Lesson 6

A Prayer for God's Dwelling: Solomon

(2 Chronicles 6)
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Introduction: Is the God who created the universe interested in us? Is He willing to personally interact with us in our worship? This week we study the prayer King Solomon offered at the dedication of the temple. It is a prayer that teaches us more about the relationship we could have with God. Let's jump into our study!

  1. From the Cloud to a Temple


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 6:1-2. Is our God a God of darkness or of light?


      1. If you say, "light," can you think of any reason why Solomon would say God would dwell in a dark cloud?


      2. Read Exodus 19:9. What does this text suggest is God's reason for a "dark" (dense) cloud? (God does not want the people to see Him, but He wants them to hear Him.)


        1. The old story is that we tell our children they are to be seen but not heard. Why does God want to be heard but not seen? ( Exodus 33:19-20 tells us that men could not see God and live. Our God is awesome.)


    2. Let's turn back to 2 Chronicles 6 and add verse 3 to our reading. Why would King Solomon want God to trade a cloud for a temple? (He wanted the people to be blessed! God dwelling with His people would be a blessing to them.)


      1. Why would God want to trade? (Solomon wanted God to dwell with His people and so (apparently) did God.)


      2. What do we learn from the fact that God wants to live with us, even though He is too glorious to be seen by us? (This great fabulous Power of the Universe wants to be with you, have a personal relationship with you. He is not some abstract force, He is our God.)


  2. Working With Partners


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 6:4-6. Why did God wait to select the city to locate His temple until then? (This demonstrates that God is looking for "partners," human co-workers to accomplish His will. When God found David, he found someone with whom He could work to establish His temple.)


      1. Wouldn't it be more efficient for God to do it Himself? Why involve us?


      2. When (v.4)says that God fulfilled with His hands what He had promised with His mouth, how did He do the "hands" part? (We are God's hands! King David was the one who put together the plans for the temple. For further information on David's work, see 1 Chronicles 28. David's son King Solomon built the temple.)


      3. If God were looking for a man with whom to "partner," why not choose Samuel? A man whose life had not a blotch on it - unlike David and Solomon? (There is a very interesting lesson here for us. God preferred to rule His people through a prophet like Samuel. 1 Samuel 8:6-9. The people wanted a King as a more visible leader of the people. 1 Samuel 8:19-22. God was willing to work with them in this less desirable approach. Along with the more visible King, He is now deciding to give them a more visible place of worship. Notice how this emphasizes the truth of our partnership with God. He works with us even when we have bonehead ideas.)


    2. Read 2 Chronicles 6:7-9. What lesson do you see in these texts for those who want to partner with God in working as His hands? (This teaches us another lesson about the partnership. Although God is willing to be flexible, there are limits. Our desire is not the only factor in what we should do. God looks for what is best suited for our work.)


      1. Do you know your spiritual gifts?


      2. Have you ever had an analysis of your spiritual gifts?


  3. Solomon's Prayer of Dedication


    1. In verse 13 we find that Solomon kneels down, spreads out his hands towards heaven, and begins his prayer of dedication. Let's read 2 Chronicles 6:14. Recall the principles of prayer that we have learned. Is this a proper way to begin a prayer? (This is the same element that we studied two weeks ago in Hannah's prayer (1 Samuel 2:2) and that was in Jesus' model prayer(Matthew 6:9-10). This is the praise element of prayer. Not thanking God for what He has done for us, but praising God for who He is. This is the way to start our prayers!)


    2. Read 2 Chronicles 6:15-17. For what is Solomon praying? Is it OK for you to pray for your job and well-being? (Once again, this parallels Jesus' model prayer - asking about our physical needs and concerns. See Matthew 6:11)


      1. Solomon is praying for his future decedents. Should we do that? (Dr. James Dobson has a story about how his great grandparents prayed for future generations that they would serve God.)


    3. Read 2 Chronicles 6:18-20. What is the answer to Solomon's question in verse 18? Does Solomon answer his own question in the same verse? If so, what answer does he give?(Remember we started out ( 2 Chronicles 6:2) with Solomon saying he had built the temple for God to dwell in forever. We even find in 2 Chronicles 5:13-14 that the glory of God filled the temple. But Solomon seems to say in 6:18 that his temple cannot really contain God.)


      1. If God cannot really dwell in this temple, why did Solomon build it? (Notice the reference in v. 20 to God having "His Name" there. Compare this with 2 Chronicles 6:9. God's Name shows His identity with His people.)


      2. How do verses 19 and 20 explain more fully the reason why Solomon wanted God to trade a cloud for a temple? (Solomon seems to say that God would pay more attention to them if His Name was among them.)


        1. Do you think this is true?


      3. Does the place of God's dwelling makes a difference in whether He hears our prayers? (No. Deuteronomy 4:7 and Psalms 145:18 tell us that God is near whenever we pray.)


      4. Why did Solomon relate God hearing their prayers to the new temple? (I think it goes back to the idea of the visible presence of the Lord. Like a King, was a visible leader, the temple served as a visible reminder of the presence of their God.)


    4. Read 2 Chronicles 6:21. Where does Solomon know God really lives? (In heaven.)


    5. 2 Chronicles 6:24-31 contains a series of repetitions discussing our sin, its consequences and our prayers. Let's focus on 2 Chronicles 6:28-31 to better understand this section of Solomon's prayer. What are the parallel problems for God's people today?


      1. When we turn to God in prayer for help, what is the first thing we want from God? (Verse 30, to have God hear us.)


      2. Why does Solomon ask God to forgive us immediately after He asks God to hear our prayers?


      3. On what basis will God answer our prayers?


        1. Does God answer according to what we do or what is in our hearts? (God gives individual answers that take into account our deeds and our motives.)


        2. Why should the answers to our prayers turn on our deeds and motives? Is there a different dynamic to prayer than to salvation? (Solomon seems to emphasize deeds -- which would be a different dynamic than salvation. However, Solomon speaks of God knowing our hearts -- which is critical to accepting salvation. God's focus on our deeds and our hearts in answering prayer teaches us (v.31) to fear God and walk with Him.)


        3. Does this mean that salvation is by grace alone, but the answer to prayers is based on works?


    6. Read 2 Chronicles 6:32-33. Should we pray for the visitors to our church? What should be our prayer for them?


      1. How do these verses suggest that visitors can be attracted to church?


    1. Read 2 Chronicles 6:36-39. Do you feel "captive" to "the enemy" at work? In family relationships? At church? If so, should you examine your life?


      1. If we can see how sin is a cause for our problem, what is the answer to the sin in our life? (Repent (v.37) and turn back to God (v.38) with all our heart and soul.)


    2. Read 2 Chronicles 6:40-41. What is the goal of our prayers to God? (That we will be clothed with salvation and we will rejoice in God's goodness!)


    3. Friend, God wants to work with us to accomplish His goals on this earth. He takes a particular, individualized interest in each one of us. Part of this partnership is doing His will. Because of God's interest in us, we may find that our life is not going right because of our sin. He wants us to be alert to our sins and repent and turn away from them so that we can rejoice in His goodness. Will you be God's partner, His "hands" on earth?


  1. Next Week: Prayers for Reformation: Elijah.

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