Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in 2 Chronicles 1-13 : Solomon's Story|
Introduction to 2 Chronicles
The Context of these Studies
2 Chronicles follows the death of King David and the appointing of Solomon, his son, as king. The fact of him being king is already established and so what we will see in the coming chapters is simply the events of Solomon's reign as they unfold.
1 Kings and 2 Chronicles
2 Chronicles 1 is paralleled by 1 Kings 3 and it is worth reading the parallel accounts to see the differences. Perhaps one of the primary differences is that 1 Kings seems to give more spiritual reasons for things happening than Chronicles. Chronicles seems to be more of a straight forward account of the things that happened in Solomon's reign, but because they are intertwined with the activity of the Lord, there is plenty about the Lord to be seen. However for the reasons for Solomon's downfall we need to turn to 1 Kings and we will do that later in these studies. There is an amazing lesson in all these studies. Watch out!
The Events of these Studies
In this portion of Scripture we will see:
Part 1 : Wisdom and the Temple Building
In this first Part we will see the reason for Solomon's extraordinary success – the wisdom he was given by God. See that and see it as the cause for all the blessing that follows. We will then observe his activities in bringing the Temple into being that lasted right the way through the reigns of all the kings up until just before the Exile.
Chapter: 2 Chron 1
Passage: 2 Chron 1:1-6
A. Find Out:
1. Why was Solomon firmly established? v.1
2. To whom did Solomon speak? v.2
3. Where did they go, and why? v.3
4. But where was the Ark ? v.4
5. But what was before the Tent of Meeting? v.5
6. So what did Solomon do there? v.5,6
1. What was Solomon intending when he called the people?
2. Where did he choose to do this?
3. How did he start doing it?
At the end of 1 Chronicles Solomon was made king. Now we see the first thing he did as king. At the outset we are told that he was great and the reason for that was that the Lord had made him so. Solomon was not a great king by natural talent but because God made him so.
Solomon's first act as king is to call the leaders together, along with the people, to come with him to Gibeon where the Tabernacle still was. This was considered to be the meeting place with God, so Solomon's first act is to call the people to seek and meet with God.
The Ark had been taken from the Tabernacle up to Jerusalem by David, but Solomon's desire in meeting with God is to first present sacrifices to God. For this reason they went to Gibeon where there was an altar at the Tabernacle on which they could sacrifice. In all of this there is a sign of humility in Solomon, and a submission to Almighty God. Solomon could have started his reign by making mighty declarations but instead he brings the people to God. There is within him an acknowledgement that he needs God and is willing to come to God in the prescribed way. A good start!
Chapter: 2 Chron 1
Passage: 2 Chron 1:7-12
A. Find Out:
1. What did God say to Solomon, when? v.7
2. To whom did Solomon refer? v.8
3. What did he ask in relation to him? v.9
4. For what did he then ask, and why? v.10
5. What had he not asked for? v.11
6. What did God say He would give him? v.12
1. How does Solomon gain confidence from the past to ask for the present?
2. How is God seen to be concerned with spiritual and material well being?
Solomon has been seeking the Lord, but the Lord waits until he is alone in the night to speak to him. God takes the initiative and invites Solomon to ask for whatever he wants. What a test! An opportunity for greatness, an opportunity to rise up by status! But Solomon indicates he is already a recipient of great wisdom. He looks back and is aware that God had greatly blessed his father, David. He remembers that God had promised to David that his son would sit on his throne (1 Chron 17:11 -13) and establish it. Solomon realises that this is a great task, and that he will need great wisdom to achieve it.
His request for wisdom pleases the Lord. He could have set his heart on riches and fame but instead he asked for that which he needed to make him a good ruler, to enable him to be a blessing to Israel . Because of that he had indicated that he could perhaps also be trusted with great wealth, so God will give him that as well as the wisdom he asked for. God's giving will not be skimpy, it will be in abundance! Solomon will be known in history for it!
