painting - family around a dinner table

Reflecting on 2 Chronicles 7 12-22

We are studying 2 Chronicles 7:12-22 – that is, God’s response to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the new [first] Temple in Jerusalem – this week. This text is God’s direct speech, describing God’s relationship to the prayer made in and towards Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, and to the people who make that prayer. A central question for us might be what insight we gain into God from this speech? What can it tell us, for instance, about God’s character? Actions? Intentions? Desires? “God’s will”?

Is this insight equally pertinent to God now – today – as it would have been at the time of Solomon, do we think? Or, is it less pertinent now than it might have been in the past? What makes us think that?

Some notes on the text are here – and here. Here are some additional questions we might want to reflect on, or discuss in class.

Does this speech give us any insight into the relationship God seeks to have with Israel, that is, the people of Israel? How would we describe that relationship?

Does this seem to tell us anything about the relationship God wants to have with humanity (that is, not only with Israel, but with all people)? How would we describe that relationship?

[more personal] What are our thoughts and feelings about that relationship? [For instance – desirable, or undesirable, for people? Beneficial? Loving and caring? Most like what kind of human relationship? …] Why?

What are our personal responses to this speech? Do we ourselves find it appealing or unappealing? Why? What thoughts and feelings do we have? What seems to give rise to those?

[more personal] What do our responses seem to tell us about ourselves?

How does the picture of God, and of God’s desired relationship with people, given in this text compare to our current idea(s) about God? That is, in what way or ways does the text reinforce our ideas about God? In what way or ways does it challenge or conflict with our ideas about God?

Where have our ideas about God come from, do we think? Have they been informed by this text at all? Should they be, do we think? Why, or why not? 

Overall, we might want to explore our responses to the message that God’s relationship of protection and care – at least as expressed in this text – also incorporates conditions. The people addressed in this speech are expected to live up to some clear standards. If they don’t, there will be consequences. Those consequences emanate from God. At least, that’s how I read this text. But my experience is that many contemporary readers resist a message like this, and have to struggle to find some way to accept it. That, to me, is particularly interesting, and worth looking at more closely.

Image: “Am Mittagstisch,” an image by Hermann Groeber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons,

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