As Solomon dedicated the temple, he reminded the Almighty Creator of his promise made to David, his biological father, and petitioned God to make that house of prayer a place whereby the people could obtain forgiveness for their sins once they confessed them. In response to that public petition, “the LORD appeared to Solomon during the night and told him: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for a sacrificial temple to me. Whenever I close the skies so there is no rain, or whenever I command locusts to lay waste to the land, or whenever I send epidemics among my people, when my people humble themselves-the ones called by my name-and pray, seek me, and turn away from their evil practices, I myself will listen from heaven, I will pardon their sins, and I will restore their land. Now therefore my eyes will remain open and my ears will remain listening to the prayers that are offered in this place” (2 Chronicles 7:12-15 ISV). Their loving God demonstrated his caring for “the ones called” by his name by responding to King Solomon’s intercessory prayer personally. The prayer request was answered with clear, concise and to-the-point requirements: 1- My people humble themselves; 2- Pray; 3- Seek me; and 4- Turn away from their evil practices.
It wasn’t a new message. Moses and all the prophets had stated these instructions from the beginning; surely the loving Creator made sure that Adam was given the same requirements after he sinned. All of Adam’s descendants, who humbled himself to the Almighty Creator, received the blessings of heavenly guidance. The people of God demonstrate humility by obedience to his commands given in love for the health and prosperity of his people. The first step, “my people humble themselves” – those words indicate that his people must recognize that he is their maker and they are the created. In other words, the people give him the honor that he deserves.
The next step is to “Pray.’’ If you believe that he is, then you will pray; otherwise you will not have an incentive to talk to the Creator. Those who neglect prayer negate his existence. Are there unbelievers inside the churches? Yes, there are. Observe how many church members go to a prayer meeting; yet prayer is an important step in order to re-establish fellowship in right standing with the Almighty after a person has sinned. Prayer is an ongoing communication and a requirement to re-establish lost communication through sin. The following step, “Seek me,” involves more than just prayer. Seeking includes searching the Scriptures with the determination to know him and be educated into the way of righteousness which he requires. The Scriptures are clear on God’s commandments, and the prophets specify God’s complaints against transgressions.
The last requirement is, “Turn away from your evil practices.” It is clear by this statement that a person has to stop practicing the evil which broke the fellowship with God. Similar to the words which Paul testified to King Agrippa, “…repent, turn to God, and perform deeds that are consistent with such repentance” (Act 26:20). The words, “I am sorry,” are not sufficient, but “deeds consistent with repentance.” The Savior reiterates that, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matthew 12:50). Christ places a priority on doing the will of the Father in heaven. He also gave a parable citing two brothers, one who said that he would work in the field and didn’t ,and the other who said that he wouldn’t but did. Then he asked the Pharisees, “Who did the will of the Father?” The answer was obvious; likewise, visible actions are a sign that true repentance has occurred.
It is a glaring truth in this chapter that God listened to the leader anointed to present the people of Israel’s intercessory prayer. His leadership and the attention which Solomon placed on following the rituals for handling the sacred things inside the temple, the priests who were appointed and the unity of heart of the entire congregation demonstrate their sincere seeking after the favor of God. The account goes on to foretell the future disobedience and destruction of the temple which would serve as proof of their covenant. They would receive blessing if they obeyed and shame if they disobeyed as a testament to all the other nations.