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Potential Promises (2 Chronicles 6-7)

Potential Promises
(2 Chronicles 6-7)

There is a famous saying that goes, “it’s not about you.” That is usually true. But, as this chapter shows, there are times when it is very much about you. Or me.
Or Solomon.

God has kept all his promises! He has given David a son on the throne of Israel. He has made Solomon, David’s son, mightier and wiser than any king ever before. Solomon has built a magnificent temple for the Name of the Lord.

Solomon had a great celebration to dedicate the temple. And he gave a great prayer as part of that dedication. He had a plan for every kind of sin imaginable to be forgiven. But he forgot two things.

Solomon only mentions himself in his prayer as being the one who built the temple. In all of the permutations of sin he never considers that he himself might fall. And, ironically, he gets what he prays for. Solomon prays that only those who repent would be forgiven and he never repented when he sinned. Solomon prayed that the covenant with David would be kept, and God kept his covenant with David but promised Solomon that he, Solomon, and the people he led into idolatry, would be punished for his & their own future unfaithfulness when it happened.

We often say that GOD’s love is unconditional. But we have only to look to pet owning, and even moreso parenting, to see what that means. We may always love a pet or child, regardless of their behavior. But because we do love them, love has responsibility. And it is our responsibility, and GOD’s, to discipline the loved one. Part of that discipline is making rewards conditional, with “If…but…” statements.

In our passage today, GOD says that if the people repent, they would be forgiven as Solomon asked. But they would suffer some discipline. Solomon would be blessed for David’s sake and the sake of the covenant with David IF Solomon was faithful to the covenant. BUT, if Solomon turned to other gods, he would be disciplined for it.

Chapter 7 has one of the most famous prayers of the Bible. It has even been turned into a praise song by those who speak about GOD’s unconditional love. Yet, it is a covenent clause, a condition statement. It is a potential promise, fulfilled only if obeyed but not fulfilled if not obeyed.

“If my people” says that these promises are only for Believers in the LORD GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the time it was written it meant the twelve tribes of Israel. Today it means those who believe in JESUS Christ, the fulfillment of the covenant and the ultimate king promised to David. “Who are called by My Name” means that these people identify themselves with Israel and the LORD publicly. They are known as a member of Israel, even if only by faith, then and as a Christian now. They publicly profess their belief and are unashamed of it or the LORD they follow. Because they believe they publicly worship. Only these people, when they sin and the LORD brings judgment on their land, can expect to be heard. And then only if they humble themselves (admit disobedience to GOD), return to Him in confession and prayer (pray and seek His Face), and stop doing what they know is wrong. A quick “Whoopsie! I did it again! Sorry Dad!” and dashing off again to keep sinning won’t cut it. That would be like a teenager thinking it’s okay to get drunk, drive the car without permission and wreck it, then as soon as it’s repaired saying “Won’t happen again!” as he grabs the car keys with one hand with a beer in the other.

GOD is loving and good. And His goodness requires that His love includes discipline. We each have literally unlimited potential if we accept forgiveness on His terms in Christ on the cross, the capstone of His covenants with humanity. But if not, GOD is under no obligation to bless us as He was under no obligation to bless those like Solomon who disobey. Hell is the result of choosing what GOD is not, rejecting His promise that, JESUS having done it all, the only condition is to accept our condition as sinners and accept His escape.

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