Monthly Archives: July 2019

Hear and Forgive

2 Chronicles chapters 4-8; parallel passage 1 Kings 8-9. The recounting of the dedication of Solomon’s Temple to the LORD. Many times when we read this passage we get fixiated on 2 Chronicles 7:14, the renown verse used for Revival preparation. However, the verse “If my people which are called by My name will humble themselves, seek My face, turn from their wicked ways and pray; then I will hear their prayers, forgive their sins and heal their land” has become more of a carte blanche prayer than an actual living out of the “conditions” Solomon referenced earlier before the people in 2 Chronicles 6. The verse is not a PRESCRIPTION for Revival, but a DESCRIPTION  of what happens when revival occurs. There are other passages that are treated the same way; for example Acts 2:41-45 has been a prescription for church growth and out-pouring of the Holy Spirit. Rick Warren’s book Purpose Driven Church [copyrighted] was used to identify the five functions of the church- worship, fellowship, service, discipleship and evangelism. During the 1980’s and 90’s pastors all over used the “Warren Formula” to try and grow churches  – specifically following Warren’s book verbatim. Even though Warren tells the reader/pastor not to do it, so many attempted the formula for church growth expecting the same results that Saddleback church experienced and were greatly disappointed when it didn’t happen. The same phenomena happened when preachers tried to replicate Charles Finney’s revival techniques in the 19th century.   Solomon was dedicating the Temple to the LORD, a place where God said He would put His name. Solomon’s prayer is a great prayer! He uses the “If . . . Then” statements to issue his request from God. Solomon wise as he was, knew that no matter what the people of Israel said, they would succumb to temptation to be like the world around them and go on sinning. The IF is not to say the condition Solomon expresses Could happen, but more realistically WHEN the condition happened. Solomon’s prayer is one of prophetic utterances. He knew the people and it would be just a matter of time before they fell back into apostasy.

“Your people Israel” is used over and over to describe the audience. IF your People do . . . ; when they PRAY to You in this place, will You hear and forgive? While these are question statements, I think Solomon was more outlining conditions that denotes a disciplined people crying out in humility and sorrow for their sins and wanting forgiveness. Today, and in the past, believers have used 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a pattern for revival, I believe the verse should be seen as a description of what happens when revival occurs. Solomon describes a wayward condition of the people that invoked a discipline from God; in the disciplined posture Israel was to be “driven” back to the LORD. The whole prayer of Solomon is about relationship reconciliation with Yahweh. Revival is for those of us that have been redeemed and saved through faith in Jesus Christ. Lost people cannot experience revival; they must experience Salvation.

I hear churches talk about having revival services; I find this very interesting because they see it as an opportunity for the LOST to get saved. But the opposite should be understood. It is a time where the church/believers can be reconciled back to God their Heavenly Father! If the Church will be humble and broken over their sin, the restoration of fellowship with God will result in the Church being on mission to evangelize the LOST. Years ago, REVIVAL meetings would last two weeks. Many people never understood why. The first week was to get the CHURCH right, the second week was to bring the LOST to faith and salvation. Today, we have minimized “revival” to a three or four day event; then we wonder how come God hasn’t moved!

Revival is a work of God on the people of God! Revival rarely happens with the masses; it usually starts with the few and spreads to the masses. The only other word that is used over and over again in this passage is the word PRAY. When people pray. . . . but that is the problem; people don’t pray. Churches don’t pray and pastors don’t pray. Yet they expect God to do something because they applied a “formula” that is descriptive of God moving; but have applied it in a prescriptive way. Revival is a movement of God, period. The best we can do is raise our “sails” and pray for the winds of the Holy Spirit to blow. When we pray could be viewed as “WHILE WE ARE PRAYING” God will hear and forgive. We must quit talking about prayer and revival and get after repentance and confession to the Lord; then He will hear and forgive.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2019 History

God is not a Genie

2 Chronicles 1-3; the focus of this blog post is the request from Solomon and the fulfillment by Yahweh. Too often we look at the Father as a “grant all” genie. Our prayer requests are similar to what James 4:1-3 talk about. They are requests for God to do for us, that which we cannot obtain on our own. They are selfish requests for our comfort and satisfaction. Prayer is much more than asking God to “grant a wish” exercise. I remember watching I Dream of Jeanie on TV while growing up. At the time I didn’t think much about what the show was trying to say to a self-consuming audience. The worldview alone is a narcissistic and consumer oriented one. I have been in the Gospel ministry for 22 years. There have been a constant flow of people who have come to me [and other pastors] wanting to know why God had not answered their prayer for whatever; fill in the blank. SO many times we have put a stipulation on our prayers expecting the magical wording will guarantee the request. Does “In Jesus Name” or “If it be thy will” ring true to any of us? Romans 8:26 tells us that we don’t know how to pray, but the Holy Spirit makes utterances for us before the Father.

