Prayer and Prophecy

“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 turn 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 have acted perversely and wickedly,’ if they repent with all their heart and with all their soul 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 that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, then hear from heaven your dwelling place their prayer and their pleas, and maintain their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you. Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place.

“And now arise, O Lord God, and go to your resting place,
you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation,
and let your saints rejoice in your goodness.

O Lord God, do not turn away the face of your anointed one!
Remember your steadfast love for David your servant.”

2 Chronicles 6:36-42.

As Solomon prays, he includes the contingency that Israel’s disobedience could lead to captivity. This will be worth remembering in the future, when it seems that God has forsaken them.

I was talking with a customer today, a fellow believer, about America’s captivity to come. We care too much about winning elections and not at all about winning the lost. We are derelict in our duty to expand the kingdom, giving it up for the republic.

The Cloud of Glory

And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord,

“For he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever,”

the house, the house of the Lord, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of God. 2 Chronicles 5:11-14.

My earliest worship experiences after my conversion were in charismatic churches. It was the first time I had ever seen people worshiping God like they meant it. We sang songs of faith and victory out of the Bible, and I memorized some of the scriptures that way. As the service went on, the songs got slower and more reverent. People would raise their hands to God as they sang, and some got on their knees. A few even got face down on the carpet and worshiped. We all wanted to see God in His glory. We wanted to be enveloped in that cloud!

We never got the cloud, but we still found the presence of God. And when it was over, we knew we had worshiped, and not just “gone to church.” I miss those days.

The Sea of Bronze

He made an altar of bronze, twenty cubits long and twenty cubits wide and ten cubits high. Then he made the sea of cast metal. It was round, ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference. Under it were figures of gourds, for ten cubits, compassing the sea all around. The gourds were in two rows, cast with it when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east. The sea was set on them, and all their rear parts were inward. Its thickness was a handbreadth. And its brim was made like the brim of a cup, like the flower of a lily. It held 3,000 baths. He also made ten basins in which to wash, and set five on the south side, and five on the north side. In these they were to rinse off what was used for the burnt offering, and the sea was for the priests to wash in. 2 Chronicles 4:1-6.

Archeologists and artists help fill in some of the spaces left by the Bible. For instance, it has been discovered that Solomon had built reservoirs and conduits to fill the sea at the temple. And I could not imagine the priests having to climb up and into the sea to bathe, in public. It would have been a small matter to run a pipe out to feed smaller basins for ceremonial washing.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 NIV

Until completeness, the physical fulfillment of the kingdom of God comes, there will be details we can only imagine.

The Beauty Within

Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to David his father, at the place that David had appointed, on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. He began to build in the second month of the fourth year of his reign. These are Solomon’s measurements for building the house of God: the length, in cubits of the old standard, was sixty cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits. The vestibule in front of the nave of the house was twenty cubits long, equal to the width of the house, and its height was 120 cubits. He overlaid it on the inside with pure gold. The nave he lined with cypress and covered it with fine gold and made palms and chains on it. He adorned the house with settings of precious stones. The gold was gold of Parvaim. So he lined the house with gold—its beams, its thresholds, its walls, and its doors—and he carved cherubim on the walls. 2 Chronicles 3:1-7.

There are so many artist’s renditions of Solomon’s Temple that it is hard to say exactly what it looked like. Let it suffice to say that however grand the outside was, it was humble compared to the inside. And this should be a comfort to us, for our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. And no matter how humble we appear on the outside, He had designed us to be beautiful and full of riches in the inside. It should also encourage us to show it by how we act.

Of Kings and Peasants

“Now I have sent a skilled man, who has understanding, Huram-abi, the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your craftsmen, the craftsmen of my lord, David your father. Now therefore the wheat and barley, oil and wine, of which my lord has spoken, let him send to his servants. And we will cut whatever timber you need from Lebanon and bring it to you in rafts by sea to Joppa, so that you may take it up to Jerusalem.”

Then Solomon counted all the resident aliens who were in the land of Israel, after the census of them that David his father had taken, and there were found 153,600. Seventy thousand of them he assigned to bear burdens, 80,000 to quarry in the hill country, and 3,600 as overseers to make the people work. 2 Chronicles 2:13-18.

Solomon and Hiram, king of Tyre, work out the details of getting timber and artisans for the temple construction. Then Solomon gets the grunt work done by the foreigners who live in Israel. This may be part of God’s plan to give His people rest, while the gentiles do the heavy lifting, but I really don’t know.

All I really know is that this temple will eventually be destroyed by Invaders, as part of God’s judgment when Israel goes whoring after idols. Our works, no matter how glorious, are only permanent if they are done in faithfulness to our God.