Standing on Your God-Given Platform

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 6:12-21.  Let’s go!

2 Chronicles 6:12-13 (NIV) 
12  Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in front of the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands. 
13  Now he had made a bronze platform, five cubits long, five cubits wide and three cubits high, and had placed it in the center of the outer court. He stood on the platform and then knelt down before the whole assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven.

On verses 12-13:  Here Solomon has a platform on which he stands and speaks to the people of Israel.  Similarly, if you have trusted Jesus as your Saviour, God has given you a platform on which you can stand and influence others.  A big part of that platform is the set of spiritual gifts God has given you.  For a list of many of the spiritual gifts God makes available to His children, see Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 28-31; and Ephesians 4:11-13.  What spiritual gifts has God given to you?  Be sure to discover, practice, develop and use your spiritual gifts with love, humility, and in unity with your church so that others can be brought near to God and so that God’s kingdom can expand on earth.  As 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”  

No Other Name

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 6:1-11.  Let’s go!

2 Chronicles 6:1-3 (NIV) 
1  Then Solomon said, “The LORD has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud; 
2  I have built a magnificent temple for you, a place for you to dwell forever.” 
3  While the whole assembly of Israel was standing there, the king turned around and blessed them.
On verses 1-2:  Remember that just before Solomon speaks in verse 1, to everyone’s surprise a cloud representing God’s glory has miraculously filled the temple (see 5:13-14).  It’s a glorious, unexpected and possibly scary sight.  As Solomon wants to continue on with the temple dedication service, his segue way is brilliant.  By saying, “The Lord has said that he would dwell in a dark cloud” (v1), Solomon reminds the people how in famous times past God also appeared to Moses in a cloud and thick darkness (Exodus 20:21; Psalm 97:2).  In this way, Solomon reassures the people that God is with them.  He helps them to see that the way God is working in their midst right now is consistent with how God has worked in times past.  Solomon also shows the people the significance of this present moment, as they get to dedicate a temple as God’s new dwelling place (v2).

Jesus and the Ark

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 5:1-14. Let’s go!

2 Chronicles 5:1 (NIV) 
1  When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the LORD was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated–the silver and gold and all the furnishings–and he placed them in the treasuries of God’s temple.

On verse 1:  It took Solomon seven years to build the temple of the Lord.  What can we learn from this?  Good things take time to build.  Little by little, bit by bit, God is building us into the temple He made us to be (1 Peter 2:5).  His building project in us was never meant to be done overnight, but takes a lifetime.  So in case you’re prone to beating yourself up, be patient; God is not finished with you yet!

Washed in the Sea of God’s Love

Hi GAMErs,

2 Chronicles 4:6 (NIV) 
6  He then made ten basins for washing and placed five on the south side and five on the north. In them the things to be used for the burnt offerings were rinsed, but the Sea was to be used by the priests for washing. 

On verses 1-18:  Here the Chronicler describes the equipment that Solomon ordered to be made for the temple, including the altar, the Sea (which was a large bronze pool used for the priests to wash to make themselves ceremonially clean), basins for washing things used for the burnt offerings, lampstands, tables, sprinkling bowls, pots and shovels, among other things.  What can we learn from this?

Most of the equipment we read about here was to facilitate the killing and offering of lambs, bulls and other animals as sacrifices for people’s sins.  I would imagine that the house of God back in Solomon’s time was pretty dirty and probably looked, smelled and felt like your local butchery.   But ever since Jesus Christ sacrificed himself on the cross for our sins, there is no more need to shed the blood of animals.   That’s because Christ our sacrificial lamb gave himself for us.  His shed blood is sufficient to cover all of our failures.  Praise God that we don’t need a Sea or basins anymore because we’ve been washed in the cleansing sea of God’s love, the blood of Jesus.

Angels At Work In Your Life (Plus, Who Is The Pillar of God’s Temple?)

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 3:1-17. Let’s go!

On verses 1-14:  In approximately 966 B.C., Solomon begins building the temple in Jerusalem.   What strikes me as I read these verses is how much Solomon incorporated designs of cherubim (i.e. angels) into the temple.  Solomon carves cherubim into the walls (v7) and works them into the curtain (v14).   Most obvious and impressive of all, in the inner sanctuary of the temple called the Most Holy Place, Solomon erects a pair of massive cherubim whose wings span the entire Most Holy Place from wall to wall (v10-13).  Later on Solomon will place the ark of God under the wings of the cherubim (see 2 Chronicles 5:7), such that whenever the high priest would inquire of God at the ark in the Most Holy Place, huge angels would tower over him, watching over him.

