Solomon Dedicates the Temple
7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the LORD’s splendor filled the temple. 7:2 The priests were unable to enter the LORD’s temple because the LORD’s splendor filled the LORD’s temple. 7:3 When all the Israelites saw the fire come down and the LORD’s splendor over the temple, they got on their knees with their faces downward toward the pavement. They worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, “Certainly he is good; certainly his loyal love endures!”
7:4 The king and all the people were presenting sacrifices to the LORD. 7:5 King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 7:6 The priests stood in their assigned spots, along with the Levites who had the musical instruments used for praising the LORD. (These were the ones King David made for giving thanks to the LORD and which were used by David when he offered praise, saying, “Certainly his loyal love endures.”) Opposite the Levites, the priests were blowing the trumpets, while all Israel stood there. 7:7 Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the LORD’s temple. He offered burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat from the peace offerings there, because the bronze altar that Solomon had made was too small to hold all these offerings. 7:8 At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival for seven days. This great assembly included people from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Brook of Egypt in the south. 7:9 On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for seven more days. 7:10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month, Solomon sent the people home. They left happy and contented because of the good the LORD had done for David, Solomon, and his people Israel.
The Lord Gives Solomon a Promise and a Warning
7:11 After Solomon finished building the LORD’s temple and the royal palace, and accomplished all his plans for the LORD’s temple and his royal palace, 7:12 the LORD appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have answered your prayer and chosen this place to be my temple where sacrifices are to be made. 7:13 When I close up the sky so that it doesn’t rain, or command locusts to devour the land’s vegetation, or send a plague among my people, 7:14 if my people, who belong to me, humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, and repudiate their sinful practices, then I will respond from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 7:15 Now I will be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place. 7:16 Now I have chosen and consecrated this temple by making it my permanent home; I will be constantly present there. 7:17 You must serve me as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. 7:18 Then I will establish your dynasty, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor ruling over Israel.’
“If my people, who belong to me, humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, and repudiate their sinful practices, then I will respond from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” – Fee & Stuart (How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth) caution against the error of redefining the terms of a text in order to suit the needs or wishes of the reader. In the present instance, ‘the context of this narrative clearly relates the promise to “this place” (the temple in Jerusalem) and “their land” (Israel, the land of Solomon and the Israelites). Understandably many modern Christians yearn for it to be true of their land wherever they live in the modern world—and so they tend to ignore the fact that God’s promise that he will “hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” was about the only earthly land God’s people could ever claim as “theirs,” the Old Testament land of Israel. In the new covenant, God’s people have no earthly country that is “their land”—despite the tendency of some American Christians to think otherwise about the world. The country all believers now most truly belong to is a heavenly one (Heb 11:16).’
These words ‘take for granted a people who are both called by God’s name and possessed of a land; a passage not therefore to be applied thoughtlessly in our NT times.’ (NBC)
John Piper writes:
‘One of the texts most commonly cited in the hope for imminent revival is 2 Chronicles 7:14, “[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, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Mistaken uses of this verse lessen our confidence in the predictions some make concerning a coming revival.
First, in the original context where God speaks these words to Solomon, the term “my people” refers to the people of Israel, and therefore the term “their land” refers to a land that is really “theirs” in the sense of God’s giving it to them as a covenant blessing, namely, the land of Israel. But when we apply this text to our contemporary situation, “my people” would refer to the Christian Church who cannot say, in whatever country that they reside, that this country is “their land.” The church has no land, the way Israel had a land. The Christian Church is a pilgrim people. We are aliens and exiles (1 Peter 2:11). Therefore, the proper application of 2 Chronicles 7:14 would, perhaps, be that, if the church will humble herself and pray and seek God’s face and turn from her wicked ways, God will incline to heal the church. But it goes beyond what this text assures if we say that any country where the Christian church humbles herself will experience a Great Awakening.’
(A Hunger for God, p115f)