by Brenda Black
“But will God really dwell on earth with men? The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain you...Yet give attention to your servant's prayer and his plea for mercy, O Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence...Hear from heaven, your dwelling place; and when you hear, forgive.” (2 Chronicles 6:18-21)
Solomon's prayer of dedication incites the Lord's mercy and blessings, but it began with an agreement: “'O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth—you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.'” (2 Ch. 6:14) He quotes the Lord's commitment, made to his father David, as contingent on the servant's obedience: “...if only your sons are careful in all they do to walk before me according to my law, as you have done.”
Lest you think God is all about performance before He will impart His presence, take a look at all the ways He waits to reach into our lives and save us from our own self destruction. The rest of the chapter addresses a truck load of foibles to which humanity succumbs. When a man wrongs his neighbor...When your people have been defeated...When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you...When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when enemies besiege them in any of their cities... The list is long and harrowing, yet as Solomon cites a litany of ways we stray, he begs for God's mercy and believes in His faithfulness.
“Whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made...then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers.” (2 Ch. 6:6:28b-31)
The plea in a criminal case is the defendant's statement pleading “guilty” or “not guilty” in answer to the charges. In a plea bargain, an arrangement is made between a prosecutor and a defendant whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in the expectation of leniency. The miraculous factor in God's courtroom is that no matter the crime, an honest confession renders mercy! I think I would rather take my case before a perfectly holy, sovereign and just God!
Lest you think God is a pushover, heed Solomon's invitation that asks the Lord to have eyes open and ears attentive. God is watching, as judge. But He also desires to be your Mighty Defender, when you come clean with Him, turn it over, and let Him be your Counselor.
“The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:9-14)