Why does Solomon incorporate so many different representations of angels into the temple?  It was to remind the people of what the Bible teaches, that the spiritual realm is real and that angels are real.  Angels are described as powerful, ministering spirits sent to serve God’s people (Hebrews 1:14), protect God’s people (Psalm 34:7), deliver special messages from God (e.g. Judges 6:11-12) and administer God’s will (e.g. Exodus 12:23; Daniel 10:10; Acts 12:23).  

Are You An Artist? Use Your Talents to Build God’s House

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 2:1-18.  Let’s go!
2 Chronicles 2:7 (NIV) 
7  “Send me, therefore, a man skilled to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, and in purple, crimson and blue yarn, and experienced in the art of engraving, to work in Judah and Jerusalem with my skilled craftsmen, whom my father David provided.
2 Chronicles 2:13-14 (NIV) 
13  “I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, 
14  whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your craftsmen and with those of my lord, David your father.
On verses 1-16:  In 1 Kings 5, we read of the same situation where King Solomon gets ready to build the temple in Jerusalem.  He enlists the help of Hiram king of Tyre, forming an economic partnership with Hiram whereby Hiram would provide cedar and pine logs from Lebanon for the temple and in exchange Solomon would send wheat, barley, wine and olive oil. 

Worship God, Then Reign with God

Hi GAMErs,

Today we begin the book of 2 Chronicles and there are many powerful lessons we can learn from today’s passage, 2 Chronicles 1:1-17. Let’s go!

2 Chronicles 1:3-6 (NIV)
3 and Solomon and the whole assembly went to the high place at Gibeon, for God’s Tent of Meeting was there, which Moses the LORD’s servant had made in the desert.
4 Now David had brought up the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim to the place he had prepared for it, because he had pitched a tent for it in Jerusalem.
5 But the bronze altar that Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, had made was in Gibeon in front of the tabernacle of the LORD; so Solomon and the assembly inquired of him there.
6 Solomon went up to the bronze altar before the LORD in the Tent of Meeting and offered a thousand burnt offerings on it.

On verses 1-6: Solomon is now the new king of Israel in place of his father David (v1). After speaking with his leaders, Solomon’s first order of business is to go and worship the Lord and inquire of Him. But then here’s a question: where should Solomon go to inquire of God?

Jesus Your Sacrificial Lamb and the Paul’s In Your Life

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Philemon 1:17-25.  Let’s go!

Philemon 1:17-19 (NIV) 
17  So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.
18  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.
19  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I will pay it back–not to mention that you owe me your very self.

On verses 17-19:  Earlier in verses 8 to 16 we saw Paul acting as a mediator between Philemon and Onesimus, trying to help Philemon and Onesimus reconcile with one another.  But here in these verses we see Paul going beyond what a typical mediator would do.  For while a mediator’s role is help two warring sides reach an agreement, a mediator normally does not sacrifice himself just so that the two sides can reconcile.  But that’s what Paul does.  Paul writes in verses 17-18, “So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.” To emphasize how serious he is about this, Paul even takes his secretary Timothy’s pen and writes these words himself on the scroll: “I will pay it back” (v19).

Your Gentle Mediator is Jesus

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Philemon 1:8-16.  Let’s go!

Philemon 1:8-11 (NIV) 
8  Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do,
9  yet I appeal to you on the basis of love. I then, as Paul–an old man and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus–

On verses 8-9:  Paul had a special role in Philemon’s life.  For one, Paul was the one whom God used to lead Philemon to Christ (v19).  In this way Paul was like a spiritual father to Philemon.  Not only that, Paul’s disciple Epaphras was the one who started the church in Colosse that met in Philemon’s home and so, like a spiritual grandfather to the Colossian Christians, Paul’s words carried special weight.  Yet instead of throwing his weight around and using his rights and authority to order Philemon to do what he should do (v8), Paul appeals to Philemon gently and meekly “on the basis of love” (v9) – not as an authoritarian apostle, but as “an old man” and as “a prisoner of Christ Jesus” (v9).   From this I learn an important lesson:

If You Love That Person, Do THIS Before You Challenge or Criticize Them

Hi GAMErs,
Today we begin the book of Philemon, a letter Paul wrote during his first imprisonment in Rome between 61 to 63 AD (imprisoned for preaching the gospel).  Here is some background you will find helpful: 

Paul wrote this letter to a man called Philemon.  Who was Philemon?  Philemon lived in the city of Colosse and came to faith in Christ through the ministry of Paul (v19).  Later on Philemon would open up his home for the church in Colosse to use as their meeting place.  The fact that Philemon had a home large enough to host a church and owned slaves like Onesimus suggests that Philemon was wealthy.
Paul’s reason for writing Philemon personally is because one of Philemon’s slaves, called Onesimus, had stolen something from Philemon, ran away, only to meet Paul in Rome and become a Christian under his ministry.  Onesimus becomes useful to Paul’s ministry, but Paul feels it is best to send Onesimus back to Philemon, encouraging Philemon to forgive his former slave and take him in again.