If and Then

2 Chronicles 5-7

2-chron-7-14

Friday, November 25

Sitting by my nephew tonight during our Thanksgiving meal I witnessed a typical ‘If and Then’ moment. “If you finish your turkey, then you can have dessert.” It’s a generally easy concept to understand and often times harder to live. Do you recall “If you eat of the tree, then you will surely die?”

These chapters in Chronicles hold many if and then scenarios. The Temple is built and praise is lavished upon God and Solomon alike. God offers that if the people who are called by his name keep their covenants then he will bless them. If the people reject him and break covenant with Him, then he will turn away from blessing them.

In the beginning God walked with His son. His creation. His love. God was not interested in Kings and Temples. What He desired was a one on one relationship with individuals. God relented and gave Israel a King. God allowed the Temple to be built, but it was not His plan, but David’s.

In Chapter 6:20 Solomon instructs the people to pray toward the Temple. God is being put into a box where He can be contained in the mind of Solomon and as a result the people of Israel. Solomon was creating a divide between men and his creator. God always lets us know He is longing for intimate contact and consistently seeks ways to bring us back into a relationship that centers on looking toward Him.

Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication over the temple is worth the read. There is more ‘if’ and ‘then’ bargaining going on. Most end with if (when) you sin, then turn again to God and repent. He wasn’t referring to a turning toward the Temple where he surmised God would dwell, but turn toward God’s goodness and mercy and see His rightness against any sin or ‘wrongness’.

God specifically told David He did not need or want a house built, that His preference was to walk with the people as they traveled about. God inhabited the praises of His people as they worshiped at the Temple, but the Temple was more about Israel’s need to have a place to point toward than a place where God wanted to dwell. God replies to Solomon’s prayer of dedication over the Temple with a response of His own. After many ‘if’ statements regarding specific behaviors and consequences God ends with a popular verse all of us have heard.

II Chronicles 7:14~ If My people who 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.”

The if and then list that finishes out the chapter describes in detail the consequences of following after other gods and building idols for them to dwell among them. God wants to walk with us daily, just as He did in the beginning of time with Adam and Eve. Anything that prevents taking that daily walk or trying to box God into a safe space to visit occasionally is simply an idol and false worship.

‘If’ and ‘then’ is still at work in our lives today. If you call upon His name, then He will hear and begin the healing that needs to take place. God is still looking for a place to live. Make room in your life today.

-Glennis Walters

 

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