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15 October - 2 Chronicles 5; 6; Ezekiel 41; John 7


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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:06 AM

First Portion

2 Chronicles 5; 6


5:1 Thus all the work that Solomon did for the house of Yahweh was finished. Solomon brought in the things that David his father had dedicated, even the silver, and the gold, and all the vessels, and put them in the treasuries of the house of God. 5:2 Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers’ households of the children of Israel, to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion. 5:3 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves to the king at the feast, which was in the seventh month. 5:4 All the elders of Israel came: and the Levites took up the ark; 5:5 and they brought up the ark, and the Tent of Meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the Tent; these the priests the Levites brought up. 5:6 King Solomon and all the congregation of Israel, that were assembled to him, were before the ark, sacrificing sheep and cattle, that could not be counted nor numbered for multitude. 5:7 The priests brought in the ark of the covenant of Yahweh to its place, into the oracle of the house, to the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim. 5:8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and its poles above. 5:9 The poles were so long that the ends of the poles were seen from the ark before the oracle; but they were not seen outside: and there it is to this day. 5:10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tables which Moses put at Horeb, when Yahweh made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. 5:11 It happened, when the priests had come out of the holy place, (for all the priests who were present had sanctified themselves, and didn’t keep their divisions; 5:12 also the Levites who were the singers, all of them, even Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, and their sons and their brothers, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals and stringed instruments and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them one hundred twenty priests sounding with trumpets;) 5:13 it happened, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking Yahweh; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised Yahweh, saying,

“For he is good;
for his loving kindness endures forever!”

that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of Yahweh, 5:14 so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of Yahweh filled the house of God.

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:07 AM

6:1 Then Solomon said, “Yahweh has said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. 6:2 But I have built you a house of habitation, and a place for you to dwell in forever.”

6:3 The king turned his face, and blessed all the assembly of Israel: and all the assembly of Israel stood. 6:4 He said, “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of Israel, who spoke with his mouth to David my father, and has with his hands fulfilled it, saying, 6:5 ‘Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt, I chose no city out of all the tribes of Israel to build a house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be prince over my people Israel: 6:6 but I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.’ 6:7 Now it was in the heart of David my father to build a house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. 6:8 But Yahweh said to David my father, ‘Whereas it was in your heart to build a house for my name, you did well that it was in your heart: 6:9 nevertheless you shall not build the house; but your son who shall come forth out of your body, he shall build the house for my name.’

6:10 “Yahweh has performed his word that he spoke; for I have risen up in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as Yahweh promised, and have built the house for the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel. 6:11 There I have set the ark, in which is the covenant of Yahweh, which he made with the children of Israel.”

6:12 He stood before the altar of Yahweh in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands 6:13 (for Solomon had made a bronze scaffold, five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court; and on it he stood, and kneeled down on his knees before all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven;) 6:14 and he said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven, or on earth; you who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart; 6:15 who have kept with your servant David my father that which you promised him: yes, you spoke with your mouth, and have fulfilled it with your hand, as it is this day.

6:16 “Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, keep with your servant David my father that which you have promised him, saying, ‘There shall not fail you a man in my sight to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your children take heed to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.’ 6:17 Now therefore, Yahweh, the God of Israel, let your word be verified, which you spoke to your servant David.

6:18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens can’t contain you; how much less this house which I have built! 6:19 Yet have respect for the prayer of your servant, and to his supplication, Yahweh my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which your servant prays before you; 6:20 that your eyes may be open toward this house day and night, even toward the place where you have said that you would put your name; to listen to the prayer which your servant shall pray toward this place. 6:21 Listen to the petitions of your servant, and of your people Israel, when they shall pray toward this place: yes, hear from your dwelling place, even from heaven; and when you hear, forgive.

6:22 “If a man sin against his neighbor, and an oath is laid on him to cause him to swear, and he comes and swears before your altar in this house; 6:23 then hear from heaven, and do, and judge your servants, bringing retribution to the wicked, to bring his way on his own head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.

