By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: 2 Chronicles 6-10
Key Scripture Verses: 2 Chronicles 7:1 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
As you will recall, David’s son Solomon became king and built a temple to glorify God. Just before this burnt offering scene, Solomon had prayed a long prayer to God in dedication of the temple and requested that God not only be attentive to the prayers of the Israelites, but to also have mercy on them when they failed Him. Solomon’s great faith and his reverence for God are clear in this extensive, faithful prayer.
Solomon has stood out before all of the people and gotten down on his knees before them for this prayer to God which was extremely rare for a king to do (commentary, NIV), and he acknowledged God as his superior and the ultimate, supreme authority.
Our scripture verse is God’s response to this prayer, to the burnt offerings put before him—God received them and filled the temple with his presence. The NIV Bible commentary says “this was the real dedication of the temple because only God’s purifying power can make something holy.”
Throughout the New Testament Jesus and his disciples talk about the body as being a temple of God (2 Corinthians 6:16). When the Holy Spirit dwells within us and fills our bodies with his Holy Spirit, it is much like this temple of Solomon’s filled with God’s presence.
That presence in our lives has purifying power. God is our comforter, our healer, the one who can purify, sanctify, and make righteous. He can make right what is wrong. Only he can truly forgive.
Today we don’t need God to consume a burnt offering with flame and smoke—in fact, we no longer need to offer burnt sacrifices at all, because the last sacrifice was enough to cover all of our sins—the sacrifice of Jesus himself on the cross.
Our accepting the grace of forgiveness that the cross represents and the filling of our bodies of the Holy Spirit as a temple to the Lord is all that is necessary.
If God was willing to fill a holy space such as Solomon’s Temple with his presence, surely we can believe that he can dwell within us.
When we let God in, he can do miraculous things with us and through us. He wants to do that. Are we willing to invite him—are we willing to dedicate our temple to the Lord?