0318 L3-The People Gave Thanks to God

The People Gave Thanks to God

March 18 • Bible Study Guide 3

Bible Background • 2 CHRONICLES 7:1–11
Printed Text • 2 CHRONICLES 7:1–9 | Devotional Reading • PSALM 138

Aim for Change

By the end of this lesson, we will: AGREE with being thankful and worship God; ASPIRE to worship Him in both simple and grand ways; and PLAN a celebratory worship service to celebrate God’s promises.

In Focus

It was her 40th birthday, and friends and family surprised Charlene with a birthday party. Food, laughter, and plenty of stories kept the party fun. At the end of the evening, Charlene’s mom hugged her. She said, “Sweetheart, I know it hasn’t been easy. I see the sadness in your eyes. It’s been five years since Stephen died in Afghanistan. God will fill your void and bless you with someone to share your life.” Charlene and her mom hugged as tears ran down their cheeks.
Charlene said, “Sometimes I feel so tired and lost.”
Charlene’s mom whispered, “Let’s pray right now. Dear God, thank You for Your strength and comfort right now. Thank You for blessing Charlene, who has a heart to love and follow You. Encourage her heart. Thank You for hearing and answering prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen. Trust God, Charlene. He is able to handle your fears and sadness.”
Several weeks later, Charlene’s friend Alyssa called. She said, “My brother Eric just moved back to town. I would love for the two of you to meet. Can you come over to my house Saturday afternoon around 2:00? We’re having a family get-together to welcome him home!”
This lesson will demonstrate how God responds with approval to our faithful prayers and worship. How do you show your thankfulness to God?

Keep in Mind

“And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” (2 Chronicles 7:3).

Words You Should Know
A. Glory (2 Chronicles 7:1) kabod (Heb.)—Splendor; refers to the “weighty” presence of a highly desired object.
B. Worshiped (v. 3) shachah (Heb.)—To bow down or prostrate oneself before a superior entity, such as God.

Teacher Preparation
Unifying Principle—Finding Inspiration. People often celebrate what seems important to them. How can their celebrations become a form of worship? As they dedicated the Temple, Solomon and the people worshiped the Lord by bowing on their knees, making burnt offerings, playing music, and praying.
A. Pray that students would celebrate God.
B. Complete Lesson 3 in the Precepts For Living® Personal Study Guide.
C. Be prepared to discuss ways of planning non-religious celebrations (birthdays, showers, picnics) that honor God.

O—Open the Lesson
A. Open with prayer. Remember to invite the Holy Spirit to lead your Bible study.
B. Read Aim for Change and the Keep in Mind verse in unison.
C. Have your class read the In Focus story silently. Invite discussion.
D. Invite class members to share ways in which they worship/show reverence to God. Discuss how fasting from food or other types of abstinence can serve as forms of worship.

P—Present the Scriptures
A. Ask for a volunteer to read the Focal Verses.
B. Ask for volunteers to read The People, Places, and Times, Background, and In Depth sections. Encourage discussion.

E—Explore the Meaning
A. Discuss the Search the Scriptures and Discuss the Meaning sections.
B. Have a volunteer read the Lesson in Our Society section.

N—Next Steps for Application
A. Encourage students to apply the Make It Happen section.
B. Close in prayer.

Worship Guide

For the Superintendent or Teacher
Theme: The People Gave Thanks to God
Song: “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Devotional Reading: Psalm 138

Daily Bible Readings

MONDAY
God Listens to Obedient Worshipers
(John 9:24–38)

TUESDAY
An International Worship Service
(Isaiah 19:19–25)

WEDNESDAY
Hezekiah Arranges a Worship Service
(2 Chronicles 29:25–30)

THURSDAY
Deliverance from Many Troubles
(Psalm 107:1–9)

FRIDAY
Healed and Forgiven
(Psalm 107:17–22)

SATURDAY
Assembly Attendees Blessed by Solomon
(1 Kings 8:54–61)

SUNDAY
Solomon Dedicates the Temple
(2 Chronicles 7:1–9)

KJV

2 Chronicles 7:1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.
3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD.
5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.
6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.
7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.
8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt.
9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.

NLT

2 Chronicles 7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the LORD filled the Temple.
2 The priests could not enter the Temple of the LORD because the glorious presence of the LORD filled it.
3 When all the people of Israel saw the fire coming down and the glorious presence of the LORD filling the Temple, they fell face down on the ground and worshiped and praised the LORD, saying, “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices to the LORD.
5 King Solomon offered a sacrifice of 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. And so the king and all the people dedicated the Temple of God.
6 The priests took their assigned positions, and so did the Levites who were singing, “His faithful love endures forever!” They accompanied the singing with music from the instruments King David had made for praising the LORD. Across from the Levites, the priests blew the trumpets, while all Israel stood.
7 Solomon then consecrated the central area of the courtyard in front of the LORD’s Temple. He offered burnt offerings and the fat of peace offerings there, because the bronze altar he had built could not hold all the burnt offerings, grain offerings, and sacrificial fat.
8 For the next seven days Solomon and all Israel celebrated the Festival of Shelters. A large congregation had gathered from as far away as Lebo-hamath in the north and the Brook of Egypt in the south.
9 On the eighth day they had a closing ceremony, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the Festival of Shelters for seven days.

