"GOD'S REMEDY FOR A SICK NATION"
Intro. For seven years they have been building the temple on Mount Moriah and it is now completed. The time has come to dedicate the Temple, and the people have gathered together for this special occasion. Solomon is kneeling on a small platform that has been built for the occasion and his hands are lifted toward heaven as he offers this prayer.
I. IN HIS PRAYER HE FIRST RECOGNIZES THE PURPOSE FOR THIS HOUSE.
A. Not a house to contain God (The universe is not large enough to contain Him).
B. A place where men might come to meet God in order to find forgiveness of sins.
1. A place to offer their sin offerings, that they might find a covering for their sins.
2. The sacrifice of the animals could never put away their sins, but covered their sins.
C. Lord, keep Your eyes on this place continually and when people come here to pray, hear from Your dwelling place in heaven, and when You hear, forgive.
II. THIS IS TO BE A PLACE FOR THE SETTLING OF THE SIN ISSUE.
A. Personal sins, and national sins.
1. Sin is always destructive.
a. It will destroy you individually.
b. It will destroy a nation.
2. Forgiveness is necessary to save you from the inherent destruction that sin brings.
B. May this be a place where truth is revealed.
1. If a man sins against his neighbor but denies his guilt, and is brought to this altar to take an oath that he is innocent, may You reveal the truth so that the righteous may be justified and the guilty punished.
C. National sin against God.
1. If Your people go out to fight against their enemies and are defeated because they have sinned, if they come to this house and confess their sin and seek Your help, hear from Your dwelling place in heaven and forgive their sin.
2. If You punish their sins by bringing a drought on the land, and they come to this place and confess and turn from their sin, then hear from Your place in heaven, and forgive their sin, and send them rain.
3. Next Solomon sees a variety of problems that might come from their turning their backs on the ways of God.
a. Crop failure.
b. Pestilences such as flu viruses, bubonic plague, smallpox.
c. Crops damaged by strong winds, mildew, or locusts. Again if they come to this place and confess their sins, and seek Your forgiveness, do forgive as You see the sincerity of their heart. Only, You, Lord know the heart of the people.
4. When strangers come to this place from a far country because they have heard of Your greatness, answer their prayers that they may know the greatness of your love and power.
5. When Your people go out to war and they come to this place to pray for your help, help them in the battle and maintain their cause.
6. If Your people have sinned against You and they are taken as captives to a another country, if they turn to you and confess their sin, and they turn toward this house and pray, forgive their sin and help their cause.
III. THE RESPONSE OF GOD TO THE PRAYER OF SOLOMON. AS HE FINISHED HIS PRAYER:
A. Fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and the sacrifices.
1. This is the same kind of spontaneous combustion that took place when the Tabernacle was dedicated in the wilderness.
B. The Glory of God filled the Temple.
1. It is a sign of God's stamp of blessing upon this place.
2. The glory of God was so strong that the priests could not enter the temple.
C. The people responded bowing their faces to the ground and worshipping and praising God, saying He is good and His mercy endures forever.
D. They then offered the sacrifices of 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep. This was a barbecue to end all barbecues. For these were peace offerings, which were great feasts where the sacrifices were roasted and the meat given to the people who would sit down to eat with God.
E. This celebration lasted for eight days.
F. Now the festivities are over, the people have returned to their villages, the once crowded streets seem empty. This is a time of great let down.
G. There is nothing quite so empty as the summer camp grounds when all of the kids have left after a full and exciting week.
IV. SOLOMON HAS RETURNED TO HIS PALACE AND HAS GONE TO BED. HIS MIND IS STILL ON THE LORD AND THE EXCITING OCCASION WHEN THE CROWDS WERE THERE FEASTING AND REJOICING OVER THE BEAUTIFUL TEMPLE. WE READ,
And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;
A. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, forest fires, floods are events that are generally looked at as natural disasters, which they are, but God allows them in order to get our attention. You might call them "wake-up calls."
1. I believe that 9\11 was a wake-up call to America.
2. For a little while we woke up, but soon lapsed back into our sleep of death.
3. What will it take to truly wake us up?
4. As a nation we have turned from God, we are guilty of all kinds of national sins.
5. We are worshipping the gods of pleasure and sex.
6. The thought of righteousness and God are openly ridiculed daily on radio and T.V.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
B. The four things that the people must do.
1. Humble themselves.
3. Seek His face.
4. Turn from their wicked ways.
C. What God will do.
1. Hear from heaven.
2. Forgive their sin.
3. Heal their land.
D. As we look at the history of the nation, there were many times that they turned their backs to God. They rebelled against His commandments, they began to worship other gods.
1. The results were always disastrous.
2. When a nation forsakes God, God forsakes the nation.
3. They ultimately were conquered by other nations and went into captivity.
4. It is interesting that when in captivity in Babylon we read that Daniel turned his face toward Jerusalem and called on the Lord. Daniel said:
I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and awesome God, that keeps His covenant and mercy to them that love Him, and to them that keep His commandments;
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and from Your judgments:
Neither have we listened to Your servants the prophets, which spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
O Lord, You are righteousness, but we are confused this day; all the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, near, and far off in all the countries where You have scattered them, because of their trespasses that they have trespassed against You.
O Lord, we are in confusion because we have sinned against You.
You are a merciful and forgiving God though we have rebelled against You;
Neither have we obeyed Your voice to walk in Your laws, which You have set before us by Your servants the prophets.
All Israel has transgressed Your law, by departing from You, and not obeying Your voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that was written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against You.
You have confirmed the words, which he spoke against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven there has not been such devastation as done to Jerusalem.
As [it is] written in the law of Moses, all this evil has come upon us: yet we offered not our prayer before the LORD our God, nor turned from our iniquities, to understand Your truth.
Therefore the LORD has brought upon us this evil upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which he does: for we obeyed not His voice.
And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and have become renown, as it this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly.
O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I beseech thee, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, and Your holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all that are about us.
Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and cause Your face to shine upon Your sanctuary that is desolate, for Your sake.
O my God, incline Your ear, and hear; open Your eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before You for our righteousness, but for Your great mercies.
O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; do not defer, for Your own sake, O my God: for Your city and Your people are called by Your name.
5. Daniel must have been thinking of the prayer of Solomon and God's response to him. For Solomon had prayed:
Now, my God, I beseech thee, let Your eyes be open, and [let] Your ears [be] attentive to the prayers that are made in this place.
6. God answered,
Now My eyes shall be open, and My ears attentive to the prayers that are offered in this place. Daniel prayed, Incline Your ear and hear, open Your eyes and behold.
IV. THE WONDERFUL PROMISE OF GOD.
A. If the people will pray and seek God's face and turn from their sin, He will forgive their sin, and heal their land.
B. God has promised if we would come to Him and confess our sin, that He is faithful and just and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
C. Solomon later wrote:
He that seeks to hide his sins shall not prosper: but whoever will confess and forsake them shall find mercy.