Posts Tagged 'Faith'

2 Chronicles Chapter 22

Jehoram ruled Judah in wickedness. He brought an end to the continued protection they had from the Lord and was also cursed to die of sickness, which he did. Most of his family was destroyed or taken by their enemies and his only son remaining was his youngest, Jehoahaz (also known as Ahaziah or Azariah) This chapter begins with his reign.

1 And the inhabitants of Jerusalem made Ahaziah his youngest son king in his stead: for the band of men that came with the Arabians to the camp had slain all the eldest. So Ahaziah the son of Jehoram king of Judah reigned.
2 Forty and two years old was Ahaziah when he began to reign, and he reigned one year in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Athaliah the daughter of Omri.
3 He also walked in the ways of the house of Ahab: for his mother was his counsellor to do wickedly.
4 Wherefore he did evil in the sight of the Lord like the house of Ahab: for they were his counsellors after the death of his father to his destruction.

Ahaziah was made the king of Judah, because he was the only heir remaining. He only reigned for one year. He ruled as his father had, after the ways of Ahab, the former wicked king of Israel. His mother (a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, whom Jehoram had married) along with the house of Ahab, were his counsellors and persuaded him in his wickedness.

5 He walked also after their counsel, and went with Jehoram the son of Ahab king of Israel to war against Hazael king of Syria at Ramoth-gilead: and the Syrians smote Joram.
6 And he returned to be healed in Jezreel because of the wounds which were given him at Ramah, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria. And Azariah the son of Jehoram king of Judah went down to see Jehoram the son of Ahab at Jezreel, because he was sick.
7 And the destruction of Ahaziah was of God by coming to Joram: for when he was come, he went out with Jehoram against Jehu the son of Nimshi, whom the Lord had anointed to cut off the house of Ahab.
8 And it came to pass, that, when Jehu was executing judgment upon the house of Ahab, and found the princes of Judah, and the sons of the brethren of Ahaziah, that ministered to Ahaziah, he slew them.
9 And he sought Ahaziah: and they caught him, (for he was hid in Samaria,) and brought him to Jehu: and when they had slain him, they buried him: Because, said they, he is the son of Jehoshaphat, who sought the Lord with all his heart. So the house of Ahaziah had no power to keep still the kingdom.

Ahaziah joined Jehoram (Joram) of Israel (son of Ahab and also uncle to Ahaziah), and went to war against the Syrians. The Syrians wanted to take Ramoth-Gilead. Jehoram was injured while fighting Hazael, king of Syria, and was taken to Jezreel (his captial city) to heal from his wounds. Ahaziah went to visit Jehoram. In traveling to Jehoram, Ahaziah brought upon himself his own destruction. He went against Jehu, who had been anointed to destroy the house of Ahab. (Jehu was the captain of the host, annointed by a prophet and given a promise that he would destroy the house of Ahab because Jezebel had killed the prophets of the Lord and become ruler of the people.) Jehu found the princes and family of Ahaziah, which served him, and he killed them. Then he went to find Ahaziah. Those on the side of Jehu, caught Ahaziah as he was hiding in Samaria, and brought him to Jehu. He was killed and buried (showing some honor, because he was the grandson of Jehoshaphat, who had served in righteousness), leaving no one to rule in Judah. (see also 2 Kings 9)

10 But when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal of the house of Judah.
11 But Jehoshabeath, the daughter of the king, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him from among the king’s sons that were slain, and put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. So Jehoshabeath, the daughter of king Jehoram, the wife of Jehoiada the priest, (for she was the sister of Ahaziah,) hid him from Athaliah, so that she slew him not.
12 And he was with them hid in the house of God six years: and Athaliah reigned over the land.

When his mother learned of his death, she went and destroyed all the royal seed (children) of house of Judah. Jehoshabeath (Jehosheba), the daughter of Jehoram (also Ahaziah’s half-sister and wife of Jehoiada the high priest), hid one of the sons of Ahaziah, who was named Joash. Athaliah did not find him and so was unable to kill him. He was hidden in the temple for six years. Meanwhile, Athaliah became the ruler of Judah.

It is hard to believe sometimes, that people could live so deep in wickedness, that they would kill in order to have power (or that in their power, they would see the need to kill others like this). These are the kinds of stories in the scriptures that would seem hard to understand and believe, if not for some of the things that happen in our modern times. There are people who cannot see the wickedness in destroying innocent lives. The adversary is so cunning and deceiving, he can blind the mind to the precious nature of life itself. Athaliah, like her son Ahaziah, was not a righteous ruler for Judah.

Study of this chapter, is a reminder of why the Lord commanded the Israelites not to marry outside of their faith. His stated purpose for this, was that those of the other nations would be a stumbling block to the people of the Lord. The traditions of others would cause the Israelites to fall away from their faith and become a wicked people. Those of the northern kingdom of Israel, allowed this to happen when they made alliances with those outside of their faith. It led them to follow after false gods and fall into great wickedness, as was the case with Ahab who married Jezebel. When Jehoram became king of Judah, he made an alliance with Ahab and he married his daughter, Athaliah. When he did this, he invited the traditions of Ahab and Jezebel into Judah through their daughter. This was an invitation to turn from the Lord to following after false gods and to taking part in wickedness. How does this apply today, when we are not given this specific commandment. It is important for people, who are striving to be God’s people today and follow after Christ, to stand firm in their faith. We are to live in the world, influencing others with the light of Christ in us and loving others as He loves them. However, we must be watchful, there is a point at which we must make sure that we are not living of the world. We cannot afford to allow the ways of the world to influence us into turning away from God and His goodness. Because of this, it is vitally important to live worthy of the influence of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost will help us to discern which situations with others would be a danger to our spiritual safety. The Holy Ghost has helped me with this in my own life. It has not been easy to step away from relationships that would potentially be a stumbling block for my spiritual progress, but I can look back now and see the great blessing it has been to follow after the inspiration of the Spirit in this way.

2 Chronicles Chapter 20

The people of Judah, were brought back to a remembrance of the Lord, under the righteous leadership of Jehoshaphat. He had led them in making covenants, removing certain temptations from among them, and establishing local leaders to teach them and help them to remain faithful. This chapter begins as follows:

1 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Other nations gathered together against Judah, including the Moabites and Ammonites. Jehoshaphat learned of the coming attack and sought the guidance of the Lord. He proclaimed a fast throughout all the land of Judah. They gathered together to fast and pray for help from God.

