Connect360: Our Only Hope

  |  Source: BaptistWay Press

Lesson 11 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Solomon: No Ordinary Kind of Wisdom” focuses on 2 Chronicles 7:11-22.

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  • Lesson 11 in the BaptistWay Press Connect360 unit “Solomon: No Ordinary Kind of Wisdom” focuses on 2 Chronicles 7:11-22.

God was ready to establish a covenant with his people. A covenant is simply a promissory relationship in which at least two parties agree to a set of behaviors. The Bible is filled with covenants God has made with humanity.

Probably the most well-known of all God’s covenants sounds like this: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). In this salvation covenant, there are behaviors required of God and of people. God’s part is to love all people unconditionally, give us Jesus as a perfect sacrifice for sins, and give us eternal life. We have something we must do, too. We must believe. We must place faith in Jesus as Savior and in God as a promise keeper. We confess our belief to God in a prayer when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins and save our souls. We confess our belief to others as a testimony of faith when we tell them plainly that Jesus is our Savior and Lord.

God was making a covenant with Solomon and Solomon’s kingdom. From the people God asked humility, prayer, and that they seek him and turn from their wicked ways. God will hear, forgive and heal.

Faith and belief required

From his people, God is asking for faith and belief. Everything listed above—humility, prayer, seeking God, and turning from wickedness—has faith and belief in the loving and good heart of God as its foundation.

Let’s take prayer as an example. Prayer requires faith and belief. Without believing there is a God who listens and responds to our prayers, we are nothing more than crazy people talking aloud in an empty room. Prayer also requires humility. The very act of prayer assumes God is sovereign (while we are not), God is mighty (while we are weak), and God is capable of doing things beyond our powers and abilities. Because we are needy, therefore, we approach God in humility. Even our body language in prayer suggests humility; heads bowed, eyes closed, and perhaps on our knees or faces before God.

While “seeking God” is also foundational to prayer, so is “turning from our wicked ways.” In my experience, every genuine encounter I have had with God always resulted in a desire to be a better person, and, with God’s help, to overcome evil and sin in my life. In fact, I consider the two so intricately linked, that I believe a strong desire to turn from one’s wicked ways is an evidence of a genuine encounter with God. In contrast, if I hear a testimony from someone claiming a powerful encounter with God, but see no evidence of that claim making a difference in how that person lives, and especially if there is sin that is obvious, I have to question the validity of the claim. And, of course, the same is true of myself.

In the stillness

Finally, we should carefully consider the timeline of our story. For Solomon and his kingdom, those were powerful and remarkable days. God’s Spirit had “moved into” the Temple in dramatic, undeniable fashion. The people responded with an “all in” approach as they worshiped and celebrated their relationship with the One True God. Those were days that would be remembered and retold for centuries.

But note this. It was in the stillness and quiet of the moments that followed, when the crowds had gone home, that God reached out to Solomon with the terms of his covenant. While the celebration moments were certainly memorable and exciting, it was in the still moments God communicated very clearly the most important message of all. And Solomon knew exactly what God said, and exactly what God wanted him to do. So can we.

Compiled by Stan Granberry, marketing coordinator for BaptistWay Press.

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