6:24 “If your people Israel be struck down before the enemy, because they have sinned against you, and shall turn again and confess your name, and pray and make supplication before you in this house; 6:25 then hear from heaven, and forgive the sin of your people Israel, and bring them again to the land which you gave to them and to their fathers.

6:26 “When the sky is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against you; if they pray toward this place, and confess your name, and turn from their sin, when you afflict them: 6:27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of your servants, and of your people Israel, when you teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on your land, which you have given to your people for an inheritance.

6:28 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 6:29 whatever prayer and supplication be made by any man, or by all your people Israel, who shall know every man his own plague and his own sorrow, and shall spread forth his hands toward this house: 6:30 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place and forgive, and render to every man according to all his ways, whose heart you know; (for you, even you only, know the hearts of the children of men;) 6:31 that they may fear you, to walk in your ways, so long as they live in the land which you gave to our fathers.

6:32 “Moreover concerning the foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, when he shall come from a far country for your great name’s sake, and your mighty hand, and your outstretched arm; when they shall come and pray toward this house: 6:33 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you for; that all the peoples of the earth may know your name, and fear you, as does your people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by your name.

6:34 “If your people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way you shall send them, and they pray to you toward this city which you have chosen, and the house which I have built for your name; 6:35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.

6:36 “If they sin against you (for there is no man who doesn’t sin), and you are angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captive to a land far off or near; 6:37 yet if they shall repent themselves in the land where they are carried captive, and turn again, and make supplication to you in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have done perversely, and have dealt wickedly;’ 6:38 if they return to you with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have carried them captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, and the city which you have chosen, and toward the house which I have built for your name: 6:39 then hear from heaven, even from your dwelling place, their prayer and their petitions, and maintain their cause, and forgive your people who have sinned against you.

6:40 “Now, my God, let, I beg you, your eyes be open, and let your ears be attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place.

6:41 “Now therefore arise, Yahweh God, into your resting place, you, and the ark of your strength: let your priests, Yahweh God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in goodness.

6:42 “Yahweh God, don’t turn away the face of your anointed. Remember your loving kindnesses to David your servant.”

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:08 AM

Second Portion

Ezekiel 41


41:1 He brought me to the temple, and measured the posts, six cubits broad on the one side, and six cubits broad on the other side, which was the breadth of the tent. 41:2 The breadth of the entrance was ten cubits; and the sides of the entrance were five cubits on the one side, and five cubits on the other side: and he measured its length, forty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits. 41:3 Then went he inward, and measured each post of the entrance, two cubits; and the entrance, six cubits; and the breadth of the entrance, seven cubits. 41:4 He measured its length, twenty cubits, and the breadth, twenty cubits, before the temple: and he said to me, This is the most holy place. 41:5 Then he measured the wall of the house, six cubits; and the breadth of every side room, four cubits, all around the house on every side. 41:6 The side rooms were in three stories, one over another, and thirty in order; and they entered into the wall which belonged to the house for the side rooms all around, that they might have hold therein, and not have hold in the wall of the house. 41:7 The side rooms were broader as they encompassed the house higher and higher; for the encompassing of the house went higher and higher around the house: therefore the breadth of the house continued upward; and so one went up from the lowest room to the highest by the middle room. 41:8 I saw also that the house had a raised base all around: the foundations of the side rooms were a full reed of six great cubits. 41:9 The thickness of the wall, which was for the side rooms, on the outside, was five cubits: and that which was left was the place of the side rooms that belonged to the house. 41:10 Between the rooms was a breadth of twenty cubits around the house on every side. 41:11 The doors of the side rooms were toward the place that was left, one door toward the north, and another door toward the south: and the breadth of the place that was left was five cubits all around. 41:12 The building that was before the separate place at the side toward the west was seventy cubits broad; and the wall of the building was five cubits thick all around, and its length ninety cubits. 41:13 So he measured the house, one hundred cubits long; and the separate place, and the building, with its walls, one hundred cubits long; 41:14 also the breadth of the face of the house, and of the separate place toward the east, one hundred cubits. 41:15 He measured the length of the building before the separate place which was at its back, and its galleries on the one side and on the other side, one hundred cubits; and the inner temple, and the porches of the court; 41:16 the thresholds, and the closed windows, and the galleries around on their three stories, over against the threshold, with wood ceilings all around, and from the ground up to the windows, (now the windows were covered), 41:17 to the space above the door, even to the inner house, and outside, and by all the wall all around inside and outside, by measure. 41:18 It was made with cherubim and palm trees; and a palm tree was between cherub and cherub, and every cherub had two faces; 41:19 so that there was the face of a man toward the palm tree on the one side, and the face of a young lion toward the palm tree on the other side. thus was it made through all the house all around: 41:20 from the ground to above the door were cherubim and palm trees made: thus was the wall of the temple. 41:21 As for the temple, the door posts were squared; and as for the face of the sanctuary, the appearance of it was as the appearance of the temple. 41:22 The altar was of wood, three cubits high, and its length two cubits; and its corners, and its length, and its walls, were of wood: and he said to me, This is the table that is before Yahweh. 41:23 The temple and the sanctuary had two doors. 41:24 The doors had two leaves apiece, two turning leaves: two leaves for the one door, and two leaves for the other. 41:25 There were made on them, on the doors of the temple, cherubim and palm trees, like as were made on the walls; and there was a threshold of wood on the face of the porch outside. 41:26 There were closed windows and palm trees on the one side and on the other side, on the sides of the porch: thus were the side rooms of the house, and the thresholds.