5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,
6 And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11 Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
13 And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.

Jehoshaphat prayed to the Lord, in the temple. In faith, he remembered the promise of the Lord, that if they were to pray to him in the temple, their prayers would be heard. Even his father, Asa, had received this promised when the Lord had said, “The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you” (2 Chronicles 15:2). Jehoshaphat prayed of their situation, seeking guidance and deliverance from their enemies.

14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;
15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.
19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.

A levite of Asaph (the singer) in the congregation, named Jahaziel, was touched by the spirit and began to prophesy to the people. The word of the Lord was that they were not to fear this enemy that was coming against them, because this was God’s fight and not their own. When they went down against them the next day, they would be found at the end of the brook (or valley) just outside of Jeruel. There, the men of Judah were to stop, be still and see the work of the Lord in their behalf. He promised that the Lord would be with them. They would be delivered from this enemy. With this promise, Jehoshaphat and the congregation of Judah, fell down and worshipped the Lord. The levites and musicians stood and praised God.

20 And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

The army of Judah went forward in faith. Jehoshaphat rallied the troops with a call to believe in the Lord and his prophets. He also appointed singers to go before the army, praising the Lord and his mercy. They showed their faith not only by moving the army towards the fight, but by praising the Lord for the deliverance that was yet to occur. Do saints today have the faith in God to thank him and praise him before they see the answer to their prayers, as if the resolution has already happened? If nothing else, this helped them have the perspective to continue forward when the battle they were facing was more than they could handle on their own.

22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
23 For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24 And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
25 And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

As they traveled in faith and with much singing and praise, the Lord caused that the armies of their enemies would be amubushed. The Ammonites and Moabites fought against those of mount Seir, and then they all fought among themselves and destroyed one another. When Judah got to the place they were to stand and be still, they saw that their enemies were all dead. They had faith the Lord would help them, but they had not been told what the help of the Lord would look like. Some of them, if not all, must have looked in astonishment at the scene before them. As they were the only ones left standing, Jehoshaphat’s army claimed a great amount of riches in the spoil.

26 And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
28 And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.
29 And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel.
30 So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.

After they collected the spoils of war, they gathered together and blessed the Lord. They returned to Jerusalem joyfully, with Jehoshaphat leading them. They praised the Lord with music at the temple. As a result of this battle, other nations feared the Lord was with Judah and had fought for them, so there was peace for Judah and Jehoshaphat.

31 And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
32 And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the Lord.
33 Howbeit the high places were not taken away: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers.
34 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Jehu the son of Hanani, who is mentioned in the book of the kings of Israel.

Jehoshaphat was a righteous king of Judah for 25 years. However, the people were not a perfect people, and there were still some places of idolatrous temptation in the Land.

35 And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly:
36 And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Ezion-geber.
37 Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.

At a later time, an alliance was made with Ahaziah, the wicked king of Israel, in which they made ships that were to travel to Tarshish. Eliezer, the prophet, prophesied to Jehoshaphat. Due to his alliance with Ahaziah, the Lord would go against their plans with the ships. As a result, the ships were broken by the Lord and unable to travel to Tarshish as they had planned.

The Lord needed the people of Judah to be devoted to him. They were his people because they had chosen to make covenants with him. He had guided and protected them according to their faith in him. They were not to make alliances with wicked nations, because they would likely succumb to the temptations of those nations. Rather, they were to rely wholly upon the Lord. If they did this, they would remember the Lord with humility and gratitude, clinging to their covenants and remaining faithful to him. Likewise, we need to remember to rely on the Lord and not on man. We need to fast and pray. We need to gather to the temple and pray there as well. God will hear our prayers. If we ask in faith, he will answer our prayers just as he answered the prayers of those in Judah at the time of this impending battle.

2 Chronicles Chapter 16

In his efforts to be a more righteous king for Judah, Asa had destroyed the idols of his kingdom. He had led the people in turning back to the Lord, and making covenants with God. He had shown his own dedication and commitment, by following the covenants strictly himself. His reign continues with the following:

1 In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.
2 Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the Lord and of the king’s house, and sent to Ben-hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,
3 There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.
4 And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of his armies against the cities of Israel; and they smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-maim, and all the store cities of Naphtali.
5 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease.
6 Then Asa the king took all Judah; and they carried away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha was building; and he built therewith Geba and Mizpah.

Baasha was the king of Israel during this part of the reign of Asa. Asa had been king for 36 years, when Baasha went against Judah by building Ramah. Ramah was a town built in the land of Benjamin, on the border of Ephraim. His plan was to prevent his people from traveling to Judah, to the kingdom of Asa. Asa appealed to Beh-hadad, the king of Syria at Damascus, with a tribute of gold and silver from the temple treasury as well as his treasury, in order to get his help. Asa wanted Ben-hadad to go against Israel, so that Baasha would leave Judah alone. Ben-hadad listened to Asa and fought against Israel. The Syrian army attacked Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim, and parts of Naptali. Baasha abandoned building Ramah, leaving Asa and his people to break down the stones and wood of it. He used them to build Geba and Mizpah. (see also Kings 15)

7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand.
9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

A seer named Hanani went to Asa with a message. Asa had turned to the Syrians for help, instead of relying on the Lord. The Lord had helped him and his people in the past, even though they were a smaller army. Asa was promised continual wars from that time forward, for his foolish choice and not continuing faithful to the Lord. Asa was not pleased with this message, and as a result, he imprisoned Hanani. Furthermore, he began to oppress some of his people.

11 And, behold, the acts of Asa, first and last, lo, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel.
12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the physicians.
13 And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign.
14 And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries’ art: and they made a very great burning for him.

Three years after the building and deserting of the town of Ramah by Baasha, Asa contracted a disease in his feet. He suffered greatly from it, but he did not turn to the Lord for help, he went only to his physicians. He lived only a few years longer, and during the forty-first year of his reign over Judah, he died and was buried in the city of David.

We are a fallen people in a fallen world, and as such we are prone to quickly forgetting God. Faith in the Lord is a continually changing aspect of life. It is not something that we can make strong and have it remain that way without anything on our part. For most of us, it waxes and wanes depending on what we are willing to give it during different experiences of mortality. We need to be constantly working on our faith in order to keep it active in our lives. This is why the scriptures teach us to be continuing, firm and steadfast in our faith. It is our choices and actions that will keep our faith continuing in strength, or allow it to become weak. If we forget our faith, by forgetting the Lord, our faith will shrink with the lack of attention. Asa allowed himself to forget. When he turned to other sources for help, he was choosing them for their wisdom and strength, over the Lord for his power to deliver his people. His faith weakened and while he was successful in the battle, he lost some of the power of God in his life and fell victim to disease and death, both physically and spiritually.

