Dr. Mark Scott wrote this treatment of the International Sunday School Lesson. Scott teaches preaching and New Testament at Ozark Christian College, Joplin, Missouri. This lesson treatment is published in issue no. 9–12 (March 4–25, 2018) of The Lookout magazine, and is also available online at www.lookoutmag.com.
By Mark Scott
This lesson could be brought to you by the letter “P.” The text is a “prayer.” Solomon prayed it on a “platform.” He assumed a certain “posture.” He prayed it at a certain “place” (temple). He acknowledged God’s “promise.” He admitted that it would be “preposterous” to think that God could be contained in a building. He “pled” for God to hear him so that the people could be “pardoned.” Well, enough already.
Our text is the beginning of an architectural climax that began in 1 Chronicles 28. King David had done everything he was allowed to do to prepare for the building of the temple. He had supplied money and resources for Solomon to finish the job. David had his own dedicatory prayer of sorts in 1 Chronicles 29 and then passed away. Solomon established his reign (2 Chronicles 1, 2) and built the temple (2 Chronicles 3, 4). The ark of the covenant was brought to the temple (2 Chronicles 5). All that remained for the dedication of God’s house was the king’s prayer and the people’s sacrifices (2 Chronicles 6, 7). What Solomon acknowledged in this prayer was that “there is no one like God.” That phrase occurs at least 22 times in the Old Testament. There might be many so- called gods and lords, but for us there is just one (1 Corinthians 8:5, 6), and no one is like him.
There Is No One Like God So We Bow | 2 Chronicles 6:12-13
The only rational response to the Creator and Redeemer of the universe is reverence (Psalm 95:6). Solomon knew that, so he assumed the proper humble posture before God. Just to the east of the newly constructed Holy of Holies and Holy Place in the outer courtyard stood the altar of burnt offering. Solomon stood in front of it on a specially built platform (see Nehemiah 8:4) so that the people could see him.
Many postures indicate reverence (the bent knee, the bowed head, the closed eye, the raised hand, and the uplifted voice). But two postures indicated Solomon’s reverence for God. He knelt on the platform and spread out his hands in prayer (see 1 Timothy 2:8). These spiritual postures are not for show (Matthew 6:1) but for transparency and dependency.
There Is No One Like God So We Acknowledge His Promises | 2 Chronicles 6:14-17
Solomon affirmed that the God of Israel kept his covenant of love (the Hebrew chesed means mercy) and kept (preserved; watched) his promise to King David (2 Samuel 7:12-17). False gods and idols cannot keep anything since they neither hear nor speak (Isaiah 44:9-20). But Solomon anthropomorphically acknowledged that the God of Israel had a mouth that promised, a hand that delivered, and eyes that saw (2 Chronicles 6:15, 20).
Solomon was aware of God’s good track record of promise keeping so he requested that God continue to fulfill his promises, specifically to him as King David’s successor. In essence Solomon was saying, “God, make good on what you promised my father.” In fact, Solomon requested this twice in two verses (vv. 16, 17).
There Is No One Like God So We Acknowledge His Vastness | 2 Chronicles 6:18-21
Solomon’s temple was impressive (2 Chronicles 3, 4). The temple mount was about 40 acres, and the original Holy Place and Holy of Holies was twice as tall and twice as long as the famous Dome of the Rock that currently sets there. Even the second temple, though not as beautiful as Solomon’s (Ezra 3:12), was spectacular (Matthew 24:1; John 2:20).
Can God dwell on earth with humans? Well, yes, some day (John 1:14). Solomon admitted that what he had built for God was insignificant compared to God himself. “The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain (hold or sustain) you.” Matt Proctor has said, “God can play kickball with our planet.” We get impressed with great structures on earth (Genesis 11:4). God still has to “come down” to what serves as his footstool (vv. 5, 7; Acts 7:49).
Solomon pled for God’s undivided attention that would be evident in hearing Solomon’s prayers and his cries for mercy and forgiveness (pardon). God had attached his Name to the temple so he would dwell there. But his real dwelling was in heaven.
Solomon’s prayer was filled with God. But there are two applications in the text. First, people who pray this prayer must continue wholeheartedly in God’s way. Second, people who pray this prayer must be careful . . . to walk before God according to his law. Our obedience to God shows that we believe that there is no one like him.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Lesson study ©2018, Christian Standard Media. Print and digital subscribers are permitted to make one print copy per week of lesson material for personal use. Lesson based on International Sunday School Lesson, ©2013, by the Lesson Committee. Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, ©2011, unless otherwise indicated.
|HOME DAILY BIBLE READINGS|
|March 5: Psalm 132:8-12|
|March 6: Psalm 132:13-18|
|March 7: Acts 2:29-36|
|March 8: 2 Chronicles 6:1-11|
|March 9: 2 Chronicles 6:28-33|
|March 10: 2 Chronicles 6:36-40|
|March 11: 2 Chronicles 6:12-21|