This past week I was in a time of prayer and I was led to read the passage we all know so well from 2 Chronicles 7:14. This verse is often quoted and used in an effort to get people to pray for our country. As I read through the whole passage though, something quite different hit me.
To understand this passage a little more, it is necessary to dig back into what the context was for this moment. Solomon had just completed his many years of work building God a temple in Jerusalem along with a palace for himself. When it was completed, Solomon stood in front of the temple and offered up a prayer to God (see chapter 6). In this prayer, Solomon asked for God to come and dwell in this new house and to bless his people abundantly.
As part of the process, Solomon sacrificed a staggering number of bulls (22,000), sheep and goats (120,000). It was an enormous undertaking and took a full week to do it all. Then, they feasted for a week (lots of meat there) and celebrated the completion of this long awaited house for God. It was an amazing scene and after several weeks, Solomon sent everyone home.
When it was all over, and the quiet had set in, God came and spoke to Solomon in verses 13-22. However, what really struck me was what he said in verses 15-16:
"Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there."
This of course follow the famous "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land." We love this verse, but it is much more powerful when we see it in the full context.
God has just agreed to set His holy presence in the temple with a warning that when the people strayed away, they were to turn back to Him in humility and prayer, seeking Him, repenting of their sin (stop doing it), then God would move on their behalf. However, it was those next words that really struck my heart.
God said His eyes would be open and his ears would be attentive to prayers. In other words He would both see and hear their prayers. He chose the temple to consecrate so His name would be there forever and I love the last part. His eyes would watch it and His heart would ALWAYS be there!
Now why is that so exciting, especially in light of the warning that if they ever forgot him that it would crumble and be a by word to the nations. Well, because it did crumble and God set His eyes and heart on a new temple. He chose a new temple, US.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 1 Corinthians 6:19, and 2 Corinthians 6:16, show us clearly that God has chosen us as the temple He desires to dwell in. That means, His eyes and ears are attentive to our prayers and His eyes are ever watching for the protection and best for His temple and His heart, his passion, his love, is on His us, his temple!