The People, Places, and Times

King Solomon. Solomon, son of David, became the third king of Israel. He was responsible for building Israel to its largest territorial borders as well as guiding the young nation to its most significant economic prosperity. Early in his reign, King Solomon was faithful to God. One night at a place called Gibeon (where the Tabernacle was located), God appeared to King Solomon in a dream and offered to grant him anything he asked for. King Solomon asked God for wisdom, which he was granted along with great wealth and honor.
King Solomon was the wisest man of his day. He understood botany and zoology and was a great writer (1 Kings 4:33). He is credited with writing three thousand proverbs, one thousand songs (v. 32), two psalms (Psalm 72, 127), and the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon (Proverbs 1:1; Ecclesiastes 1:1).
The Temple. Commonly referred to as Solomon’s Temple, it is one of the king’s most notable accomplishments. The Temple was built in 949 BC in Jerusalem and was completed in seven years by the best craftsmen and with the finest materials (1 Kings 5:6, 6:2–38). Here, God’s name was remembered, and this holy place would become the center of sacrifice, worship, and spiritual strength for the Jewish people of that time.
Do you set aside a space or time to be holy to God where you can spend intentional time with Him?

Background

While King Solomon was given the honor of building and dedicating the Temple, his father, King David, first conceived the idea of building a spectacular house for God (2 Samuel 7:2). Although God did not grant King David permission to build the Temple, King David designed the Temple, gathered building materials, designated its caretakers, and planned the worship services (1 Chronicles 22–26), as Solomon was still young and inexperienced.
The Temple was divided into three sections: (1) a porch, or portico, was the entrance into the temple; (2) the Holy Place, or “main hall,” contained the ten golden candlesticks (1 Kings 7:49), twelve tables with twelve loaves of shewbread, and the incense altar; (3) and the Most Holy Place, or inner sanctuary, is where the Ark of the Covenant and God’s presence resided.
During the days of annual Temple worship, only high priests were allowed to enter the Most Holy Place to be in God’s presence. There they prayed and made atoning sacrifices for themselves and for the entire nation on the Day of Atonement. Solomon’s Temple was destroyed in 586 BC when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and captured the Jewish people.
The innermost sanctuary of the Temple, representing God’s presence, which was once reserved only for high priests, was symbolically made accessible to all believers by Jesus’ atoning death on the Cross. The Temple veil was torn in half, top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). We can now enter into God’s presence at any time or place.
Do you recall a time when answers to prayers were not immediate but you still choose to trust God?

At-A-Glance

1. God’s Glory Fills the Temple 
(2 Chronicles 7:1–2)
2. The People Worship God (v. 3)
3. Sacrifice and Celebrations (vv. 4–9)

In Depth

1. God’s Glory Fills the Temple (2 Chronicles 7:1–2)
King Solomon has completed the prayer he began in the previous chapter (2 Chronicles 6:12–42). As a sign of divine approval for the built Temple, and also for Solomon’s prayer, God sent fire down from heaven to consume the sacrifice that Solomon had placed on the altar (2 Chronicles 7:1).
While we no longer present animal sacrifices to God, we are to present ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). Our bodies are now the temple which God fills with His glorious presence (2  Corinthians 6:16). As we present our lives to God, He will fill us with His Spirit so that we manifest the attributes of His presence (Galatians 5:18–26).
When God answers our prayers, how does it produce greater faith?

2. The People Worship God (v. 3)
When the people saw that God’s presence had filled the Temple, they bowed down and worshiped Him. They shouted praises, “For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” Here we are shown the perfect response to God’s presence—worship!
Worship takes on many forms in believers’ lives. In the physical sense, worship may include standing, kneeling, bowing down, or lifting hands in reverence. In a deeper sense, worship is living in obedience to God’s Word. When God’s presence has consumed us, our hearts will be in a continual state of worship and we will be willing to obey Him in every area of our lives.
How has disobedience to God produced negative consequences in your life as well as others?

3. Sacrifice and Celebrations (vv. 4–9)
A “great congregation” gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Temple. Many people brought sacrifices, and Solomon himself provided 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats. The bronze altar could not fit so many sacrifices, so King Solomon had to consecrate the courtyard to be used for sacrificial offerings.
God’s faithfulness to us is endless and unparalleled. He does not judge us by the size of our offerings, but the motivation of our hearts. Our most significant worship comes from heartfelt obedience, which pleases the Lord (Psalm 51:16–17; Micah 6:6–8). Give from your heart and God will always be honored by your gift.
How can pride hinder our reconciliation with God and others?

