here. This foreigner is praying for good things, at least pass at least in part for himself. But in that Solomon recognizes that as the Lord answers those prayers, he works through it and God's glory spreads. So you see what I'm saying. God uses our prayers to glorify himself, to do his will to spread his word. By faith we receive the blessings that are promised in the covenant of Grace, but also by these prayers of faith, God works out the Covenant of Grace in history. This is an amazing thing. God hears our prayers and he uses them to work according to his will. The last reason we ought to pray and and repent in these ways is, first was because of his covenant of...

Grace and his promises to forgive and to bless. Secondly, because his prayers accomplish his our prayers and his answering of them God uses to accomplish his will and third because God approves of and agrees with Solomon's prayer. So if we have any doubt that there is goodness in here or there at this is a model to follow. We need not because, as he says in verse set, in Chapter Seven, verse one, as soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of Jehovah filled the Temple and the priests could not enter the House of Jehovah Because the glory of Jehovah Filled Jehovah's House. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of Jehovah on the Temple, they bow down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and give thanks to Jehovah, saying for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. And then in verse twelve of this chapter, Chapter Seven, we read that God appears to Solemnon at night and says to him I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. I'm not going to read all of the rest of this, but let me read just one verse and you'll see what's coming. In the rest of them, God says, when I shut up to heaven so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by a name, and he goes on listing all the things. That's all'man prayed for and goes on to say, he concludes, then I will hear from Heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land. This amazing, the things that Solomon Prays for for the Nation of Israel. God says he will answer them when...

...his people turn and repent. This is an amazing promise and it should encourage us in our prayers of repentance that when we turn and repent to God, he hears us and he answers our prayers. Now, Solomon, well, I do need to read one more verse at the end here in Chapter Seven, God says to him in verse Seventeen. And as for you, if you will walk before me as David Your father walked, doing according to all that I have command you you and keeping my statutes in my rules, then I will establish your throne, as I have covenanted with David Your father, saying you shall not lack a man to rule Israel. Verse Nineteen. But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes, in my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other Gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you and this House that I have constructed for my name, I will cast out of my sight and I will make it a proverb and a by word among all the people's. And he goes on along those similar thoughts. Now this is important to know, because notice what God is saying. There is a condition to his promises. He says, I will bless you, Solomon, I will answer your prayers for forgiveness if, Solomon, you obey as I've called you to do. If you don't, however, the all the things that you fear will indeed come to pass. And I love how God says here and this House that I have constructed for my name, I will cast out of my sight. You See, says to Solomon, this isn't your house, you did not build this. This is my work and I will bring it to an end now. The reason this is important to note is that,...

...because you might have an objection at this point, the word clearly teaches that God's response to these prayers depends very much on the king's on Solomon and those who come after him, those who act as David Sun. Will they keep the Covenant? Will they walk in the ways of the Lorder? Will they not? And the truth is they did not. Solomon did fail, even if he was perfect, which he wasn't. He didn't live forever. Solomon's own prayer anticipates future time, such as the exile and the return. So my question to you is, how can we pray these same prayers? How can what I've been saying to you all along be true? If God promises to forgive but are but forgiveness is based on the obedience of the king, well then what hope do we have? Because of source? Of course, Solomon Sinned and Solomon died and we have no Solomon today. But it is right there at that last clause that this objection that I'm bringing forward goes wrong. True enough about Solomon that he wasn't perfect, true enough that he died, but he does live. He does live, of course, by believing and trusting in the promises of God as one of God's own sons. But he also lives in the way that he foreshadowed and typified another son of David, Jesus of Nazareth. God would send and did send another king who, unlike Solomon, never sinned and fulfilled the terms of the divid a covenant perfectly for himself and for all who are under him. Jesus, like Solomon, died, but his body rose from the dead by the power of the spirit, vindicating that the life he lived he lived perfectly, and the evil death...

...that he was dealt was overcome, he rose again and he continues to live and to reign as our king, as we've pointed out various times throughout this book and will continue to reflect on and meditate on, we are not waiting for another king, we're not waiting for another Solomon. We're not waiting and hoping that some president of our country will finally rise up into Solomon's place. We have our king. We have the one that we need, the one who has obeyed God, the one who lives in the resurrection life because of his obedience and is conquering over death. What does this mean? This means that we can pray the prayers of Solomon. We can pray and ask that, when we turn from our sin, that we can have forgiveness, because our hope for forgiveness rests not on a man, but on the God man, on Jesus. It means that Jesus fulfilled the covenant that God God made with David, that Jesus made with David. It means that we, who belong to him, therefore, can know that God hears our prayers, because he hears Jesus's prayers, he hears the prayers of the Holy Spirit living and dwelling with on us. Once the spirit of God dwelled within the Temple, and the New Testament tells us that now we are that Temple God. Here's our prayers, as those who belong under the belong to Christ. It means not only that God hears us, but we no longer have to fear the curse. These curses that were promised on the land of Israel do no longer to apply to us, and the judgment that they anticipated the much greater and...

...more dreadful thing of the Great Judgment Day and Hell itself. We don't fear that either, because Jesus not only pours out all his blessings, but he also took on the curse. This means that as we live our lives under King Jesus, we live lives of freedom, having the curse erased and paid for, having the blessings of God poured out on us and promised to come to the current their complete consummation when the Lord returns. It means that we can live a life of repentance and praise to God, God, and do so in a holy and wonderful joy. And then, when we fall into our old sins and our evil habits and the craven desires of our hearts. Of course we will expect that God will, in one way or another, discipline us. Of course he does. He he loves us. But when that happens, we remember this, that the God, that God who disciplines, is not a god who is cursing. All of our curses are taken away in Jesus, but he disciplines us so that we might draw near to him and so that we might know the forgiveness of our sins and life and greater life in him. I want to conclude by reading to you a little bit from the James's letter. Here James says about our prayers. You do not have because you do not ask. This is often true, isn't it, of our sins, of forgiveness and other things. But here's the promise that I want to leave you with. He says in Verse Five. Or do you suppose it is no purpose that? The scripture says he yearns jealously...

...over the spirit that he is made to dwell in us, but he gives us grace, more grace, or he gives more grace. Therefore, it says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts. You double minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. This is the promise that we read in James and it's the promise of Solomon's prayer. When we turn to the Lord and Repentance and we seek forgiveness of our sins, he promises US forgiveness and the life and joy and peace and all the rest that comes from knowing and being at peace with God. It is my prayer that when you feel the weight of your sins, that you would not merely endure that feeling, but that you would go to God, that you would repent of your sins with confidence in what King Jesus has done and know that you are forgiven. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. Let us pray.

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