2 Chronicles Chapter 15

Asa was the king of Judah, and he led the people in righteousness. Some of the idolatrous symbols and locations in their land, had been destroyed under his leadership. The consequence of their faith in the Lord, had been blessings of victory in battle, peace and prosperity. This chapter continues the story of Asa and his people.

1 And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law.
4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the countries.
6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did vex them with all adversity.
7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.
8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord.
9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
11 And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul;
13 That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.
14 And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.
15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them: and the Lord gave them rest round about.

Azariah was inspired to give a message from the Lord to Asa and his people. It was a reminder that the Lord would be with their people as long as they remained faithful to him, but if they were to turn from Him, the Lord would no longer be with them. The children of Israel had waivered in their faith throughout the years. When they remembered Him during times of difficulty, turning back to the Lord, He was there for them. They lived in times of difficulty and adversity because God allowed these things to come upon them when they did not follow after Him. However, the Lord promised Asa that he would reward them if they remained strong and continued to do good works.

The concept of seeking the Lord is found often in the scriptures. When Moses gave the children of Israel the commandments, he taught, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29). When Paul taught the people of Athens, he said, “That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us” (Acts 17:27). Seeking after the Lord is to actively look for Him in our lives and put ourselves in places and situations where we can recognize Him. It is reading the scriptures to learn of him. It is attending church to hear his words taught. It is praying daily for his help. It is going to the temple to feel His Spirit. It is looking for the evidences of His presence, power, and creation in all the world. It is living the commandments, even if we don’t fully understand why, because we have faith that He is real, He loves us, and He is our Lord. The promise is that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Verse 15 teaches that after seeking, the people did find the Lord. This promise is as much true for us today, as it was for those in the time of Asa. He is waiting to show us He cares for us personally, to guide us and to teach us, and to bless us with countless blessings that will help us on our path home to Him.

This message is also found in the words of a favorite song I learned as a child:

Seek the Lord Early

I’ll seek the Lord early while in my youth,
And he will help me to know the truth.
I’ll search the scriptures and find him there,
Then go to our Father in fervent prayer.
I’ll seek the Lord early, and I’ll obey
His living prophets in all they say.
I’ll keep his commandments; his love will abound.
I will seek the Lord early, and he will be found.
(Joanne Bushman Doxey, 1932–.)

Asa was encouraged by the words of this prophecy. The chapter says, he took courage, which shows that this was not a simple task for him. It could have angered people, causing divisions and acts against him as king. No matter the difficulties, Asa heard the words of the prophet and as a result, he sought to remove all the symbols of idolatry in the land and to renew the altar of the Lord at the temple. His example of following the counsel of the prophet is a good one for us today. There are times when the words of our modern prophets may seem hard to follow. For whatever reason that may be, we can also take courage. The words of the prophets of God, are the words of God. If we follow them and work through all the difficulties and challenges that may come as a result of it, we will be blessed to become better and grow closer to the Lord.

Many people from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon, had come to Judah because they saw that the Lord was with them. During his fifteenth year, Asa called together all the children of Israel in the land, and they gathered in Jerusalem. They gave offerings to the Lord, and made a covenant with the Lord, to seek after Him with their whole heart and soul. They committed with the Lord, that any who would not do this, would be destroyed. They celebrated over their new promise to the Lord, and the Lord blessed them with peace in the land.

16 And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.
17 But the high places were not taken away out of Israel: nevertheless the heart of Asa was perfect all his days.

Asa kept his covenants with strict obedience. His mother (grandmother) had participated in idolatrous behavior when placing an idol in one of the groves, so Asa had her removed from being queen and destroyed her idol.

18 And he brought into the house of God the things that his father had dedicated, and that he himself had dedicated, silver, and gold, and vessels.
19 And there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa.

The items dedicated to the Lord, were gathered into the temple. Judah had peace until Asa was in the 35th year of his reign. (see also 1 Kings 15:9-15)

The people of the southern kingdom were living righteously enough to cause others to want to be among them. Those from the northern kingdom who wanted God in their lives, moved from the lands of their inheritance to Jerusalem, which is an act of faith and commitment to the Lord. To have the presence of God in life, should be the desire of any disciple of Christ. In the time of Asa, God’s presence was represented by the house of the Lord among a covenant people. When Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection, he blessed them with the spirit of God (the Holy Spirit or the Holy Ghost), which was to be their constant companion. Since that time, the covenant people of the Lord have had the presence of God with them wherever they may be, so long as they remain faithful to the Lord. This is a great blessing and makes it possible for the covenant people of the Lord to be among all the nations of the earth rather than gathered in one place as they were in Judah.

The covenants they made were significant and required strict obedience to receive the promised blessings from God. In order to keep them, they were willing to destroy those who were unfaithful. In our time, this act may seem extreme and beyond our understanding, but in the times of the law of Moses, God had established that this was the only way to keep his people faithful. When they chose not to follow this part of the law, they gave into temptations from influences that were not righteous and fell away. How we live our covenants today may not seem quite so extreme, but the significance to God is the same and should be to us. We should have the faith and courage to get rid of anything and everything in our lives that would draw us away from God and the blessings of the spirit. This means doing those things that our necessary and right, to remove them from us completely. That could mean removing all things related to a bad habit, disassociating from certain people who are a bad influence on us, relocating to a place that is better for us, or things such as these. I have had to make hard choices in my personal life related to this, in order to commit myself more fully to the Lord and to be able to have the influence of the spirit in my life more. It is never easy. Sometimes it is very painful in one way or another, but for me, these sacrifices have brought the greatest blessings and a change of heart that could not have happened otherwise. I am very grateful for my covenants and the way they have shaped my life. I am even more grateful for the gift of the spirit in my life. It is a treasure and worth the greatest efforts to continue to have it.

2 Chronicles Chapter 14

Israel had been ruled by King David; followed by his son, Solomon; his son, Jeroboam; and then his son, Abijah. In the days of Jeroboam, the kingdom had divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Abijah had been a good leader, who relied on the Lord to fight for Judah as they had been faithful to Him. This chapter continues to record the reign of the kings of Judah as follows:

1 So Abijah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead. In his days the land was quiet ten years.
2 And Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God:
3 For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:
4 And commanded Judah to seek the Lord God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandment.
5 Also he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the images: and the kingdom was quiet before him.

