“Now Solomon the son of David was strengthened in his kingdom, and the Lord his God was with him and exalted him exceedingly. And Solomon spoke to all Israel, to the captains of thousands and of hundreds, to the judges, and to every leader in all Israel, the heads of the fathers’ houses. Then Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place that was at Gibeon; for the tabernacle of meeting with God was there, which Moses the servant of the Lord had made in the wilderness. But David had brought up the ark of God from Kirjath Jearim to the place David had prepared for it, for he had pitched a tent for it at Jerusalem. Now the bronze altar that Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made, he put before the tabernacle of the Lord; Solomon and the assembly sought Him there. And Solomon went up there to the bronze altar before the Lord, which was at the tabernacle of meeting, and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it. On that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, ‘Ask! What shall I give you?’” 2 Chronicles 1:1-7 (NKJV)
It is easy for us to read the narrative of 2 Chronicles 1 and for our attention to be drawn to Solomon’s humility and God’s gracious response to it. But, in a rush to apply, many preachers skip over an important factor in the chapter: By the time Solomon became king, the act of worshipping God had become separated from the presence of God. The writer even tells us that the Tabernacle was in Gibeon, while the Ark of the Covenant was in a tent in Jerusalem. What does that mean? It means the people of Israel were more involved with the practice of worshipping God than they were concerned with the power of His presence and personally seeking His counsel.
Generations later, in the days of Jeremiah, Israel was again going through the motions of religion instead of seeking the Lord and His Word. In essence, God made a statement (through Jeremiah, His spokesman) about the ark of the covenant. God said that if the people sought a personal relationship (marriage) with Him, He would withdraw His ark altogether. There is no need to seek a person you are continually walking alongside. Sadly, Israel chose religion over relationship. So, the ark of the covenant’s absence today is a punitive sign, as opposed to a sign of life.
“Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.” Jeremiah 3:14-16 (NKJV)
The great grace of God in today’s chapter is that He appeared to Solomon in Gibeon. God is not handcuffed to the ark. God can go wherever He pleases, but His discussion with Solomon led Solomon back to Jerusalem and the rejoining of His presence & man’s practice of worship. His grace leads to repentance.
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
Are you thirsty for Biblical truth? Sign up to our mailing list for FREE daily devotionals personally written by Pastor Steve Wiggins.