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Building Dedication: A Place with Purpose (2 Chronicles 6:24-31; 7:12-14)

By Marvin A. McMickle | Senior Pastor of Antioch Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio

 (Note: This sermon was preached at the dedication service for a renovated sanctuary.)

Many Christians are familiar with the words that are found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 in which God says to Solomon:

If my people that 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 sins, and will heal their land.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard those words invoked as people talk about the importance of prayer, or about God’s ability to answer prayer, or even about what God requires in terms of spiritual integrity from those who turn to God in prayer. There is no doubt that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is among the most widely heard and most frequently invoked passages in the Bible.

What is less widely known is that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not a verse that can be read or interpreted as a stand alone passage; instead it must be read and considered in the wider context of several chapters in 2 Chronicles. 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the end of a story that focuses on the dedication of the great temple of Solomon in the ancient city of Jerusalem. That temple no longer stands today. Its walls have long since been knocked down, and the only part that remains is one wall, called the western wall or the Wailing Wall, which is considered to this very day to be holy ground for Jewish worshipers.

However, even that wall is not an original part of Solomon’s temple; that wall was built when King Herod tried to rebuild the walls after one of the many times when conquering armies marched into Jerusalem and burned down the walls as a sign of their conquest. There is a magnificent Islamic structure that stands upon the ground where the temple of Solomon once stood; it is a mosque called The Dome of the Rock. It has a brilliant, gold colored dome that sparkles in the sun and can be seen from miles away in every direction. When modern travelers to Jerusalem see The Dome of the Rock they get some idea of what it would have been like to be in Jerusalem when the temple of Solomon was still standing. It would have been the most majestic building that any Jewish person, and also that most foreign travelers had ever seen.

There is a story behind the construction of that temple. King David had wanted to build the temple to God’s glory when he was alive, but God would not allow David to build that religious structure because of David’s past sins, and most especially his sin with Bathsheba. Therefore, the honor of overseeing the construction of the temple that would stand to the glory of God fell to King Solomon; David’s son and successor. In the earlier chapters of 2 Chronicles the description of the building process can be found. Then, in the sixth and seventh chapters, Solomon offers a prayer of consecration for his newly finished temple. The familiar words of 2 Chronicles 7:14 occur as God’s response to Solomon’s prayer of dedication.

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