1. The Need of Wisdom
2. Blessing the world
Chapter: 2 Chron 1/2
Passage: 2 Chron 1:13- 2:2
A. Find Out:
1. From where did Solomon reign over Israel ? v.13
2. How many horses or chariots did he have? v.14
3. What signs of wealth were there in Jerusalem ? v.15
4. What did they import or export? v.16,17
5. What two buildings did Solomon order to be built? v.1
6. How many men were involved in the building? v.2
1. What was a sign of the magnitude of Solomon's army?
2. What was a sign of his general wealth?
3. What indication is there of foreign trade in those days?
Initially this passage does not seem to convey any great spiritual significance. It tells us that after his encounter with the Lord, Solomon established his rule from Jerusalem and became very rich. He had large numbers of chariots and horses (for his army and as a means of transport), gold and silver were plentiful, and he was able to import the best from abroad.
However, there are at least two things we need to observe. First, this is all as promised by God (v.12), i.e. this is God's provision, this material abundance. The second thing therefore follows: God is not against material prosperity! Greek thinking, which sometimes seems to creep into Christianity, denounces material things, yet the material world and all its provisions (oil, precious stones etc.) are from God.
The problem is not with the provision; the problem is with the way we respond to it. God has provided a material world and it is good, but we can idolise it and make gaining riches the greatest thing. We can receive the abundance of God's riches and ignore the needs of others less fortunate than ourselves. God gives in great abundance so that we can pass on His provision and share it around - at least that's how it is supposed to be!
1. Right Priorities
Chapter: 2 Chron 2
Passage: 2 Chron 2:3-10
A. Find Out:
1. To whom did Solomon write & what did he ask for? v.3
2. Why did he say he wanted to build a temple? v.4
3. What was it to be like, and why? v.5
4. Yet what was the problem with that? v.6
5. Who did he ask Hiram to send? v.7
6. What did he further ask and say he would do? v.8-10
1. What had been the past connection with Hiram (read 1 Chron 14:1)
2. How clear is Solomon as to the purpose of the new temple?
3. How clear is he about God?
As Solomon writes to Hiram we can observe several clear points that tell us a lot.
First, to be able to make such demands of Hiram, Solomon has a strong confidence in who he is. Presumably Hiram had previously provided for David as he recognised David's greatness. No, Solomon clearly felt he had the same grounds for asking.
Second, Solomon's understanding of the purpose of the temple is quite precise. He clearly knows and understands the sacrificial system that God gave Israel . He is a man who has been brought up in the fear and knowledge of the Lord.
Third, his understanding of God is also specific and this understanding limits the use of the temple. He knows that God is so great that He can't be housed in a building, however great it might be. Therefore the best that this new building can be is a place for the people to come as a focus on God, where they can come and offer sacrifices to Him. In all these ways Solomon showed his wisdom and understanding of the things of God.
1. Sacrifices no longer needed,
2. God's greatness.
Chapter: 2 Chron 2
Passage: 2 Chron 2:11-18
A. Find Out:
1. Why, according to Hiram, had God made Solomon king? v.11
2. How did Hiram view the Lord? v.12a
3. How did he view Solomon? v.12b
4. Who was Hiram sending? v.13,14a
5. What did Hiram want in exchange? v.15
6. Who did Solomon use for the preparation work? v.17,18
1. What are we told of Hiram's relationship with the Lord?
2. What are we told of his attitude towards Solomon?
3. What is the outworking of both of these?
We now find out something more of Hiram. We know he is the king of a small coastal province to the north of Israel . We know he had dealt with David in the past. We now know that he has quite an understanding of the Lord. He sees Solomon being made king, as a work of the Lord, and a work of blessing for Israel . He knows God as Creator of all things and as the covenant keeping God of Israel.
Perhaps it is this understanding that makes him the man he is, one open to Solomon, recognising Solomon's wisdom and willing to co-operate with Solomon in building the temple. He sends top craftsmen to help in the work and he will provide materials as requested. In return he will be paid in food and drink. For the work of cutting the materials and transporting them to Israel , Solomon uses those in his country who are not Hebrews.
In all of this we should note the following things: first, the temple of the Lord is built with the co-operation of a gentile king. God does not put any prohibition on Solomon getting help from such a one. God is, after all, God of Jew and Gentile. Second, note that Hiram has good understanding of who the Lord is, presumably through his previous contacts with David.
