Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all that Solomon had planned to do in the house of the Lord and in his own house he successfully accomplished. Then 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, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house so that my name may be there forever; my eyes and my heart will be there for all time. 2 Chronicles 7:11-16 (NRSVUE)
It can be so hard for children (and adults) to do what they are told and listen to authority all the time. Brush your teeth, pick up your room, stop hitting your brother and don’t jump off that! These are just a few phrases that I’ve used over time with the boys in my house. As adults we would like to think that our experience brings sound advice and is often times followed. However, as much as we like to consistently guide and lead our children, in the end they have to make decisions for themselves. These decisions have positive or negative consequences that the kids (and parents) have to learn to live with.
These verses lay out God‘s expectations and consequences very specifically. All of God’s people who want to be saved must humble themselves and pray for forgiveness of their sins. God warns of the coming challenges he is to present to his followers and they need to choose which path to take. Be in the house of Solomon and pray for forgiveness because God said he is listening, or continue in their sinful ways?
Whether it’s parents with their children, or God with all of us, a trusting relationship is needed. As parents we build that relationship over time through our words and actions. Consistent love, communication and respect go a long way in establishing a positive dynamic between parent and child. The same goes for our relationship with God. We must understand that God loves us! God simply asks us to worship only Him and to give up our sins of the world. Just as we might reprimand a child for negative choices, God is clear that consequences are coming for those who choose another path. Know that God will always be there to listen and forgive us our sins. This is a reminder of the humble hearts we need to live our lives with every day.
Questions for Reflection:
- How much have we learned even today with the choices we make?
- How can you improve your relationship with God by improving your relationship with others?
We are asked to worship You and give up our sinful ways. This continues to be easier said than done in our day-to-day lives. Help us take a few moments to begin our day in prayer and reflect on our choices, humbling ourselves by asking your forgiveness. Amen