Asa, the son of Abijah, began to rule in Judah. There was peace in the land for ten years. He was a righteous king, who removed the altars and places of worship related to false gods in Jerusalem and throughout the cities of Judah. He led the people to follow after the Lord and keep the commandments of God. (see also 1 Kings 15)

6 And he built fenced cities in Judah: for the land had rest, and he had no war in those years; because the Lord had given him rest.
7 Therefore he said unto Judah, Let us build these cities, and make about them walls, and towers, gates, and bars, while the land is yet before us; because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought him, and he hath given us rest on every side. So they built and prospered.
8 And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour.

Since the land was at peace, Asa had his people rebuild fortified cities in Judah. He gave the credit of their peace and prosperity to the Lord. His army included 300,000 mighty spearmen of Judah and 280,000 bowmen from Benjamin.

9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah.
10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
11 And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, and said, Lord, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O Lord our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O Lord, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
12 So the Lord smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.
13 And Asa and the people that were with him pursued them unto Gerar: and the Ethiopians were overthrown, that they could not recover themselves; for they were destroyed before the Lord, and before his host; and they carried away very much spoil.
14 And they smote all the cities round about Gerar; for the fear of the Lord came upon them: and they spoiled all the cities; for there was exceeding much spoil in them.
15 They smote also the tents of cattle, and carried away sheep and camels in abundance, and returned to Jerusalem.

After their years of peace, 1,000,000 men and 300 chariots of Ethiopia, under the leadership of Zerah, came against Judah to fight. They stopped in Mareshah, where Asa met them with his army. Asa, turned to the Lord and prayed for help, relying on his knowledge that the Lord was all-powerful and could defeat their enemy who was greater than his own. He went against the Ethiopians with complete faith in the Lord. The Lord smote the Ethiopians and they fled. The men of Asa went after them, even to Gerar, where the Ethiopians lost and could not recover. The men of Judah destroyed their cities and carried the spoil back to Judah.

It must have been daunting to see that they were only about half in number when compared to their enemy in this battle. And yet, Asa was willing to face them because of his faith and trust in the Lord. It did not matter how insufficient their own army would be in this situation, because the Lord has power greater than any number of men. Likewise, our own difficulties and trials may seem to be impossible to face with our own capacities and understanding. The Lord is greater than anything that could come against us. Furthermore, the Lord loves us and wants to help us. We can look to examples like Asa, and place our complete trust in the power of the Lord to deliver us. He will deliver us according to our faith, his will, and his timing. Moreover, we will draw nearer to God through this expression of our faith.

2 Chronicles Chapter 13

Abijah, the son of Rehoboam, ruled as king in Judah after his father died. At this time, Jeroboam was still king of Israel. The two kingdoms had continuously fought with each other ever since their division. This chapter continues the descriptions of what happened with the kingdoms of the children of Israel.

1 Now in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam began Abijah to reign over Judah.
2 He reigned three years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name also was Michaiah the daughter of Uriel of Gibeah. And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.
3 And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.

Jeroboam had ruled in Israel for 18 years at the time when Abijah began his reign in Judah. Abijah had been king for three years, when there was a war between the two kingdoms. 400,000 valiant men fought under Abijah, while 800,000 mighty men of valour fought under Jeroboam.

4 And Abijah stood up upon mount Zemaraim, which is in mount Ephraim, and said, Hear me, thou Jeroboam, and all Israel;
5 Ought ye not to know that the Lord God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt?
6 Yet Jeroboam the son of Nebat, the servant of Solomon the son of David, is risen up, and hath rebelled against his lord.
7 And there are gathered unto him vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them.
8 And now ye think to withstand the kingdom of the Lord in the hand of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves, which Jeroboam made you for gods.
9 Have ye not cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands? so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a priest of them that are no gods.
10 But as for us, the Lord is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests, which minister unto the Lord, are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites wait upon their business:
11 And they burn unto the Lord every morning and every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense: the shewbread also set they in order upon the pure table; and the candlestick of gold with the lamps thereof, to burn every evening: for we keep the charge of the Lord our God; but ye have forsaken him.
12 And, behold, God himself is with us for our captain, and his priests with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers; for ye shall not prosper.

Abijah went to mount Zemariam, in mount Ephraim, and spoke to Jeroboam and the people of Israel. He reminded the people of the covenant of the Lord to David and his posterity. He claimed that Jeroboam had rebelled against the king and the house of David, even as he was the servant of Solomon. He also claimed that wicked men had risen against Rehoboam, when he was too young to withstand them. They were, at this point, against the kingdom of Judah with their massive numbers, who had brought the golden calves they worshipped in idolatry. The men of Israel had cast out the priests of Aaron and the Levites, in favor of their own priests who would lead them as the heathen nations around them. The people of Judah sought to follow after the Lord. They worshipped the Lord, with the priests of Aaron and the Levites in service of the Lord. They continued with the traditions of the temple, set forth by the Lord, while the people of Israel had forsaken Him. Abijah claimed that God was the captain of the armies of Judah, and called them to turn away from fighting against the Lord, because they would not have victory.

13 But Jeroboam caused an ambushment to come about behind them: so they were before Judah, and the ambushment was behind them.
14 And when Judah looked back, behold, the battle was before and behind: and they cried unto the Lord, and the priests sounded with the trumpets.
15 Then the men of Judah gave a shout: and as the men of Judah shouted, it came to pass, that God smote Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.
16 And the children of Israel fled before Judah: and God delivered them into their hand.
17 And Abijah and his people slew them with a great slaughter: so there fell down slain of Israel five hundred thousand chosen men.
18 Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers.
19 And Abijah pursued after Jeroboam, and took cities from him, Beth-el with the towns thereof, and Jeshanah with the towns thereof, and Ephrain with the towns thereof.
20 Neither did Jeroboam recover strength again in the days of Abijah: and the Lord struck him, and he died.

Jeroboam did not listen to the words of Abijah. Instead, he encircled the people of Judah with his troops and a group he sent to ambush from behind. The men of Judah prayed to the Lord, and the priests played their trumpets. They shouted, and in that moment, God smote Jeroboam and his army. The men of Israel tried to flee and God delivered them into the hands of the men of Judah. 5,000 men of the army of Israel were slain. The men of Judah won this battle, because they relied on the Lord. Abijah continued his pursuit of Jeroboam, and took some of the cities and towns of Israel including Bethel (a sacred place to the children of Israel), Jeshanah, and Ephrain. Jeroboam was not able to go against Abijah again, but was struck by God and died.