1. Limited perspective?
2. Lights to the world
Chapter: 2 Chron 3/5
Passage: 2 Chron 3:1-7 / 5:1
A. Find Out:
1. Where was the temple built? v.1
2. When did he begin building? v.2
3. How big was the building? v.3
4. With what did they overlay the inside? v.4-7
5. What did Solomon eventually put in it? 5:1
1. Read the whole of chapters 3 & 4
3. Is there anything particular that strikes you in these 2 chapters?
The temple design was basically 30 x 30 feet squares, the first being the portico or entrance, the second being the main hall and the last being the Most Holy Place (Holy of Holies - other versions). It was obviously made of stone and the inside was lined with pine and overlaid with gold. When you went in, all you would see of the structure was gold - awesome!
The fixtures of the temple were a massive altar which must have sat outside (see the sizes at the bottom of the page of your Bible), a large circular “Sea”, ten basins for washing, ten lamp stands, ten tables and a multitude of bowls, pots etc. Inside the temple was a gold altar, some tables on which bread was placed and some lamp stands for the Most Holy Place . All of these, remember, were solely for the purpose of enabling the people to come and present sacrifices (offerings) to the Lord. All this is for the expressing of sacrificial worship.
Many of us today tend not to have a high view of church architecture because we feel we shouldn't need any help in knowing God, yet the design of the temple was quite staggering. When you went in there, you knew there was nowhere else like it; it was impressive! Here was the meeting place with the Lord!
1. Coming in worship.
2. Coming in worship.
A. Find Out:
1. What was Solomon's next task & who did he call for it? v.2
2. Who brought what? v.4,5
3. What did Solomon and the people do? v.6
4. Where was the ark put & what was inside it? v.7-10
5. What did the priests do & then the Levites etc. do? v.11-13
6. What then happened? v.13c,14
1. What, obviously, was their attitude towards the ark?
2. What was their attitude towards God?
3. How did God respond?
The ark was a box but it had come to be associated with the manifest presence of God (see Samuel's story and the story of David trying to bring up the ark). Therefore when Solomon moves it from the tent to the temple he does so with great care and great reverence. He calls all his leaders to be there and he ensures that the Levites (those who God had appointed for the task) carried it. As it was moved they appear to have a continual “sacrifice service” going on, as if to acknowledge the Lord and His holiness every step of the way.
As they bring it into the temple and it is placed in the Most Holy Place , the Levite musicians and priestly trumpet players play and sing and worship God. It is as if they welcome God into His temple in the most whole-hearted manner possible.
Then, even as had occurred when the tabernacle had first been completed, the glory of the Lord filled the place. It was as if the Lord was approving all that had been done and was acknowledging it by His manifest presence. So great was it, that no one could do anything.
The lesson that must come from this episode must surely by that when we do all that the Lord has instructed us to do, we may expect Him to bless us with His manifest presence in whatever way is appropriate in the circumstances.
1. Obedience is all-important.
2. God blesses obedience.
RECAP - "Wisdom & the Temple Building" - 2 Chronicles 1-5
In this first group of 7 studies we have seen :
- Solomon established as king (1:1-6)
- The Lord appearing to Solomon at night (1:7-12)
- asking Solomon what he wanted v.7,
- Solomon asking for wisdom v.8-10
- God promising wisdom and riches v.11-12
- An indication of Solomon's power and riches ( 1:13 -17)
- Solomon using Hiram to provide for the temple (2:1-18)
- The Temple being built (3:1-7)
- Bringing in the ark & the glory filling the Temple (5:2-14)
These chapters have two main emphases. First there is the wisdom that God gives Solomon and its effect. We're only given a glimmer of its effect at the moment, more will come later. Next there is the building of the Temple . We may be tempted to write this off, but we need to realise that this Temple was the focus of Israel 's faith throughout the period of the kings. Solomon's relationship with Hiram is an expression of his wisdom and results in material being provided for the Temple . The arrival of the ark is followed by the temple being filled with the glory of God – an indication of His presence and approval of the works and activity.
1. We need the Lord's wisdom in our lives.
2. Riches are God's blessing and need to be used wisely.
3. We are the temple of God and He indwells us.
4. God wants us to bless unbelievers as well as believers.
5. Coming to God needs an open, whole heart.
Ask the Lord to grant you His wisdom (Jas 1:5). Thank the Lord that He is with us, in us.
PART 2 : "In the Temple "
In this next Part we will see Solomon praying and the Lord speaking. Note all the details carefully.