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 11:10 AM

Third Portion

John 7


7:1 After these things, Jesus was walking in Galilee, for he wouldn’t walk in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 7:2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was at hand. 7:3 His brothers therefore said to him, “Depart from here, and go into Judea, that your disciples also may see your works which you do. 7:4 For no one does anything in secret, and himself seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, reveal yourself to the world.” 7:5 For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.

7:6 Jesus therefore said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. 7:7 The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil. 7:8 You go up to the feast. I am not yet going up to this feast, because my time is not yet fulfilled.”

7:9 Having said these things to them, he stayed in Galilee. 7:10 But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. 7:11 The Jews therefore sought him at the feast, and said, “Where is he?” 7:12 There was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others said, “Not so, but he leads the multitude astray.” 7:13 Yet no one spoke openly of him for fear of the Jews. 7:14 But when it was now the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and taught. 7:15 The Jews therefore marveled, saying, “How does this man know letters, having never been educated?”

7:16 Jesus therefore answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 7:17 If anyone desires to do his will, he will know about the teaching, whether it is from God, or if I am speaking from myself. 7:18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. 7:19 Didn’t Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keeps the law? Why do you seek to kill me?”

7:20 The multitude answered, “You have a demon! Who seeks to kill you?”

7:21 Jesus answered them, “I did one work, and you all marvel because of it. 7:22 Moses has given you circumcision (not that it is of Moses, but of the fathers), and on the Sabbath you circumcise a boy. 7:23 If a boy receives circumcision on the Sabbath, that the law of Moses may not be broken, are you angry with me, because I made a man completely healthy on the Sabbath? 7:24 Don’t judge according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

7:25 Therefore some of them of Jerusalem said, “Isn’t this he whom they seek to kill? 7:26 Behold, he speaks openly, and they say nothing to him. Can it be that the rulers indeed know that this is truly the Christ? 7:27 However we know where this man comes from, but when the Christ comes, no one will know where he comes from.”

7:28 Jesus therefore cried out in the temple, teaching and saying, “You both know me, and know where I am from. I have not come of myself, but he who sent me is true, whom you don’t know. 7:29 I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”

7:30 They sought therefore to take him; but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come. 7:31 But of the multitude, many believed in him. They said, “When the Christ comes, he won’t do more signs than those which this man has done, will he?” 7:32 The Pharisees heard the multitude murmuring these things concerning him, and the chief priests and the Pharisees sent officers to arrest him.