21 But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives, and begat twenty and two sons, and sixteen daughters.
22 And the rest of the acts of Abijah, and his ways, and his sayings, are written in the story of the prophet Iddo.

Abijah became a mighty ruler. He had 14 wives, 22 sons, and 16 daughters. The prophet Iddo recorded the events of the reign of Abijah. It would seem that Abijah was a leader who trusted in the Lord and led his people to do the same. Judah was successful at this time, because of this quality in Abijah.

One lesson in this chapter, as with many others in the Old Testament, is that those who are God’s faithful people, can rely on God to fight their battles. Moreover, they should trust and rely on the Lord in those times. If men continue faithful to the Lord, keeping their covenants and the commandments, the Lord will protect them. This applies in battles of nations, but more importantly, in the battles of our everyday lives. It is important to remember that this does not always mean things will go the way we expect them to go, but that those things that truly are important will be protected and we will be guided in the choices we make.

2 Chronicles Chapter 11

The kingdom of Israel followed after Jeroboam, when Rehoboam refused to ease their burdens. Rehoboam had fled back to Jerusalem from the city of Shechem, where he had become the king of the nation. The children of Israel were divided at this point, between the two leaders, which was a fulfillment of prophecy. The story of the division continues as follows:

1 And when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he gathered of the house of Judah and Benjamin an hundred and fourscore thousand chosen men, which were warriors, to fight against Israel, that he might bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam.
2 But the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying,
3 Speak unto Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all Israel in Judah and Benjamin, saying,
4 Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren: return every man to his house: for this thing is done of me. And they obeyed the words of the Lord, and returned from going against Jeroboam.

Upon his arrival at Jerusalem, Rehoboam gathered the armies of Judah and Benjamin to fight against Israel and regain his kingdom. He had an army of 180,000 fighters. Shemaiah, a man of God, received a revelation from the Lord to go to King Rehoboam and tell him he was not to go against the rest of Israel in battle. The division of the kingdom was according to the will of the Lord and was to be let alone. Rehoboam and his men followed this command and returned to their homes. (see also 1 Kings 12)

It would not have made sense to lose men in any unnecessary fighting, because Israel would have become a weaker people with a civil war. As they destroyed one another, their enemies from without would have been able to conquer them. Rehoboam knew about the prophecy that told of the division between the ten tribes and the two he would be left to rule. He should have thought better of the choice he made as to how he would rule the nation, but lost the ten tribes through his decision to be a harsh ruler. At this point, he was left to live with the consequences promised by the Lord.

5 And Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defence in Judah.
6 He built even Beth-lehem, and Etam, and Tekoa,
7 And Beth-zur, and Shoco, and Adullam,
8 And Gath, and Mareshah, and Ziph,
9 And Adoraim, and Lachish, and Azekah,
10 And Zorah, and Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and in Benjamin fenced cities.
11 And he fortified the strong holds, and put captains in them, and store of victual, and of oil and wine.
12 And in every several city he put shields and spears, and made them exceeding strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side.

Instead of going after the right to rule the entire kingdom of Israel, Rehoboam turned his attention to strengthen Jerusalem. He built up many areas of defense and walled cities throughout the land of Benjamin and Judah. He fortified their strong holds, so that they would be exceedingly strong. The cities included some like Bethlehem, where the Savior would once day be born; Gath, the former Philistine city conquered by David; Lachish, which had been an Amorite city when the Israelites first came into the land; and Hebron, which was the city David had ruled from before Jerusalem. Rehoboam ruled over the people of the tribes and lands of Judah and Benjamin.

13 And the priests and the Levites that were in all Israel resorted to him out of all their coasts.
14 For the Levites left their suburbs and their possession, and came to Judah and Jerusalem: for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the Lord:
15 And he ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made.
16 And after them out of all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel came to Jerusalem, to sacrifice unto the Lord God of their fathers.
17 So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam the son of Solomon strong, three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon.

The Levites and priests of Israel, left their homes and belongings, and gathered to the land of Judah. They had taken sides with Rehoboam in Judah, because Jeroboam was no longer allowing them to perform their duties as priests of the Lord. These duties had mainly been to serve in the temple located in Jerusalem. Moreover, Jeroboam, who no longer had the temple in his midst, ordained his own priests for the places of worship in Israel. These false priests led the people of Israel into apostasy. Jeroboam made idols for his people to worship. However, those who desired to follow after God, left Israel and went to Jerusalem to worship and make sacrifices to the Lord. These people were a strength to Judah and Rehoboam for three years, while they followed after the ways of David and Solomon. (see 1 Kings 12 for more information)

18 And Rehoboam took him Mahalath the daughter of Jerimoth the son of David to wife, and Abihail the daughter of Eliab the son of Jesse;
19 Which bare him children; Jeush, and Shamariah, and Zaham.
20 And after her he took Maachah the daughter of Absalom; which bare him Abijah, and Attai, and Ziza, and Shelomith.
21 And Rehoboam loved Maachah the daughter of Absalom above all his wives and his concubines: (for he took eighteen wives, and threescore concubines; and begat twenty and eight sons, and threescore daughters.)
22 And Rehoboam made Abijah the son of Maachah the chief, to be ruler among his brethren: for he thought to make him king.
23 And he dealt wisely, and dispersed of all his children throughout all the countries of Judah and Benjamin, unto every fenced city: and he gave them victual in abundance. And he desired many wives.

Rehoboam began to marry several women, as his father had done, because he sought after many wives. He married Mahalath and Abihail, who had children named Jeush, Shamaria, and Zaham. Then, he married Maachah and they had children named Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Maachah was the daughter of Absalom, the son of David who had conspired against his father and died. She was his favorite wife out of the eighteen wives and 60 concubines he eventually had. Rehoboam had 28 sons and 60 daughters in total. His son Abijah was made the leader of the children, because Rehoboam intended on making him the future king. In wisdom, Rehoboam sent his sons to rule over all the strongholds of Benjamin and Judah. They were provided for in abundance for their service to their father and king.

