Night Appearances II: Directing Repentance

“The Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people,  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. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name, my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. As for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne…’

“’But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve and worship other gods, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?’ They will say, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” 2 Chronicles 7:12-22

Solomon had finally finished the house of the Lord- all he had planned to do was successfully accomplished. He had led an Israel at peace in sacrifice and a prayer of dedication, and God’s glory had filled the temple. The rest of his reign lay before him, and all of God’s promises were his to own. And into this night of unlimited possibilities, God almighty appeared. His understanding of what was at stake compelled Him to express both encouragement in His promises and warning against their rejection. (2 Chronicles 6:12-7:3,11)

Many are our opportunities every day, but especially at specific crossroads in life: after completion of schooling, at the start of a marriage, at the birth of a child, after a geographic move, at retirement. When something momentous has been completed, there is a sense of satisfaction (and relief) and a thrill at what lies ahead. It can be easy to allow the swell of enthusiasm at accomplishment to puff into pride, self-sufficiency, or a captivation with the glamour of success. It is here our holy God stops us and reminds us whose we are and why we are here. Beware temptations to run after false gods, and when you fall, repent!

How seriously do we heed God’s warnings against falling to temptation? Where have we let sneak into our successes a sense of desert or superiority, and thus disregarded God’s supremacy? (Matthew 26:41; 1 Peter 5:8)

Lord, keep me attuned to Your words of warning, and my heart soft to repentance, to the honor of Your grace.

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