A contrast at the temple dedication

Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10, Romans 7:14-8:8, Psalm 18:1-15, Proverbs 19:24-25

2 Chronicles 6-7 is a record of the Solomon’s dedication of the temple. It was a great celebration for at least 8 days and may have lasted two weeks. In these chapters, we see a contrast that is plain and clear. In 2 Chronicles 6:14, Solomon started his prayer of dedication with a statement about the relationship between God and His people – a covenant based on God’s unfailing love that required His people to follow in wholehearted devotion.

14 He prayed, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in all of heaven and earth. You keep your covenant and show unfailing love to all who walk before you in wholehearted devotion.

In 2 Chronicles 7, God responded to Solomon with positive and negative promises. The positive promises would follow if Solomon followed God wholeheartedly (to quote Solomon’s own prayer):

17 “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 18 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’

However, if they chose another path that we have seen before (Three steps in the wrong direction) that involved three steps: abandon God, disobey His commands, worship other gods, then they would suffer grave consequences, which eventually came to pass.

 19 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 20 then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make it an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations.

God revealed Himself to Israel and to King Solomon very clearly. They understood the consequences of following God or abandoning Him and they made a dreadful choice repeatedly.

How can I make right choices each day? Paul talks about this in Romans 7, where he is perplexed by his own tendency to sin.

Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

In Romans 8, Paul admonishes us to live a life in the Holy Spirit.

Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

We are encouraged to walk away from our sinful nature and to let the Holy Spirit control our minds, so that we think about things that please Him. Is this possible? I seek to be controlled by the Holy Spirit, yet I am so easily drawn to sin and selfishness. I think it is time to invite the Holy Spirit to control me and to wait to see what happens. I’ll report back tomorrow on this.