Saturday, October 22, 2016

Is it I? -- part 1

The Word for today:
2 Chronicles 7, 8
Note: Beginning today and concluding tomorrow, Stand in the Rain will be ranging from one end of your Bible to the other. Beginning in Eden, we will travel through the chambers of Solomon's Temple, through the Upper Room, through the early church, and into the church today. Finally, we will enter the chambers of our own hearts to examine what is there.
The temple was dedicated with a majestic ceremony.  Immediately, God pronounced it good:
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. (2 Chronicles 7:1)
And for a time Solomon walked in fellowship with God. You can read all about it in his masterpiece, the luminescent Song of Solomon.
But a shadow stretched over the ceremony -- and a warning is heard:
But if you turn aside and forsake my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you. (1)
Embedded within the warning was this prophecy:
And this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. (1)
Because the day was coming when Solomon would cease to walk in wholehearted fellowship with God. You will sense the developing distance between them when you read Solomon's despairing book of Ecclesiastes.
The day was coming when Solomon, who led the dedication ceremony, would lead a parade of idols into the temple precincts.
We've seen this pattern before. God made Eden and immediately pronounced it good. There, for a while, man walked in fellowship with his maker.
But then a rustling and a hissing is heard:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say…?" (Genesis 3:1)
That seed of doubt set a distance between the man and the LORD God. Then doubt's distance grew to become sin's separation...
(to be concluded in this space tomorrow)
(1) see 2 Chronicles 7:17-20

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