Friday, June 10, 2011

They Bowed Down with their Faces to the Ground

“They bowed down with their faces to the ground” (2 Chronicles 7:3)

What is the proper response of a sinner who has seen the glory and holiness of God? When the eyes of a sinner are made to see clearly the majesty of Jesus Christ the only proper response is bowing down in worship. This is the response we see from the people of Israel when they saw the glory of the LORD at the temple dedication: “They bowed down with their faces to the ground.”

"Now, O my God, let your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayer of this place. ‘And now arise, O LORD God, and go to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. Let your priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let your saints rejoice in your goodness. O LORD God, do not turn away the face of your anointed one! Remember your steadfast love for David your servant’” (6:40-42). This is Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple. The people of Israel are standing around listening as Solomon is pleading for God to be magnified in this place but also in the hearts of his people. Solomon concludes: Amen. I’m sure the people were anticipating the sacrifices to be offered to the LORD for the dedication but I’m not sure they knew what was about to happen as soon as Solomon concluded his prayer: “As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (1). Can you imagine? God sent fire from heaven to consume the offering and sacrifices. This is a clear display of God’s amazing power and glory.

Christian, this is our God! Not only did he send fire down to consume the offering and sacrifices but the Bible says he is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). He is not to be taken lightly. He is to be feared because he is God. God is holy, holy, holy. His glory not only fills the temple but fills the heavens and the earth. His glory is radiant throughout everything. We cannot miss his glory. The people of Israel saw it clearly and so much we. But this is the amazing part of the story: God is the one who also opens our eyes to see his glory. He reveals himself to us through his Word. The Holy Spirit awakens us to the glory and majesty of God. Through faith in Christ we are rescued from the wrath of God and brought into his holy temple. He makes us his people.

His glory demands a response. That response will either be one of true devotion and worship of Christ or rejection of Christ. Don’t reject Christ. Don’t turn away from his love demonstrated at the cross. Our God is a consuming fire. He is a jealous God and he will have no rivals. In the end he is either for you or against you, that is based solely on your relationship with Christ.

Remember the Day of Judgment is coming and the response of the Israelites will ultimately be the response of everyone. Either you will bow now, joyfully submitting yourself to Christ as Lord and Savior, or you will bow before him in terror as you see the righteous Creator on Judgment Day. Bow the knee now! At the judgment it will be too late. Remember Isaiah when he saw the glory of the LORD in the temple? His response was much like the Israelites when he said: “Woe is me! I am undone! For I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” That is what a humble heart looks like before a holy God.

Grace upon grace,

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