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The God who hears. 2 Chronicles 6
The God who hears
2 Chronicles 6

For the last month- through the book of Chronicles - we have been tracing the building of the Temple-- which was once the greatest building on earth- for the glory of God once resided there, it was a place of prayer for all nations, and it was the centre of all authorized sacrifices to God for sin.

Today, the Temple is no longer needed because Jesus - in his death on the cross- offered a once for all sacrifice for our sins-- taking the punishment we deserve, that we might be forgiven and come to have eternal life. Further, we who are the followers of Christ are regarded as the temple of God, for His Holy Spirit indwells us and we can boldly approach his throne at any time.

To conclude our little mini series we are going to take a look this morning at 2 Chronicles 6. In this chapter Ezra reminds the people of when Solomon dedicated the Temple to the service of Lord.

A central part of the dedication service featured Solomon praying a very long prayer.

The prayer, save for some changes at the back end, is identical to the one in 1 Kings 8. While the core wording of the prayer is pretty much the same as the 1 Kings 8 passage, the emphasis of the prayer as recorded in 2 Chronicles 6 is quite different.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: To determine the emphasis of the prayer of 2 Chronicles 6 we must understand the context. In the 1 Kings 8 account the prayer- in its original context was exclusively future oriented and prophetic. From the time of 1 Kings 8 to the writing of 2 Chronicles 6, more than 500 years have gone by. Since that time plagues, drought, war, exile, injustice, and hardship had come-- all things addressed prophetically by Solomon in his prayer.

So then, what is the focus and purpose of the dedication prayer of Solomon as it is recorded in Chronicles? The focus and purpose is one that we can connect with-- particularly as framed as a question "DOES GOD HEAR OUR PRAYERS? DOES GOD HEAR MY PRAYERS?"

This is what the Israelites were wondering. This is what we sometimes wonder ourselves

As it regards the subject of prayer we are occasionally at a loss

-we often don't pray as we should
-we often struggle in our motives as it regards prayer
-when we do pray, we sometimes wonder if it makes any difference, we wonder if God really is listening or really does care, we wonder why his answers take so long. Sometimes it even feels like our words are bouncing off the ceiling and going nowhere.

I'd like to invite you to turn in your Bibles to 2 Chronicles 6, and let's read together Solomon's prayer of dedication- a prayer that 12 times calls upon God to "Hear from Heaven". It is a prayer that is meant to stir up our faith and hope as it regards the LORD and our prayers

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT

I. GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS

God hears the prayers of those who call upon His Name in spirit and in truth

A walk through the examples given by Solomon

a. God hears the prayer of those who cry out for justice v.22-23

b. God hears the prayers of those who have been defeated by their enemies. When defeat at the hands of an enemy comes because of sin and waywardness and then one turns back to God in faith and repentance, God will hear the prayers of his people and He will deliver and restore v.24-25

c. God hears the prayers of those who have and are going through drought. When the rain stops falling and drought falls upon the land- and note the cause-- because of the peoples sin-- when the people turn back to God, confessing their sin, God will their prayers and forgive and again send the rains v.26-27. Note the conditionality

d. God hears the prayers of those who are experiencing plague, famine, blight, mildew, grasshoppers, etc. When plague, famine, blight, mildew, grasshoppers, or whatever other "natural disaster"- which are not really natural at all- happen- and people then repent, God will hear their prayers and forgive and restore v.28-31 note the conditionality

e. When people who are not Jewish seek God out in Spirit, in truth, from the heart, with a right heart, God hears their prayers v.32-33 Note the conditionality

f. When the Israelites go to war against those sworn to destroy them and they seek the face of God, God will hear their prayers and uphold their cause. v.34-35 Note the conditionality

g. When a person sins and hard times come and then they confess their sin, own up to the fact that they have acted wickedly and turn to God will all their heart in faith and repentance, God will hear, forgive, and uphold their cause. v 36-39 Note the conditionality

As we walked through Solomon's examples of God HEARING the prayers of people, were you able to discern a common thread that ran throughout them?

