I’m reading 2 Chronicles.
First off, let me tell you why, because I normally wouldn’t jump to read the Old Testament. Actually, I just stopped & returned to my safety net of the New Testament. I read Ruth, Esther, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, & Daniel, letting the Holy Spirit lead me to where I should read next. Then after I read Daniel & it was REALLY GOOD, I was like, ‘Gee, God, I really want to know where you want to lead me but I also don’t want to be bored to death, too, so let me make a good call & skip to Ephesians’. Which, in a twist of events, was definitely His will more than mine, because it hit home in conviction & has given me the thrill back. You know the thrill of worshipping & seeking & the joy that wells in your throat when you get to talk about Jesus & what you’re being taught? Its back. A man I’ll never know who wrote a letter to a church I’ll never belong to made up of Ephesians, people from a place I couldn’t even point to on a map, spoke to me. Funny how that works.
But anyways, the thrill. Have you ever been awoken to realize you haven’t been asleep for a while & you’ve been hearing the same song or phrase or scripture on repeat? That happened. You see, I had started reading Galatians after finishing Ephesians because I decided if Ephesians ended up being his will then every other book Paul contributed to the New Testament must also be his will because I love them all. So I started reading Galatians, but I never finished. Instead, I woke up hearing our church’s verse of the year on repeat in my head.
“[If] my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray & seek my face, & turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, & heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14
So, I started reading 2 Chronicles & I am growing. Like the kind of growth where you watch a tulip be planted in the dirt & go from I hope I don’t weed whack this little green nub to full blown yellow cup of happiness, but in one of those fast forward video things. You know what I’m talking about. Growth on speed. Or so it feels when the fire consumes you in such a way. But its prayer. God is renewing my mind through prayer. But I want to share with you the beautiful imagery in what I’ve read so far & what I’m experiencing. So here you go.
I imagine David & Solomon, sitting with their feet propped up & a glass of the finest wine, David excitingly confiding in Solomon all of the promises he had heard the Lord speak to him through out his life. I imagine him stopping in the midst of the story when he feels the memory in the fullness of emotion. I see him pulling out a journal where he wrote his prayers, dreams, revelations, promises, & their fulfillment, dragging his finger down to the precise moment received the answer to God’s promise. I imagine years & years of David reminding his child of all God had done for him & all that he had promised to complete when David was long gone, wanting the words to seep deep into Solomon’s bones, pounding in the greater hope of what’s to come. Listen for his promises, my son. Watch for his faithfulness.
I like to think Solomon was raised to know & understand the importance of prayer. With David’s legacy before him, I’d like to think out of everything his father went through, that was one of the big moral of the story moments he took with him. I don’t feel like the thought is too far out of reach when I consider what I know.
Solomon built the temple wanting to be a part of God’s promise to David. After the temple was completed, the dedication went like this: all of Israel is gathered in celebration & Solomon climbs onto the platform he had built in the court. Then, the king drops to his knees in front of them all, spreads his arms toward heaven, & prayed. (read 2 Chronicles 6:12-42) As he prayed, he gave God numerous circumstances of ‘if your people fall away, & if they turn back to you with all their heart, will you forgive him’. I say this because its important for the next part. & I need you to hear all of this. We need to be convinced of what Solomon knew.
So he prayed this, right? & so after the dedication, which the whole celebration seemed to last about 2 WEEKS, & was so incredible that the glory of the Lord filled the temple in the form of a cloud & was so crazy the priests couldn’t even enter the temple, Solomon goes to sleep & the Lord appears to him in the night & says He heard his prayer & if His people, who bear His name, humble themselves, pray & seek His face, & turn from their evil ways, then He will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, & heal their land. He says one big ‘yes, my son.’
Years pass. & Solomon’s son Rehoboam is on the throne, & he isn’t living according to God’s rule. So God sends one of His prophets to the king & has him make the message loud & clear that because His people have abandoned Him, He’s abandoning them. Upon hearing the news, it says that the king & the leaders of Israel humbled themselves & said ‘God is righteous’. & you know what? God kept His promise to Solomon, who by the way wasn’t living in a retirement community down the road where he would even know if God would be still keeping His promise. No, Solomon was dead, & God was still faithful to the promise from Solomon’s prayer.
Now one more. So Abijah was Rehoboam’s son. Solomon’s grandson. David’s great grandson. I don’t want to lose you. Focus. David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah. So Abijah was king of Judah & they still weren’t being obedient to God. So, there was a war between Judah (Abijah) & Israel (Jeroboam). So soon, Judah realizes that Israel has set up an ambush, & they. are. surrounded. So what did they do? They cried out to the Lord.
Judah discovered the battle was in front of them & behind them, so they cried out to the Lord.
Then, the priests blew the trumpets & the men of Judah raised their battle cry.
When the men of Judah raised their battle cry, God…
2 Chronicles 13:14-15
The Judahites succeeded because they depended on the Lord, the God of their ancestors.
They cried out to the Lord. They let out their battle cry in trust, moving forward, believing in the God who readily hears & answers our prayers. They raised their battle cry, & God. That’s all that matters. You see, when we are surrounded before & behind & we can’t see the way of victory, we pray. We need to, love. We need to be fierce once more with our prayers, recognizing them for the power they can hold. We need to pray always. Why? Because we can’t see it all. Because we need to be ready. Because we are devoted to His way. We need to pray before we try to see ourselves out of our tough predicament, where we are surrounded. Pray. Trust. & walk forward by faith. Let out your battle cry, & God will move.