then hear from heaven your dwelling place and forgive and render to each whose heart you know, according to all his ways, for you, you only, know the hearts of the children of mankind, 2 Chronicles 6:30 (ESV)
We see a unique attribute of God here, namely his omniscience or all knowledge. There is literally nothing God does not know, he knows every thought of every heart, but it does not stop there, God knows everything in advance, he know what each of us will choose to do because he knows the end from the beginning Isaiah 46:10
It goes even further than that, God knows the outcome of everyone of the infinite possibilities of each thought and action, he know for example what will happen if I turn right or if I turn left at the end of the street, nothing takes God by surprise.
Demons do not have this perspective or advantage that belongs only to God. Only God knows our hearts, only God has the capacity to know everything and only God has the unique vantage point of standing outside time and space and so sees the whole story from start to end.
Knowledge is not successive to God like it is to us, God knows past, present and future now, it is always now for God because his knowledge is perfect and eternal, God does not need sense knowledge or the power of imagination, God knows perfectly.
We are reminded in Hebrews 4:13 “And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
And even regarding our salvation God knew his chosen before the world began as we read in Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
hear from heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name. 2 Chronicles 6:33 (ESV)
God’s unique ability to hear and answer prayer should cause us to reverence him. The temple would stand as an evangelical monument to the nations that God was real, God could be entered into relationship with and God could answer prayer.
This prayer shows one of Israel’s core purposes to be a light and blessing to the nations showing them the way to the one true God.
Jesus now replaces the temple as the hope for all nations, Jesus told us himself that he is greater than the temple in Matthew 12:6 “I tell you, something greater than the temple is here.”
Jesus also teaches us that he is the only way in John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus is the one who we should point people to, as he is able to save them. Hebrews 7:25 says “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”
if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which you gave to their fathers, the city that you have chosen and the house that I have built for your name, 2 Chronicles 6:38 (ESV)
Repentance is not a confession said to a priest, or some ritual to make us feel better. It is a heartfelt turning of mind and therefore behaviour.
The word repentance has the following basic meaning in the original languages of the Bible. In Hebrew (The old testament) “niphal” which means “to regret, be sorry,” and “to return.” In Greek (The new testament) metanoeō which means “to change one’s mind,”
God grants us repentance by his grace as we read in Acts 5:31, 2 Timothy 2:25 and Acts 11:18 which says “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD filled the LORD’s house. 2 Chronicles 7:1–2 (ESV)
What an amazing response from God to the prayer of Solomon. This brings credibility to the temple and the request of Solomon for God to fulfil his word. The people viewing and recording this would have been filled with confidence and faith to use the temple as a place to meet with God, pray and sacrifice.
Jesus is our temple. The fire that came down form heaven and consumed the sacrifice speaks of Jesus being consumed by the wrath of God on our behalf on the cross. The temple being filled with the glory of the Lord’s presence speaks of the glorious resurrection and the outpouring of God’s Holy spirit which we celebrate this Sunday on Pentecost.
if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV)
This verse has been picked up by God’s people today to be used when we pray for our nations, we pray and apply this in faith and we have seen God move.
However the original application was quite specific to the people of Israel and the land of Israel when in a God inflicted drought. God was confirming that yes he would listen to the prayers directed toward the temple and stop the drought which he had brought about as judgement / discipline.
God disciplines those he loves, seeking that they might turn and cry out to him in heartfelt repentance. Hebrews 12:6 reminds us “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
If your life feels like it is in a time of drought right now, then cry out to God, you may be under his loving discipline. We read later in Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Solomon brought Pharaoh’s daughter up from the city of David to the house that he had built for her, for he said, “My wife shall not live in the house of David king of Israel, for the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy.” 2 Chronicles 8:11 (ESV)
We start to see the slow rot of compromise in Solomon’s life. He knew his wife was unholy in her beliefs and practices, yet he married her and now holds a compromised position because he knows the things of God are holy.
We must ask ourselves the question today, what are our “darling” sins? The sins we hold dear, sins that have such a grip on us that they lead us into an unsustainable place of compromise.
We should ask the Lord to help us be free from any entanglements like this and walk in the true freedom and holiness that Christ brought for us at the cross.
Galatians 5:1 remind us “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.“
This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth. Titus 1:13–14 (ESV)
This is a Pastoral letter so we should be careful not to take the responsibility on our own shoulders to rebuke sharply although we must be ready to rebuke / correct where necessary.
In this case we are dealing with false teachers who were Jewish preachers in the early church trying to bring the church under the superstition and bondage of circumcision and old Jewish myths which they did for money.
We have these types of false teachers today. There are the obvious money grabbing preachers on TV but there are also the more subtle usurpers to biblical Christianity who would see the church come under bondage to some sort of legalistic system and some even advocating that circumcision is still required as part of the covenant.
This is why every believer must be a part of a biblical church with biblical leadership who can rebuke false teaching which may arise in and around the congregation and keep the people on the well worn path of the sound faith.
They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work. Titus 1:16 (ESV)
Our profession means nothing without repentance and lives lived in accordance with that which we profess.
We can decree and declare all day long but if our lives are not obedient to the word of God then our profession of faith and declarations in prayer are worth nothing.
As Paul says if we are hypocrites (like the false teachers he is talking about) like this then we are detestable and unfit for any good work. We must live honest, humble lives inline with our profession as disciples of Jesus Christ, serving one another in the fear and love of God.
Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, Psalm 94:12 (ESV)
This is in line with the theme of discipline and repentance we picked up in our reading today. We should thank God that he loves us enough to discipline and teach us.
and they say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.” Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? Psalm 94:7–9 (ESV)
This summarises today’s dual themes of God’s omniscience and his judgement and discipline. Nothing we do can be hidden from God, he know everything and judges or disciplines accordingly.