II. God specifically hears and answers the prayers of those who humbly confess their sins and make him the object of their faith and trust****

POINT: WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH THE SIN IN OUR LIFE. UNCONFESSED SIN HINDERS OUR PRAYERS

We have to examine ourselves - against the Word of God which reveals to us God's holy and unchangeable standards. We have to deal with all known sin in our lives if we are to experience the fullness of God's blessings.

Consider for a moment God's response to Solomon's prayer as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14; " "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

I know that if I'm fighting with my wife, full of anger and bitterness, not content, swearing and cursing, stealing, being sexually impure, not being honest, being ungrateful, etc-- I know that if I'm doing these things and don't care and don't see such as sin and aren't making efforts to change that my prayers will not be effective-- for it is the prayers of the righteous that are powerful and effective.

In Psalm 66:18 it says; "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;

And so we say to God, open my eyes, convict me of my sin, make plain to me what I'm doing wrong, give me a heart that is pure, and holy. Give me an attitude and mind that is like Christ's.

III. SOME OTHER STUFF AS IT REGARDS GOD HEARING OUR PRAYERS

1. The LORD, He alone hears our prayers see v.14

Note what Solomon says in verse 14; "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on Earth."

God doesn't respond when people call him Krishna, Allah -as in the Allah of the Bible, the enlightened one, and try to come to him by means of Mary, a saint, or whoever.

Note: Olori noted that in Gloria's tribe that God has a different name (a name unique to her tribe but only and always meaning the God of the Bible)

There is one true God existing as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We are to call upon Him in faith and exclusively. There is no room for pretenders and their is to be no accommodation on our parts to the idea that we (amongst the various religions of this world) serve the same God.
As per the teaching of Christ, we pray to the Father, in the name of Christ, by the agency and power of the Holy Spirit
Psalm 145:18 says "God is near to all who call to Him- to all who call to Him in truth."

2. We are to be a people of prayer
3. We are to pray about all things, at all times, casting our cares upon Him, for He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7
4. Prayer has different aspects: praise, thanks, confession, intercession, silence, complaint, surrender, trust
5. Prayer involves waiting and a surrendering to His perfect will and timing
6. The goal of prayer is to get our will and desires to line up with God's
7. It's a good thing when our prayers are shaped and directed by the Word of God. i.e see Matthew 9:38 or Matthew 5:44

Jesus says to us in Matthew 9:38 "Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." The Lord will not deny such a request.

Jesus also says in Matthew 5:44 "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,"

8. Prayer and faith go together


RANDOM QUESTION as it regards your prayer life

When do you feel best in prayer?

In thinking about my prayer life as it regards this message I had a bunch of thoughts-- "Prayer is tough", "Sometimes it feels futile-- but I know it isn't". I also thought-- I feel best in prayer when I'm genuinely thanking God for something."

IV. When calling out to Him we must hold on to this great truth. HE IS GOOD. HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER

Note also how the retelling of the dedication is framed-- and this does not exist in the first

In 2 Chronicles 5:13 we are told that the choir raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Likewise, at the end of Solomon's dedicatory prayer is the very same refrain-- this time offered by the people gathered "He is good; His love endures forever."

No matter what happens we need to hold on to the unchangeable truth that God is good and that His love endures forever***-- particularly when He says No, Wait, or "Deal with the sin in your life first"

Famous song with this refrain occurring 26 times-- PSALM 136

Over and over again this declaration is made "He is God. His love endures forever". That's mightily important for us to remember.

CONCLUSION


We all get discouraged, at times we all feel like our prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and going nowhere.

The big message of the prayer of dedication in the 2 Chronicles account is "GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS"

When we deal with sin in our life GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS

When a person comes to Him in faith, calling upon His Name, with a humble heart GOD HEARS THEIR PRAYER

Don't be discouraged. Hold on to your faith. Prayer is not a waste of time or an ineffective practice. Prayer is necessary act. Remember: GOD HEARS YOUR PRAYERS.


Closing song: His love endures forever