Search the Scriptures
1. How did God respond to King Solomon’s prayer (2 Chronicles 7:1)?
2. How did the people respond to the presence of God (v. 3)?

Discuss the Meaning
This lesson teaches us that God faithfully answers prayer, that we should dedicate and regard our bodies as His temple, and that the correct response to God’s presence in our lives is worship. How will you respond to His constant faithfulness and presence in your life?

Lesson in Our Society
We are constantly bombarded by disturbing news, whether it’s about health, finances, relationships, violence, or terrorism. Often, situations appear unresolvable when we rely only on ourselves or the efforts of those around us. We may even feel we have reason to fear or distrust our politicians or law enforcement officials.
In the African American community, we face poverty, fatherlessness, and violence among and against our citizens. But God has not forgotten or turned His back on our communities. He has promised never to forsake us. But have we, as believers, forsaken Him? Are there more folks in the clubs on Saturday night than in the church on Sunday morning?
We must continue to find our inspiration and hope by adhering to and leaning on God’s promises. As believers, we are bound together by our deeply rooted faith in Christ, and only by sharing and celebrating His love for us will we improve our communities and bring peace to our world.
What steps can we take to facilitate healing in our communities as we support those experiencing human rights violations?

Make It Happen
• Pray each day for your community, nation, and world.
• Choose at least one person and pray for them daily this week.
• Organize a celebration at your church specifically designed to encourage and share God’s love with those who live in the surrounding neighborhood.

Follow the Spirit
What God wants me to do:
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Remember Your Thoughts
Special insights I have learned:
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More Light on the Text
2 Chronicles 7:1–9
1 Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.
God is pleased with Solomon’s prayer and supplication and responds positively by consuming the offering and sacrifices with fire from heaven. Divine fire has appeared at other important moments in Israel’s history, such as during the times of Moses (Leviticus 9:23–24), David (1 Chronicles 21:26), and Elijah (1 Kings 18:36–38). The fire here signifies that Solomon has successfully completed building the Temple to God’s specifications, and this new Temple is His dwelling place and the approved place of worship and sacrifice.
God consecrates, or sets apart for holy use, His house by filling it with His glory, just as He once did the Tabernacle in Moses’ time (Exodus 40:34). The Hebrew word for “glory” in these verses is chabod (kah-VODE), literally meaning “weight.” God is a heavyweight when it comes to His beauty, splendor, honor, majesty, and renown!
The Lord’s glory is so intense that the priests were unable to enter into the Temple. This appears to repeat the event described when the Ark was first brought into the Temple—the cloud, the glory of the Lord, filled the Temple so much so that the priests could not continue ministering (2 Chronicles 5:13–14).

3 And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
The glory of God’s presence evokes worship and praise. To worship is to show honor, reverence, and adoration to God. Worship expresses itself verbally in praise. Some Bible translations use the word “thank” rather than “praise.” The Hebrew word here translated “praise” is yadah (yah-dah), meaning to worship with extended hands, to praise, or to give thanks.
Praise and thanksgiving are closely related. To praise God is to express admiration or approval for Him simply for being who He is, and to thank God is to express gratitude for what He has done.
God is both good and merciful. That He is good means that He is the source of everything that makes life possible and worthwhile, and that He is merciful means that God is faithful in His love toward us.
Perhaps a better synonym for the word “mercy” in verse 3 is the word “commitment.” The Hebrew word is chesed (CHEH-sed), which the NLT translates as “faithful love.” God’s intrinsic goodness and mercy are qualities that evoke praise. His demonstration of goodness and mercy to us gives us concrete reasons to thank Him. The refrain “For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever” is echoed in Psalm 106, 118, and 136.

4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. 5 And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God. 6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood. 7 Moreover Solomon hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of the LORD: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Solomon had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat.
The people respond to the Lord’s goodness and mercy in word and deed. Not only do they praise God with their mouths, they also offer Him tangible sacrifices. They offer thousands of animals to the Lord—a lot of bloodshed!
The abundance of sacrifices gives us some insight into the magnitude of the Lord’s goodness and mercy. A generous God deserves unending praise, thanksgiving, and sacrifice. So many sacrifices are offered to Him that a special area in front of the Temple was consecrated to receive all of the sacrifices. Several days of rejoicing followed.
This passage mentions David throughout. In the dedication, the Levites even used musical instruments that King David had made and played (v. 6). Even though God did not allow David to build the Temple, he still played an important part in setting the stage for its construction and this resultant celebration.

8 Also at the same time Solomon kept the feast seven days, and all Israel with him, a very great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt. 9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days.
The festival truly is a kingdom-wide celebration. The people come from as far away as northern Africa to celebrate, represented by the river of Egypt. The “entering in of Hamath” (KJV), also called the city of Lebo-Hamath (NLT), is located in Lebanon, north of Israel. The people praise the Lord with instruments and songs and the celebration lasts for two weeks. The normal seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles is extended for this special occasion.

Say It Correctly

Portico. por-ti-KO.
Hamath. HAH-mahth.

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