Uniform Adult Sunday School Lesson for March 25, 2018
To commit to “turn from [our] wicked ways” and seek God
2 Chronicles 7:12-22 (CEB)
12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place as my house of sacrifice. 13 When I close the sky so that there is no rain or I order the locusts to consume the land or I send a plague against my people, 14 if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15 From now on my eyes will be open and my ears will pay attention to the prayers offered in this place, 16 because I have chosen this temple and declared it holy so that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. 1 7As for you, if you will walk before me just as your father David did, doing all that I have commanded you and keeping my regulations and case laws, 18 then I will establish your royal throne, just as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a successor ruling in Israel. 19 But if any of you ever turn away from and abandon the regulations and commands that I have given you, and go to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot you from my land that I gave you, and I will reject this temple that I made holy for my name. I will make it a joke, insulted by everyone. 21 Everyone who passes by this temple—so lofty now—will be shocked and will wonder, Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and temple? 22 The answer will come, Because they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods, worshipping and serving them. This is why God brought all this disaster on them.
If my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
This is our fourth lesson in this series, and maybe one of the most important for today’s Christian.
God said, “If my people . . . seek my face . . . I will hear . . . forgive . . . and heal” (2 Chronicles 7:14). God also said, “When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13).
Jesus said, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). The opposite of seeking is not seeking. Yet worse than not seeking is willfully abandoning or rejecting. Like the people of Israel, we may be tempted to offer our allegiance to false gods (career, wealth, power, luxury, popularity) and cease to give our devoted and undivided worship to the one true God. What do we sacrifice when we do this?
Jesus promised the kingdom of God here on earth and in the life to come. When we live within God’s kingdom on earth, we experience fellowship with other believers. We reap “the fruit of the Spirit . . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). We know “the peace of God that exceeds all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). We pray with confidence knowing that our prayers are heard, forgiveness is granted, and our loving God calls us righteous.
When the people of Israel abandoned God, they lost their land and their Temple. When we abandon God, we sacrifice the Kingdom here on earth and in eternal life. Jesus said, “Seek first” “strive first for” (NRSV), “desire first and foremost God’s kingdom” (CEB). It is an amazing and loving invitation.
God’s message is the same for us as it was for those in Solomon’s day,. My hymn for this week is “Depth of Mercy.”