In our passage God tells Solomon he has one request to be answered; “Ask what I shall give you?” Pretty opened blank check from God. Now all of us could think of what we would have asked for from God. We have a long list of things we’d like to have Him do for us. Solomon didn’t find God in a bottle anywhere and rub it then God popped out. God is the originator of the blessing. Solomon had done nothing to garner the blank check request. God was honoring King David and the covenant He made with David. Solomon is the benefactor of King David’s walk with the LORD. At this point, how many of us actually think of how God blesses us and think to ourselves that we deserved God’s blessing; all the while the blessing was from our faithful ancestors relationship with God!

Solomon asks for Wisdom, this may sound strange, but remember Solomon is already King and has a storehouse full of earthly treasures. Why did he ask for wisdom? Solomon is a young man, obviously he was ill equipped to lead the people of Israel and asked for wisdom to rule over God’s people. Solomon’s request indicates the kind of relationship he had at the beginning of his reign; sad to say it didn’t remain as faithful through the years. God hears the request, and because Solomon asked for wisdom, God granted him all the riches of the known world. The Wisdom request was granted along with receiving riches, wealth and honor. If we read Song of Solomon, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes we quickly note his wisdom about earth, heaven and people.

Because of David, Solomon was recipient of God’s blessings. When Solomon becomes wayward and engrossed in 1000 women and earthly covenants and peace treaties with neighboring countries, God does not remove the kingdom from him. Rehoboam in his own faults and God’s judgment loses the united kingdom. Solomon builds a great and ornate Temple for God; it remains to be an icon to Israel and the surrounding nations. It appears that no expense was spared in its construction. However, we find that Solomon’s own house is greater in size and grandeur. Solomon also begins to amass unnumbered horse, chariots and riches. Do we find fault in this or see it as the blessings of God based on the one request for wisdom? It is easy to compare ourselves to one another and make the judgment that one is blessed because they have vast amount of earthly riches; while another is in poverty and despair. We make the judgement that one is walking with God, while the poor must be living in sin. Prosperity Gospel at its roots.

Are we content to live with what God would grant us? Or do we find ourselves wanting more just for the sake of satisfying our own earthly desires and achieved status? Solomon early on did not trust in a genie, but trusted in the Lord God Almighty. Scripture tells us that God raise up one to power and puts another one down out of power.

Our pray life will be much more of a blessing if we come to God with a contentment for His poured out blessings on us; instead of running to God and complaining about why we don’t have more. 1 Timothy 6:6-12, “godliness with contentment I great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.


Leave a comment

Filed under 2019 History

David, Desire and Designs

1 Chronicles 23-27 details the event of King David towards the end of his life. David was a young shepherd who made his “coming out” by taking on the Philistine giant Goliath. He was the youngest son of Jesse and of the line of Judah. David was called a “man after God’s own heart.” David was not a perfect man, but was a repentant man. Psalm 51 tells of his great desire to be right with the LORD. King David’s life was anything but simple and peaceful. War seemed to be the motif that surrounded him. He fought against the enemies of Israel, with his children, with giants [Philistines] and with the reigning King – King Saul. In these last chapters that conclude King David’s life, we find that he still has the DESIRE to serve and honor God. David had to learn so valuable lessons. One of those lessons was captured for us in 1 Chronicles 21, where he arrogantly requested that Joab perform a census. The taking of the census itself was not bad, but the prideful arrogance of the king to glory in the size and number of Israel caused it to be bad. Joab performed the census, and reported the findings to David. Israel was 1,570,000 strong. We may not be impressed with that number, but for a small land mass of Israel, that was a strong amount of people. The outcome of David’s arrogant pride was accounted for by God – because the census displeased God, He offered one of three options as punishment. [21:9-13] David could have 3 years of famine, 3 months of subjection to his enemies or 3 days of pestilence which would cause death angel to hover over Israel. David again admits that he was the one who had sinned, and asked God to be merciful. King David elected to take the 3 days of death, and 70,000 people died. God was about to destroy Jerusalem, but had compassion on the people and said “it is enough” to the angel of death. [1 Chrono 21:14-15] David and the Elders displayed a great brokenness and humility before God, which then God had compassion on them and stayed the hand of death. As I was reading this all I could think of was the 70,000 that died because of King David’s arrogance and pride. It was the leader that greatly sinned; the story written by Lord Alfred Tennison the “Charge of the Light Brigade.” The men , 600 of them marched into a valley and we all killed. The men – soldiers followed their commanders orders and payed with their lives. Here David sinned and caused 70,000 to die. Now I don’t know or begin to understand the why of it all, for 70,000 to die because of someone else’s sin except that Jesus – innocent was delivered over on our behalf and crucified for our sins. The innocent die for the guilty happens in all three cases. I could ask why innocent have to bear the brunt of sinful men; but then God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. Sin has always been a problem and destroyer of the innocent. In our world today, many lament over the guilty, depraved men and women destroying lives for their own pleasure and benefit.

