This is a continuation of the “Solomon’s Prayer” series, the last post of which you can find here. I will be discussing Second Chronicles 6:34-39 today; all quotations from the passage are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB). Thank you for reading!
Summary of Passage
Verses 34-39 of Second Chronicles 6 embody the last portion of Solomon’s intercession for Israel. In this passage the king intercedes for the time in which his people “go out to battle against their enemies,” when they disobey God, and when “they take thought in the land where they are taken captive.”
Application of Passage
Although verses 34-37 deserve intense study (maybe you could dissect the passage in your quiet time), I’d like to turn our attention to the last two verses of today’s selection:
“[I]f they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been taken captive, and pray toward their land which You have given to their fathers and the city which You have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You.”
This passage is the true summary of Solomon’s prayer, the main thought that pervades throughout Second Chronicles 6. Although it is primarily discussing the time of the Israelites’ captivity, it also emphasizes the importance of a widespread return to Israel’s God, giving us a glimpse into the two key principles around which the passage revolves: 1) the requirement of the Israelites and 2) their request to their God.
The Requirement of the Israelites: Prayer
Some may argue that I should replace “prayer” with “revival” or “return,” and they may very well have a point worth consideration. Yet I chose “prayer” for a reason. Though the emphasis in this passage is placed upon “return,” the means by which the Israelites express and make certain their return is communion with God via prayer. In praying, the Israelites remembered 1) God’s working in the past, 2) the holy city of Jerusalem, and 3) as a result of their captivity, their sinfulness and their inability to save themselves. Likewise, when we wish to return to our Lord after a spiritual drought, upon realizing that our cistern has emptied again, we must remember 1) God’s working in the past, 2) the holy and heavenly city He is preparing for us, and 3) as a result of our spiritual failings, our sinfulness and inability to save ourselves. And as mentioned before, in both the Old Testament and the New, God always listens to a genuinely desperate and humble heart—the only thing the Israelites can offer. What Solomon is asking here is for God to accept our brokenness as enough to exchange for His wholeness.
The Request to God: Forgiveness
“God has laid himself under no obligation, by any promise to keep any natural man out of hell one moment.” ~Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
Not only does God forgive, but He forgives freely. He does it out of His own goodness. Yet when He forgives, it is always in response to the desperate prayer of the one who wants to be pardoned. God does not forgive on the merit of works, of pastors, of knowledge. He forgives on the merit of the faithfulness accounted to His children “as righteousness.”
That righteousness, if not already so, can be yours as well. When you ask for it, when you realize the depth of your need for pardon, God will do wonders in your life. He will respond just as He did to Solomon’s plea (7:12, 15-16):
“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 house of sacrifice…Now My eyes shall be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.”
Stay faithful, brothers and sisters.
January 16, 2018