2 Chronicles Chapter 7

The temple of the Lord, which Solomon built, had been completed and dedicated. Many sacrifices and offerings had been prepared on the altars of the temple. The elders and priests of Israel were all gathered together in Jerusalem for this event, and the glory of the Lord was among them in a thick cloud that filled the temple. Chapter 7 begins as follows:

1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.

At the conclusion of Solomon’s dedicatory prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings and sacrifices that had been prepared. The glory of the Lord continued to fill the temple, so much so, that the priests were unable to enter. The Israelites that witnessed these things, bowed down and worshipped the Lord for his goodness and never-ending mercy. (see also 1 Kings 8)

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.
5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the Lord, which David the king had made to praise the Lord, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the Lord: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.

Sacrifices were offered, including 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. The temple was thus dedicated, and the service of the priests began to be there. Everyone stood at the sound of the trumpets played by the musicians. Solomon dedicated the middle of the court, just in front of the temple, where sacrifices were offered by him. He had offered them there because the altar had not been sufficient to hold the offerings which had been given and prepared.

8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that the Lord had shewed unto David, and to Solomon, and to Israel his people.
11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord, and the king’s house: and all that came into Solomon’s heart to make in the house of the Lord, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.

The feast associated with the dedication went on for seven days, in which a large number of the Israelites participated. On the eighth day, they held a solemn assembly. Then, the people were sent to their tents. They were happy and grateful for the goodness of the Lord shown toward King David, King Solomon, and the Israelite people. With that, the dedication and celebration were complete. Everything Solomon did for the temple and his own palace, prospered. (see also 1 Kings 9)

12 And the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.
16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?
22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.

Solomon was visited by the Lord in the night. The Lord told Solomon personally, that the temple was chosen by the Lord as a house of sacrifice. The Lord, who had power to bring drought, locusts or pestilences, promised Solomon that he would forgive those who humbly repented and sought him, and heal the land. He promised to hear the prayers of the faithful made in the temple. Additionally, he promised Solomon that his kingdom would be established in Israel continually, so long as Solomon remained faithful and obedient to commandments of the Lord. If, however, this was not the case, and Solomon turned away from the Lord, and was disobedient and forsook the instruction and commandments of the Lord, in effect seeking after other gods for worship, the Lord would remove them from the land of promise and cast the temple out as an example to all the world. The people would have a reminder from the temple, of the suffering brought to them by the Lord because they turned away from their God to worship other gods.

God will not continue to help and bless the life of anyone who forsakes him. I don’t believe this is simply because he does not like to be forsaken. God is a merciful Father, who honors our individual agency with perfection. He removes his blessing upon the people who do not remember Him and His commandments, because they would be held to a higher standard, in the day of judgment, if he continued to give them blessings that are reserved for the faithful. In Luke 12:48, Jesus taught, “…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…”. Therefore, He allows men to suffer by the gods they choose to follow, in other words He allows them to suffer (or experience) from all that the world has to offer them, which is not eternally damning to their soul to the same degree. God does not want to punish us, He wants to bless us. He does not look for ways to help us fail even more. He does not want to put any of us in the position to be condemned further, but gives us the opportunities to choose to return to Him on our own. His love and mercy for His children, no matter if they choose to follow Him or not, is amazing beyond our understanding, and is the love and mercy of a perfect Father.

On the other hand, God gladly blesses men for faithfulness. We are blessed in many ways, including a happiness and peace in our lives. The people in Israel, who had gathered for the dedication and feast, left happy. They had experienced amazing things during the dedication. These experiences brought a response from the people, of gratitude to the Lord. In my own experience at temple dedications, there hasn’t been a visible cloud of the glory of the Lord, but I have felt full of the spirit. It is a feeling which is hard to describe other than to say it is like a burning in my heart and a feeling of joy and peace I wanted to last. Solomon must have felt true joy to have done this thing for the Lord. His experience did not end there, but he was then visited by the Lord, just as his father had been. This was a personal confirmation to Solomon, that he had followed the will of the Lord. He had done the things that were necessary to allow more of God’s children the blessings of the temple, because they could more fully keep the covenants they had made.

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