Freedom to worship as they please, is so important to people of faith. Jeroboam was concerned to lose the support of his people in the lands of Israel, so he tried to stop them from going to Jerusalem to worship as they pleased. He also built idols to give his people something they could worship, since he was taking their access to the temple from them. He quickly led the people of the ten tribes away from God and their covenants with Him. Meanwhile, those who lived in the lands of Benjamin and Judah, continued to have the opportunity to worship the Lord in his temple and with the proper authority of the priesthood. They had access the ability to make the commanded sacrifices and keep their covenants regularly. This must have been such a blessing to them and surely it strengthened the land as well. Times such as those in this chapter, as well as in our current day with all that is going on in the world, cause a deepening of the faith for some or an opportunity for many to choose to follow after the world. Those of the ten tribes quickly turned to the practices of the nations that surrounded them, because of their situation. In our own day, we must decide if we will be like those who chose to leave the world and draw closer to God and our covenants with him, or if we will follow after the ways of the world and forsake the Lord.

2 Chronicles Chapter 3

Once Solomon had the materials to build the temple, the construction of it started. The temple was to be of the finest workmanship and materials, including the best wood from fir trees and pure gold. This chapter describes some of these details of the temple and begins as follows:

1 Then Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem in mount Moriah, where the Lord appeared unto David his father, in the place that David had prepared in the threshingfloor of Ornan the Jebusite.
2 And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.

The house of the Lord was laid in Mount Moriah, within Jerusalem, during the fourth year of the reign of Solomon. This was a sacred place, because it was the site where King David had been when he saw the Lord. At that time, an angel of the Lord had destroyed 70,000 men for what David had done in numbering Israel. The angel had been by this threshing floor. The prophet Gad, under the direction of an angel of the Lord, had told David to build an altar there in order to repent of his sin. So David purchased the land from Ornan (Araunah), built an altar, and offered sacrifice. The Lord accepted of his sacrifice by heavenly fire and the angel no longer destroyed the people. David had chosen that location to make sacrifices and was intending to build the temple there. (See also 1 Kings 6, 2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21)

3 Now these are the things wherein Solomon was instructed for the building of the house of God. The length by cubits after the first measure was threescore cubits, and the breadth twenty cubits.
4 And the porch that was in the front of the house, the length of it was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the height was an hundred and twenty: and he overlaid it within with pure gold.
5 And the greater house he ceiled with fir tree, which he overlaid with fine gold, and set thereon palm trees and chains.
6 And he garnished the house with precious stones for beauty: and the gold was gold of Parvaim.
7 He overlaid also the house, the beams, the posts, and the walls thereof, and the doors thereof, with gold; and graved cherubims on the walls.
8 And he made the most holy house, the length whereof was according to the breadth of the house, twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits: and he overlaid it with fine gold, amounting to six hundred talents.
9 And the weight of the nails was fifty shekels of gold. And he overlaid the upper chambers with gold.
10 And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.

Solomon had been given specific instructions as to the building of the temple. It was to be 60 cubits in length and 20 cubits in width. (A cubit was about 18 inches, or the length from elbow to fingertip.) The entrance at the front, was to be 20 cubits by 20 cubits, with the height at 120 cubits. Solomon had the walls inside it, overlaid with gold. The rest of the temple had wooden ceilings overlaid with gold and decorated with palm trees and chains. The temple was ornamented with precious stones. All of the beams, posts, walls, doors and such, were overlaid with gold. There were engravings on the walls of cherubims. The inner holy house was about 20 by 20 cubits. It was also covered in six hundred talents worth of gold. Even the nails used, were gold. The upper chambers were covered in gold as well. Inside it, were two gold covered cherubim statues.

11 And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long: one wing of the one cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherub.
12 And one wing of the other cherub was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house: and the other wing was five cubits also, joining to the wing of the other cherub.
13 The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits: and they stood on their feet, and their faces were inward.

The cherubim wings were each 5 cubits in length. One wing touched the wall of the temple, while the other touched the wing of the second cherub, which also had a wing reaching the opposing wall of the temple. The cherubim were standing with faces pointed inward.

14 And he made the veil of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
15 Also he made before the house two pillars of thirty and five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits.
16 And he made chains, as in the oracle, and put them on the heads of the pillars; and made an hundred pomegranates, and put them on the chains.
17 And he reared up the pillars before the temple, one on the right hand, and the other on the left; and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin, and the name of that on the left Boaz.

The fine linen veil of the temple was blue, purple, and red. It also had cherubims on it. Two pillars were placed at the entrance of the temple, which were 35 cubits tall. Each had a top piece, or capital, that was 5 cubits. They were decorated with chains ornamented with pomegranates. These pillars were both extremely large and beautifully decorated in their description. Each pillar was given a name, which had been done with other pillars detailed in the bible. The right was called Jachin and the left was called Boaz. In the Bible Dictionary entry for these pillars, it states the meanings of their names as “He will establish” and “In Him is strength.”

Earlier in the Bible, men of God had experiences with sacred things, and followed these up by raising a pillar of some type in remembrance of what had occurred in that place. For example, when Jacob dreamt of the ladder reaching to heaven, he awoke and placed stone pillar in the place, consecrated it with oil and named the place Beth-el (House of God). Again, when Jacob spoke with God and made covenants with him, receiving the name Israel, he built a stone pillar and poured oil on it, calling the place Beth-el. Later, when Moses and the host of Israel made covenants with the Lord to keep the commandments, he made twelve pillars for the twelve tribes. (see Genesis 28, Genesis 35, and Exodus 24) Pillars therefore, were created for other reasons than to bear the weight of a structure, or to mark an entrance. God had made his presence known in that place, when David had been king. It was a sacred place to Solomon and likely to the faithful in Israel. The pillars of Solomon’s temple, were possibly a visual reminder of the covenants made between God and the children of Israel. They were given names that pointed to God. By entering the gate of the temple, where these pillars stood, they were showing God they had faith in Him and in the promises of his protection and power in their lives if they worshipped Him there.

This temple must have been beautiful to behold and unlike anything else ever built by the children of Israel. Solomon was dedicated to making the house of the Lord a place of magnificence. The parts of the temple dedicated to the most sacred things, such as the inner sanctuary, were not going to be seen by the general public. They were not for men’s eyes to behold, but they were made glorious for the Lord. Solomon built this temple to truly be the house of the Lord in his day. As I read this chapter, I cannot help but reflect on the beauty of each temple raised today by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They are built with the finest craftsmanship and materials. They are magnificent to behold. The doors of the temple have the words “Holiness to the Lord” and “The House of the Lord”. They remind those who enter, that the temple is a place where we are made holy through making covenants with God. The temples are the houses of the Lord, for his purposes and for his Spirit to reside. When we enter the temples today, we show God that we, like the children of Israel, have faith in Him and the promises of his continued protection and power in our lives today.