7:33 Then Jesus said, “I will be with you a little while longer, then I go to him who sent me. 7:34 You will seek me, and won’t find me; and where I am, you can’t come.”

7:35 The Jews therefore said among themselves, “Where will this man go that we won’t find him? Will he go to the Dispersion among the Greeks, and teach the Greeks? 7:36 What is this word that he said, ‘You will seek me, and won’t find me; and where I am, you can’t come’?”

7:37 Now on the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! 7:38 He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, from within him will flow rivers of living water.” 7:39 But he said this about the Spirit, which those believing in him were to receive. For the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus wasn’t yet glorified.

7:40 Many of the multitude therefore, when they heard these words, said, “This is truly the prophet.” 7:41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “What, does the Christ come out of Galilee? 7:42 Hasn’t the Scripture said that the Christ comes of the seed of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 7:43 So there arose a division in the multitude because of him. 7:44 Some of them would have arrested him, but no one laid hands on him. 7:45 The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees, and they said to them, “Why didn’t you bring him?”

7:46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!”

7:47 The Pharisees therefore answered them, “You aren’t also led astray, are you? 7:48 Have any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? 7:49 But this multitude that doesn’t know the law is accursed.”

7:50 Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 7:51 “Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?”

7:52 They answered him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

7:53 Everyone went to his own house,

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Posted 15 October 2008 - 11:10 AM

15 October 2008

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:22 AM

15 October 2009

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 05:56 AM

15 October 2010

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

"NO ONE EVER SPOKE LIKE THIS MAN"

The Chief Priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest Jesus, but they returned having failed. The drama of this event is in our reading today in John 7. They are rebuked, “Why did you not bring him?” [John 7:45] and respond “No one ever spoke like this man.” We are given no detail of the scene, but we imagine these officers standing within the crowd of people who were absorbed in what Jesus was saying for “he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” [Matthew 7:29]

No fiction writer could have invented the character of Jesus, it is impossible for anyone with a reasoning mind to read the Gospel records and not realize that these accounts have an overwhelming ring of truth about them. So we picture the dilemma of these officers sent on their impossible task of arresting Jesus. What was the real reason his arrest was sought?

Pilate realized the real reason; in Matthew’s Gospel it says “he knew that it was out of envy they had delivered him up” [Matthew 27:18] – and in the end, in order to secure his arrest they had needed the help of a traitor and the cover of darkness at the midnight hour coming “with swords and clubs” [Matthew 26:55] in order to make their arrest.

Before the officers came on their unsuccessful mission the crowd had been debating who he was for “some of the people said, ‘This really is the prophet’, others said ‘this is the Christ’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee?” [John 7:40,41] This debate continues to this day – and we recognise that it is the will of God that it should be so; his birth in Bethlehem had been concealed. Why was this?

Are we going to complain because that which is true is not immediately made plain? Are we going to use this as an excuse for not believing? The character of Jesus and the impact he had – and then left on the earth after his death and resurrection – is in sufficient evidence for all who genuinely seek to find and believe. Truly “no one ever spoke like this man” and we turn away from reading of what he said, and what his followers were inspired to write, to our eternal loss.
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Posted 15 October 2011 - 11:41 AM

15 October 2011

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

"RENDER TO EACH WHOSE HEART YOU KNOW"

In today’s reading of 2 Chronicles 6 we have Solomon’s remarkable prayer at the dedication of the wonderful Temple he had just completed. It was constructed of cedar, but just about all the interior had been overlaid with gold. Imagine it! The greatest focus of the gold was on the Most Holy Place where Israel’s God, the only real God was to “dwell” between the cherubim above the ark.

Solomon “knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly … and spread out his hands toward heaven” [2 Chronicles 6:13] He was on a raised bronze platform about 4.5 ft (1.4 metres) high. In his humility he is fully aware of the unimaginable greatness of God. His words include, “but will God indeed dwell with man on earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you …” [2 Chronicles 6:18] Solomon then enumerates the various situations which will cause men and women to offer prayers here.

