Adult Sunday School Lesson for March 18, 2018
To express our thankfulness to God with heartfelt, awe-inspired worship
Background: 2 Chronicles 7:1-11
2 Chronicles 7:1-9 (CEB)
1 As soon as Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the entirely burned offering and the sacrifices, while the Lord’s glory filled the temple. 2 The priests were unable to enter the Lord’s temple because the Lord’s glory had filled the Lord’s temple. 3 All the Israelites were watching when the fire fell. As the Lord’s glory filled the temple, they knelt down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, worshipping and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “Yes, God is good! Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!”
4 Then the king and all the people sacrificed to the Lord. 5 King Solomon sacrificed twenty-two thousand oxen and one hundred twenty thousand sheep when the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 6 The priests stood at their posts, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!” and which David had used when he gave praise. Across from them, the priests were blowing trumpets while all Israel was standing.
7 Solomon also dedicated the middle of the courtyard in front of the Lord’s temple. He had to offer the entirely burned offerings and the fat of the well-being sacrifices there because the bronze altar Solomon had made was too small to contain the entirely burned offerings, the grain offerings, and the pieces of fat.
8 At that time Solomon, together with all Israel, celebrated the festival for seven days. It was a very large assembly that came from Lebo-hamath to the border of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day there was a gathering. They had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for another seven days.
All the Israelites were watching when the fire fell. As the Lord’s glory filled the temple, they knelt down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, worshipping and giving thanks to the Lord, saying, “Yes, God is good! Yes, God’s faithful love lasts forever!” (2 Chronicles 7:3)
This week’s lesson is a continuation of last week’s lesson. Our overall theme for this months lessons are “Follow In My Ways.”
The goal is to get us to think about how we do worship. Is our worship meaningful to us and to God? If you could design or plan a worship service, what would it include?
The worship service in our text was years in the making, and King Solomon planned it both as a coronation of the newly built temple and combined it with the Festival of Booths and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.. So we have three holidays rolled into about 20 days of celebration. This year it begins with Rosh Hashanah (New Year) Sept. 10, then Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) Sept. 19, then ends with Sukkot (Festival of Booths/Tabernacles), on Sept.24-30.
When you see all that Solomon was celebrating and the period of time involved you can understand the enormous amount of sacrifices it took just to feed that many people for all of those days.
The promise made to David was partially fulfilled by Solomon’s building of the Temple, but the best part for us is that God’s promise from the previous chapter. In 6:21 when Solomon prayed, “Listen from your heavenly dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive!” . God offers forgiveness to everyone through David’s descendant Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God offers everlasting life to all who believe.
For the people in Solomon’s day the all consuming fire confirmed God’s acceptance of the offerings made. Today we depend on a changed life as proof of God’s acceptance of our offering of repentance. Lives changed are every bit as powerful as a temple filled with smoke. When we repent we offer ourselves, our desires, our time, and a willingness to change from a life of taking to a life of giving and growing to be more like Christ.
Most worship services today are based on the “Road to Emmaus” story found in Luke 24:13-35. That is we have a “Gathering,” “Proclamation” “Communion” “Sending Forth.” Our services consist of various forms of that encounter. The goal should be for us to be as excited about meeting Jesus as those on the road to Emmaus, after they knew they had encountered Jesus.
My hymn for this week is “I Surrender All”