1 Chronicles Chapter 29

The book of 1 Chronicles records the history of the people of God from the creation through the rule of King David. As the last chapter in this book, the words of David to his successor and his people are wrapped up. David had been a great leader for the children of Israel, even with his personal flaws and transgressions. He had fought the enemies of the land valiantly. As a result, the land of Israel had finally been made ready for a permanent house of the Lord, which Solomon was to build during his reign. This final chapter begins with the following:

1 Furthermore David the king said unto all the congregation, Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for the Lord God.
2 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.
3 Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,
4 Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal:
5 The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord?

David, speaking to all the Israelites, said that the work given to Solomon was a huge task for a leader who was still young. The Lord has often called those who are young, to perform great tasks for Him. David himself, who had fought Goliath in his youth, had been chosen by God at a young age to become the king of Israel. In youth, people are more humble and teachable, and less hardened by life experiences. In humility, the Lord can bless the weak to become strong, because they rely on Him and have greater faith and trust in the Lord.

David, in his own sincere desire to have the house of the Lord built, had done all that he could to prepare for it. Since he could not build it himself, he had saved all the treasures and supplies, that he could. He had a good amount of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stones, which he had gathered. He had even given a great deal of his own treasures, and dedicated them to the house of the Lord. The Lord had given instruction regarding specific materials to use for specific purposes in the construction of the temple as well as the design of all the tools and vessels. David told the people that the the things he had gathered were for their specific items within the temple, to be crafted by skilled workers. He then called for all who were willing, to consecrate their service to this great work.

6 Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel, and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,
7 And gave for the service of the house of God of gold five thousand talents and ten thousand drams, and of silver ten thousand talents, and of brass eighteen thousand talents, and one hundred thousand talents of iron.
8 And they with whom precious stones were found gave them to the treasure of the house of the Lord, by the hand of Jehiel the Gershonite.
9 Then the people rejoiced, for that they offered willingly, because with perfect heart they offered willingly to the Lord: and David the king also rejoiced with great joy.

The leaders of the tribes of Israel gave willingly to the construction of the temple. They gathered gold, silver, brass, iron, and precious stones. Jehiel, the Gershonite (possibly mentioned in 1 Chronicles 23:8 as leader of the sons of Laadan, who were Levites who served at the temple, though there were others by this name listed), worked to gather and give these treasures to house of the Lord.

The Israelites rejoiced because they willingly gave this offering to the Lord. David rejoiced also for their offerings to the Lord. God does not need men to give him their treasures in order to be able to have a House built to his name, because he could provide a way for these things to be handled without them. However, this is a sacrifice and a consecration of means and time, which God asks of men in order to show commitment to Him. This sacrifice of the Israelites, was much like the tithing that God asks of His people today. All things are His and when we contribute willingly to the building up of His kingdom on Earth, we show that we recognize that we are willing to do our part for Him. This commitment is worthy of rejoicing and having a grateful heart, as it was to the Israelites.

10 Wherefore David blessed the Lord before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.
11 Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
12 Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
13 Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
14 But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.
15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
16 O Lord our God, all this store that we have prepared to build thee an house for thine holy name cometh of thine hand, and is all thine own.
17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.
18 O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee:
19 And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments, thy testimonies, and thy statutes, and to do all these things, and to build the palace, for the which I have made provision.

David publicly praised the Lord as he dedicated all that had been offered to the Lord. He acknowledged that all things belonged to God, both in heaven and in the earth, and that all things were and are part of the Lord’s kingdom. He also recognized that God rules over all, just as the Savior did in what is known as the Lord’s prayer. Matthew 6:9-10 and 13 record he Savior’s words, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. …For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” These thoughts of both David and Jesus the Christ, are absolute truths related to God, the Father. They are eternal truths that should continue to be recognized today. People today can and should acknowledge God publicly and privately for His divine majesty.

Continuing, David acknowledged the power and might of God, and that God gives to men the ability to be great and strong. David thanked and praised God, adding that they were only able to give so freely of things because they belonged to the Lord and He made it possible. Again, this is an absolute truth and can and should be recognized by people today. All things, both in the earth and made by man, come of God. He has created all of it and it all belongs to Him. We are only here on earth, for a short time, with the permission granted to us to use all that He has created. When we give to the Lord in ways such as tithes and offerings, as the Israelites did, we are returning to the Lord what He has made possible for us to use. In this, we should be continually grateful, as David was.

David humbly recognized that the children of Israel were strangers and travelers as their ancestors had been. This idea again applies to all men. We are all strangers to this life. We were spiritually created first, and lived in Heaven with God. We spend our time in this earthly life, as strangers, needing the prevailing guidance of our Father. That time is ever-changing, short and never standing still, as a shadow changes each moment with the movement of the sun.

As he went on, David spoke of the ways of God to test the hearts of his people, and of His pleasure in finding uprightness in them. David had willingly given his offering out of his own uprightness of heart, or honesty and goodness, and he found joy in seeing the people give willingly as well. He prayed to the Lord, that the people would remember this and prepare their hearts for the Lord. Moreover, he prayed that the Lord would bless his son, Solomon, with a perfect heart. That Solomon would keep the commandments and statutes of God, and do all in his power to build the temple for which David had prepared greatly.

20 And David said to all the congregation, Now bless the Lord your God. And all the congregation blessed the Lord God of their fathers, and bowed down their heads, and worshipped the Lord, and the king.
21 And they sacrificed sacrifices unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings unto the Lord, on the morrow after that day, even a thousand bullocks, a thousand rams, and a thousand lambs, with their drink offerings, and sacrifices in abundance for all Israel:
22 And did eat and drink before the Lord on that day with great gladness. And they made Solomon the son of David king the second time, and anointed him unto the Lord to be the chief governor, and Zadok to be priest.
23 Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king instead of David his father, and prospered; and all Israel obeyed him.
24 And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, submitted themselves unto Solomon the king.
25 And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

The gathered people were told to worship the Lord, which they did through prayer, sacrifices, and burnt offerings. Their worship continued as they feasted with great gladness. Solomon was anointed king by the people, with Zadok as the priest. Solomon took the throne and prospered. Israel became subject to him, including all the leaders who had served under David. Solomon was truly blessed by the Lord, in ways that had not been known to the Israelites before this time.