2 Chronicles 6:29 onwards particularly caught our attention. “Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made …. each knows his own affliction and his own sorrow … then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his (or her) ways, for you, you only know the hearts of the children of mankind”

A great amount of food for mediation is in those words. God can “tune in” to all hearts and there are hearts that he has a relationship with – to “know” them! This perception of Solomon reflects the words of his father David in Psalm 11, “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of men. The LORD tests the righteous … he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” [Psalm 11:4,5,7]. We read two days ago the words of Jesus to those critical of him, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you” [John 5:42]. God and Jesus know our hearts! Does that affect your life, the way you think?
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Posted 15 October 2012 - 05:57 AM

15 October 2012

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

"THIS IS THE CHRIST"

The Chief Priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest Jesus, but they returned having failed. The drama of this event is in our reading today in John 7. They are rebuked, “Why did you not bring him?” [John 7:45] and respond “No one ever spoke like this man.” We are given no detail of the scene, but we imagine these officers standing within the crowd of people who were absorbed in what Jesus was saying for “he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” [Matthew 7:29]

No fiction writer could have invented the character of Jesus, it is impossible for anyone with a reasoning mind to read the Gospel records and not realize that these accounts have an overwhelming ring of truth about them. So we picture the dilemma of these officers sent on their impossible task of arresting Jesus. What was the real reason his arrest was sought?

Pilate realized the real reason; in Matthew’s Gospel it says “he knew that it was out of envy they had delivered him up” [Matthew 27:18] – and in the end, in order to secure his arrest they had needed the help of a traitor and the cover of darkness at the midnight hour coming “with swords and clubs” [Matthew 26:55] in order to make their arrest.

Before the officers came on their unsuccessful mission the crowd had been debating who he was for “some of the people said, ‘This really is the prophet’, others said ‘this is the Christ’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee?” [John 7:40,41] This debate continues to this day – and we recognise that it is the will of God that it should be so; his birth in Bethlehem had been concealed. Why was this?

Are we going to complain because that which is true is not immediately made plain? Are we going to use this as an excuse for not believing? The character of Jesus and the impact he had – and then left on the earth after his death and resurrection – is in sufficient evidence for all who genuinely seek to find and believe. Truly “no one ever spoke like this man” and we turn away from reading of what he said, and what his followers were inspired to write, to our eternal loss.
-------
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Posted 15 October 2013 - 03:12 AM

15 October 2013

2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7

"RENDER TO EACH WHOSE HEART YOU KNOW"

In today’s reading of 2 Chronicles 6 we have Solomon’s remarkable prayer at the dedication of the wonderful Temple he had just completed. It was constructed of cedar, but just about all the interior had been overlaid with gold. Imagine it! The greatest focus of the gold was on the Most Holy Place where Israel’s God, the only real God was to “dwell” between the cherubim above the ark.

Solomon “knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly … and spread out his hands toward heaven” [2 Chronicles 6:13] He was on a raised bronze platform about 4.5 ft (1.4 metres) high. In his humility he is fully aware of the unimaginable greatness of God. His words include, “but will God indeed dwell with man on earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you …” [2 Chronicles 6:18] Solomon then enumerates the various situations which will cause men and women to offer prayers here.

Our attention particularly focussed on verse 29 and onwards.. “Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made …. each knows his own affliction and his own sorrow … then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his (or her) ways, for you, you only know the hearts of the children of mankind that they may fear you and walk in your ways in all the days that they live in the land … ” [2 Chronicles 6:29-31] The redeemed will live in the land for ever!

A great amount of food for mediation is in those words. God can “tune in” to all hearts and there are hearts that he then has a relationship with – to “know” them! Such, we are sure, then ‘know’ him more and more.

This perception of Solomon reflects the words of his father David in Psalm 11, “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of men. The LORD tests the righteous … he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” [Psalm 11:4,5,7].

