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First Reading: 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 and 8

2 Chronicles 7

7:1 Solomon Dedicates the Temple
(1 Kings 8:62-66)

When Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. 2 And the priests could not enter the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD's house. 3 When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying:
"For He is good,For His mercy endures forever."
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand bulls and one hundred and twenty thousand sheep. So the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 And the priests attended to their services; the Levites also with instruments of the music of the LORD, which King David had made to praise the LORD, saying, "For His mercy endures forever," whenever David offered praise by their ministry. The priests sounded trumpets opposite them, while all Israel stood.
7 Furthermore Solomon consecrated the middle of the court that was in front of the house of the LORD; for there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the peace offerings, because the bronze altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, the grain offerings, and the fat.
8 At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great assembly from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt. 9 And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly, for they observed the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the good that the LORD had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel. 11 Thus Solomon finished the house of the LORD and the king's house; and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the LORD and in his own house.
12 God's Second Appearance to Solomon
(1 Kings 9:1-9)

Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: "I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying,'You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.'
19 "But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.
21 "And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say,'Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?' 22 Then they will answer, 'Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.'"

2 Chronicles 8

8:1 Solomon's Additional Achievements
(1 Kings 9:10-28)

It came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the house of the LORD and his own house, 2 that the cities which Hiram had given to Solomon, Solomon built them; and he settled the children of Israel there. 3 And Solomon went to Hamath Zobah and seized it. 4 He also built Tadmor in the wilderness, and all the storage cities which he built in Hamath. 5 He built Upper Beth Horon and Lower Beth Horon, fortified cities with walls, gates, and bars, 6 also Baalath and all the storage cities that Solomon had, and all the chariot cities and the cities of the cavalry, and all that Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.
7 All the people who were left of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, who were not of Israel — 8 that is, their descendants who were left in the land after them, whom the children of Israel did not destroy — from these Solomon raised forced labor, as it is to this day. 9 But Solomon did not make the children of Israel servants for his work. Some were men of war, captains of his officers, captains of his chariots, and his cavalry. 10 And others were chiefs of the officials of King Solomon: two hundred and fifty, who ruled over the people.
11 Now Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh up from the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, "My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places to which the ark of the LORD has come are holy."
12 Then Solomon offered burnt offerings to the LORD on the altar of the LORD which he had built before the vestibule, 13 according to the daily rate, offering according to the commandment of Moses, for the Sabbaths, the New Moons, and the three appointed yearly feasts — the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles. 14 And, according to the order of David his father, he appointed the divisions of the priests for their service, the Levites for their duties (to praise and serve before the priests) as the duty of each day required, and the gatekeepers by their divisions at each gate; for so David the man of God had commanded. 15 They did not depart from the command of the king to the priests and Levites concerning any matter or concerning the treasuries.
16 Now all the work of Solomon was well-ordered from the day of the foundation of the house of the LORD until it was finished. So the house of the LORD was completed.
17 Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the seacoast, in the land of Edom. 18 And Hiram sent him ships by the hand of his servants, and servants who knew the sea. They went with the servants of Solomon to Ophir, and acquired four hundred and fifty talents of gold from there, and brought it to King Solomon.

Second Reading: Psalms Chapter 112 and 113

Psalms 112

112:1 The Blessed State of the Righteous

Praise the LORD!
Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,Who delights greatly in His commandments.
2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;The generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,And his righteousness endures forever. 4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. 5 A good man deals graciously and lends;He will guide his affairs with discretion. 6 Surely he will never be shaken;The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. 7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. 8 His heart is established;He will not be afraid,Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
9 He has dispersed abroad,He has given to the poor;His righteousness endures forever;His horn will be exalted with honor. 10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;He will gnash his teeth and melt away;The desire of the wicked shall perish.

Psalms 113

113:1 The Majesty and Condescension of God

Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,Praise the name of the LORD! 2 Blessed be the name of the LORDFrom this time forth and forevermore! 3 From the rising of the sun to its going down The LORD's name is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations,His glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the LORD our God,Who dwells on high, 6 Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor out of the dust,And lifts the needy out of the ash heap, 8 That He may seat him with princes — With the princes of His people. 9 He grants the barren woman a home,Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!

Bible Background



Nebuchadnezzar (Nebo the Mighty) is encountered in the Bible several times. He is the king of Babylon (Chaldea) at the time that Judah is taken captive by the Babylonians. Daniel was among the Hebrew captives that were taken to Babylon and served in Nebuchadnezzar's palace as one of the wise men. In Daniel 2 the story of Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the large image is recounted. It was Nebuchadnezzar who had an image of gold made and ordered everyone to worship it. When Daniel's three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, failed to do so, they were thrown into the fiery furnace only to be saved by God's angel.

Nebuchadnezzar raised his kingdom and city to the greatest splendor; the marvelous hanging gardens are ascribed to him, erected to please Amytis, his queen, by imitating the groves of her native country, Media. He died in B.C. 562, after reigning forty years. He was succeeded by Belshazzar, his grandson.

Even Nebuchadnezzar recognized that God is most high:

At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified him who lives forever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. Daniel 4:34-37 (NIV)


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