26 Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel.
27 And the time that he reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.
28 And he died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour: and Solomon his son reigned in his stead.
29 Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,
30 With all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him, and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.

David had been king in Hebron for 7 years and in Jerusalem for 33 years, making his total reign in Israel, 40 years. He died at a good age for his day, which was about 70 (his rule began when he was 30, according to 2 Samuel 5:4), having been blessed with wealth and honor. There are other accounts of David’s reign, which are not all had in the Bible and are lost writings, but his reign was great and established much for the nation of Israel.

David was a good example to the people of his time, as well as to all the world since that time, to praise God with gratitude. He had been a memorable leader for Israel, serving them and remembering God. He had his shortcomings and was not a perfect man, but he recognized this in himself and ended his days looking to God. As the successful king he was, he could have chosen to withhold his gratitude as many others do. However, David knew from his youth, that his successes and greatness came from the hand of the Lord. As we go through our lives today, it is important for us to remember this as well. We owe so much to God for all He does for us, and we will be blessed and become more, if we humbly look to God with a grateful heart and openly praise Him.

1 Chronicles Chapter 28

The book of 1 Chronicles continues in its record of the rule of King David. A fair amount of this information has been already recorded in the books of Kings (1 Samuel to 2 Kings). This chapter can be compared to 2 Samuel 7 and 1 Kings 2. It begins:

1 And David assembled all the princes of Israel, the princes of the tribes, and the captains of the companies that ministered to the king by course, and the captains over the thousands, and captains over the hundreds, and the stewards over all the substance and possession of the king, and of his sons, with the officers, and with the mighty men, and with all the valiant men, unto Jerusalem.
2 Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building:
3 But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.
4 Howbeit the Lord God of Israel chose me before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be the ruler; and of the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make me king over all Israel:
5 And of all my sons, (for the Lord hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel.
6 And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
7 Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.
8 Now therefore in the sight of all Israel the congregation of the Lord, and in the audience of our God, keep and seek for all the commandments of the Lord your God: that ye may possess this good land, and leave it for an inheritance for your children after you for ever.

David gathered the leaders of Israel, including the princes, captains of his men as well as the armies, stewards, his sons, and his mighty men (named in the previous chapters). They were called to Jerusalem where David told them that he had desired to build a house of the Lord, where they could place the ark of the covenant of the Lord. But when he asked the Lord, God told him he was not to build it because his duty had been as a man of war. David had been chosen and raised by the Lord to be a man of war. He battled Goliath as a boy and as he grew he was led to fight for Israel by the hand of God. The fact that he was a man of war was not a bad thing, but it had been his calling by God and raising the temple was not. Each person has an opportunity to accept the calling that God has for them and these callings are all different. For some, it is to lead, while for others it is to follow. For some, it is to become parents during this life, while for others it is to go without children for now and to be a light to children in other ways. We can learn what that calling is for us, by aligning ourselves with God and His will, through following the commandments he gives to us.

David continues to tell them that he had been chosen by the Lord, out of all of his brothers, to be king. Likewise, out of all of his many sons, the Lord had chosen Solomon to be the next king. The Lord told David that Solomon would be he one to build the temple of the Lord. He would bless Solomon, that his kingdom would be established forever, if he would remain faithful to God’s commandments. The Lord instructed Solomon and Israel, to keep and seek the commandments so that the land would remain their land from that time on, forever. This promise made to Solomon and the men gathered there, to have the inheritance of the land for keeping the commandments of God continually, is much like the promise to the family of Lehi found in 1 Nephi 2:20. It reads, “And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.” The blessing of prosperity in the land of promise continues today for those who remain faithful.

9 And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.
10 Take heed now; for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.

Solomon, who knew the things of God, was instructed to serve him with all his heart and with a willing mind. Because God knows the hearts of men, and understands all thoughts, He is there for those who seek him. If instead, He is forsaken, He casts men off forever. Solomon was counseled to be careful, because he had been chosen to build the temple and he needed to have the strength needed to do it. This task was one of a very sacred responsibility, which required God’s continued guidance at every step if it was to be accepted by Him for his holy purposes.

11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
13 Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the Lord.
14 He gave of gold by weight for things of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; silver also for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
15 Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
16 And by weight he gave gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and likewise silver for the tables of silver:
17 Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basins he gave gold by weight for every basin; and likewise silver by weight for every basin of silver:
18 And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out their wings, and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord.
19 All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.
20 And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the Lord God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
21 And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment.

Then, David instructed Solomon in the construction for the temple. He told him what the pattern of the temple was to be according to the spirit, or according to what he had been told by the spirit. He also instructed him in the work of the priests and Levites and their service in the temple. He told him of the use of all the vessels or instruments and how all these things were to be created by their weight in gold and silver. Additionally, he taught him how the tables and altars were to be made by weight in gold and silver. And instructions were given on the seat for the ark of the covenant, with its cherubim. These instructions were as those given by God to Moses when the tabernacle was first made. David told Solomon that he had come to know these things by the hand of the Lord. As the king, David had access to the records of Moses, which gave instruction as to the making of all things for the tabernacle. With the Lord’s spirit for understanding, all these things were made known to him and he could counsel Solomon in them as well.

David also gave Solomon counsel to be strong and courage. Solomon was instructed to fear not, because the Lord would be with him and God would not fail or forsake him. With the help of the Lord, Solomon could finish this sacred charge that he had been given with the temple. David left him with somewhat of a blessing, that all the help he would need from priests, Levites, skilled workmen, leaders of the tribes, and the host of Israel, would be given to him at his command.

The building of this temple, must have been somewhat of an overwhelming charge given to Solomon, let alone being called by God to be the next king of Israel. However, the Lord had all the plans laid out for him, as they had been laid for Moses and the children of Israel many years before this. Having direction from the Lord and the promise of his help to accomplish the task, must have been a great comfort for Solomon. David’s words of counsel to his son, remind me of the words of Nephi found in 1 Nephi 3:7, which reads, “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” There is absolute truth in this verse, that can be a source of comfort and strength to the faithful. The Lord will not give any person a commandment, that He is not willing to help them accomplish. We simply need to have the faith to rely on Him. It is His work and He wants it to be done because that is how we will all be able to return to Him. David knew this because his life experiences had taught him this was true. Like David, we can learn to rely on the Lord, as we are faithful to the commandments he gives us, and we will be greatly blessed as we do.


About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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