We read two days ago the words of Jesus to those critical of him, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you” [John 5:42]. God and Jesus know our hearts! May that affect your life, the way you think – but each one of us have to decide that! To fail to make a decision – is itself – a decision!
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Posted 15 October 2014 - 01:58 PM

15 October 2014
 
2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7 
 
“THE HIGHEST HEAVEN CANNOT CONTAIN YOU”
            
Solomon's prayer in dedicating the completed Temple is detailed in today's 6th chapter of 2nd Chronicles.  What particularly caught our attention was that Solomon, after he "spread out his hands toward heaven”, and said, “O LORD, God of Israel ... keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart" [2 Chronicles 6:13-14] and the  need for "sons to pay close attention to their way" [2 Chronicles 6:16] that Solomon then attempted a wider vision and asks, "But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built!" [2 Chronicles 6:18]
            
Can we in any way share Solomon's perception of the immeasurable greatness of God? - Our perception of the Creator grows as a result of man's increasing discoveries and awareness of both the endlessness of space - and the infinite smallness of things that can now be 'seen' with instruments that have been invented.  There are now no limits it seems to the way "knowledge shall increase" at "the time of the end" as Daniel was told and we will shortly read in the 4th verse of his 12th chapter.
            
The Temple that Jesus went into "and began teaching", that we read about today in John 6 was the one built by Herod, centuries after Solomon's was destroyed by the Babylonians. The "disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple" [Matthew 24:1-2] but Jesus shocked them by saying it would all be "thrown down." For about 1945 years there has been no Temple in Jerusalem - the area sits vacant - apart from the Moslem 'Dome of the Rock' - above what the Jews significantly call 'the wailing wall'.
            
In Ezekiel (chapters 40-48) we are reading the detail of the vision he was given of a future and ultimate city-temple.  The vision ends with the statement, "And the name of the city from that time on shall be, the LORD is there." 
 
When "the highest heaven cannot contain" the Creator of all there is, can a city in the ultimate future do so?  Next month the book of Revelation will challenge our thinking and our ability to "imagine' an ultimate time when "the dwelling place of God is with man." [Revelation 21:3] 
            
Finally, let us consider what should “dwell” here and now!  Paul told the Ephesians to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” [Ephesians 3:16] and told the Colossians to let “Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” [Colossians 3:16] May that be happening with all who read these words.
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- DC 


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Posted 15 October 2015 - 07:10 AM

15 October 2015
 
2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7  
 
GRANDEUR                                                                                                                              
            
Most human beings put great importance on outward appearance.  Some people will spend great amounts of money on how they look and in their endeavours to keep looking young!  New buildings have to look something special, each generation tries to start a new fashion 
            
Now this is where there is a distinct difference between the Old and New Testaments. We read today in 2 Chronicles 5; 6 of the grandeur of the Temple as Solomon dedicated its’ use and worship in it began. This was wonderful, but it proved to be transient because of human nature; human attitudes are so temporary.  Solomon was succeeded by a son and grandson who were disasters.
            
Our final chapters in Ezekiel contain the detail of a future temple to be built, but that will not be until Jesus, great David’s greater son, is king over all the earth.  This grandeur will not be destroyed by the folly of human beings – and will be matched by that inner greatness in the hearts of those who truly worship God.  Thus, Hebrews 8:10-12 will be fulfilled, “I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts … for they shall all know me …”  
 
That 4 letter word ‘know’ is a key word and has a power of meaning in the way it is often used in Scripture.  We all need tell ourselves, ‘I need to know God now – if I am to be there.’     
            
When Jesus spoke of the Temple he said that the day was coming when not one stone would be left upon another [Mark 13:1-2].  His disciples were shocked at this forecast of its total destruction.  Jesus had been misunderstood when he spoke of destroying the temple and rebuilding it in 3 days – we read of this a few days ago [John 2:19-21].  Those who hated him picked up this saying, for extreme jealousy creates hatred, they used this saying against him at his trial and later cat-called about it when he was on the cross [Mark 14:58; 15:29].      
            