David came back to the LORD after the death of these men. He repented and was restored to fellowship with God. It was after this great sin aftermath that King David desired to honor and glorify God with a “House” for the Ark of the Covenant. He was allowed to design, develop and raise the resources for the building of the Temple, but not allowed to build the building. The reason was that David had blood on his hands. He was a man of war. He also had innocent Uriah killed, and as we just saw 70,000 died because of him.  Solomon will be the next king, from all of David’s children. How ironic that from an adulterous relationship with Bathsheba, the next king of Israel would come.

David was allowed to develop designs of how the Temple would look and was also the architect of how the Temple worship would function. This is a huge shift for the people of Israel and God. No longer would the Temple be a temporary place, but a fixture in the land. King David also put forth how worship would be conducted, again changing the way wilderness worship previously was done. David lived to be 70 years old. He reigned over all of Israel for 40 years. He designed and desired to bring great glory though a House of God, but never saw it completed. Talk about planting a tree he would never sit under the shade of!

Leave a comment

Filed under 2019 History

A House For the LORD

A House for the Lord from 1 Chronicles 13-17
Our passage reading begins with David trying to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. While he probably thought he was doing a good thing – he was doing it the wrong way. Often in our own lives we can attempt to do the good work of ministry, only to find out we should have consulted with the LORD on how to get it done. The incident that stops the whole show is when the oxen stumble and Uzza reaches out to steady the cart. God strikes him dead and then King David gets angry at the anger of the LORD. Needless, to say the Ark winds up staying three months with Obed-Odem and the blessings of the LORD are poured out there instead of Jerusalem. There is a bit of mysticism with the Ark of the Covenant – now I’m not trying to go Indiana Jones on you, but the Blessings that seemed to accompany anyone who had the Ark in their possession seems odd at best. The exception is when the Philistines capture the Ark [thinking that they have Israel’s god] and are “blessed with hemorrhoids. I found it quite interesting that the place from which the Ark had been left all the days of King Saul was in Kiriath-jearim. By now you are saying where? The place Kiriath-jeraim was the location in Numbers 13/14 where Israel was to crossover the first time into the Promised Land. Very Interesting, could this mean that we must sometimes have to go backwards to the point of our last failure/disobedience in order to start fresh? Probably so!
The Ark of the Covenant appears to have an unknown power about it; even the anger of the LORD if not properly handled. The Israelites felt there was a mystical power with it; they took the Ark before them before crossing the Jordan River and into battles. There is a great identity of the Ark and the Presence of God.
David has two battles against the Philistines which he ensures that God is with him in the battles – God affirms the how of the attack as well as the victory for David. The fear of King David grows throughout the land. King David attempts a second movement of the Ark. This time with great detail and caution, involving the Levites, priests and seems like just anyone else to ensure proper procedures are followed. We have covered the disgruntled Michal with David’s dancing and subsequent barrenness.
There is a great time of worship of the people, even King David is benevolent; he gives everyone a loaf of bread, raisin cake and portion of meat.
King David has an established unified throne with Judah and Israel. He lives in a fine house of Lebanon cedar. David had created a Tent for the Ark of the Covenant but appears to see the House of God as insufficient when compared to his house. He talks to Nathan about wanting to build the LORD a house. Nathan says go ahead. But the LORD comes to Nathan in a dream and says – Nope – not my way. Interesting that David desires to build a House for the LORD; and the LORD God turns around and establishes the HOUSE OF DAVID and the Throne of David as a perpetual eternal throne. The Covenant that God makes with David is an “unequaled covenant.” By this I mean that God and David are not equal. Just when David thought he could do good FOR God; God does more for David.
In this Davidic Covenant we have the establishing of Solomon to build the great Solomon’s Temple to the LORD, but also have the throne of David, the LION OF JUDAH prophecy. David was covenanted by GOD that there would not cease to be an heir of David on the throne of Judah. Ultimately, this prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of the tribe of Judah, and will one day be the LION of Judah, sitting on David’s established throne pictured here.
Speechless is what I would be. But I think we must remember that GOD is the initiator of the Covenant relationship. We are blessed beyond measure with God’s love towards us. We do not DO to receive the blessing; but are merely recipients of God’s blessing through faith in Jesus Christ. Just when we think we can honor God and bless Him; He blesses us more. Think now on John 14:1-6 and the House of God prepared for those who love Him.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2019 History