Imagine how utterly shattered those still alive would have been at the Temples destruction 40 years later. Things which are outwardly grand dominated their thinking, it is no different today, there is a time coming when the whole world  will feel utterly shattered. 
            
In a few days we will read Daniel 2 and the interpretation Daniel provides to the king’s dream – the time (how soon now) when “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever”  The world will then be filled with eternal grandeur!  Are you living now so that you will be there?
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- DC


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Posted 15 October 2016 - 12:13 PM

15 October 2016
 
2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7 
 
"RENDER TO EACH WHOSE HEART YOU KNOW" 
 
In today’s reading of 2 Chronicles 6 we have Solomon’s remarkable prayer at the dedication of the wonderful Temple he had just completed. It was constructed of cedar, but just about all the interior had been overlaid with gold. Imagine it! The greatest focus of the gold was on the Most Holy Place where Israel’s God, the only real God was to “dwell” between the cherubim above the ark.
 
Solomon “knelt on his knees in the presence of all the assembly … and spread out his hands toward heaven” [2 Chronicles 6:13] He was on a raised bronze platform about 4.5 ft. (1.4 metres) high. In his humility he is fully aware of the unimaginable greatness of God. His words include, “but will God indeed dwell with man on earth? Behold heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you …” [2 Chronicles 6:18] Solomon then enumerates the various situations which will cause men and women to offer prayers here – and – towards here.
 
2 Chronicles 6:29 onwards particularly caught our attention. “Whatever prayer, whatever plea is made …. each knows his own affliction and his own sorrow … then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his (or her) ways, for you, you only know the hearts of the children of mankind” 
 
A great amount of food for mediation is in those words. Our Heavenly Father is able to “tune in” to all hearts and there are hearts that he has a relationship with – to “know” them! This perception of Solomon reflects the words of his father David in Psalm 11, “The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of men. The LORD tests the righteous … he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” [Psalm 11:4,5,7].
 
We read two days ago the words of Jesus to those critical of him, “I know that you do not have the love of God within you” [John 5:42]. 
 
God and Jesus know our hearts! Does that affect your life, starting with the way you think – for a significant portion of each day? What is “within” us matters more than anything else in our lives. 
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- DC


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Posted 15 October 2017 - 11:45 AM

15 October 2017
 
2 Chronicles 5; 6
Ezekiel 41
John 7 
 
"WHY DID YOU NOT BRING HIM?"
 
The Chief Priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest Jesus, but they returned having failed. The drama of this event is in our reading today in John 7. They are rebuked, “Why did you not bring him?” [John 7:45] and respond “No one ever spoke like this man.” We are given no detail of the scene, but we imagine these officers standing within the crowd of people who were absorbed in what Jesus was saying for “he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.” [Matthew 7:29]

No fiction writer could have invented the character of Jesus, it is impossible for anyone with a reasoning mind to read the Gospel records and not realize that these accounts have an overwhelming ring of truth about them. So we picture the dilemma of these officers sent on their impossible task of arresting Jesus. What was the real reason his arrest was sought?

Pilate realized the real reason; in Matthew’s Gospel it says “he knew that it was out of envy they had delivered him up” [Matthew 27:18] – and in the end, in order to secure his arrest they had needed the help of a traitor and the cover of darkness at the midnight hour coming “with swords and clubs” [Matthew 26:55] in order to make their arrest.

Before the officers came on their unsuccessful mission the crowd had been debating who he was for “some of the people said, ‘This really is the prophet’, others said ‘this is the Christ’ But some said, ‘Is the Christ to come from Galilee?” [John 7:40,41] This debate continues to this day – and we recognise that it is the will of God that it should be so; his birth in Bethlehem had been concealed. Why was this?

Are we going to complain because that which is true is not immediately made plain? Are we going to use this as an excuse for not believing? The character of Jesus and the impact he had – and then left on the earth after his death and resurrection – is in sufficient evidence for all who genuinely seek to find and believe. Truly “no one ever spoke like this man” and we turn away from reading of what he said, and what his followers were inspired to write, to our eternal loss.
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- DC





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