Based on 2 Chronicles 2:1-18
Today, we hear of King Solomon, preparing to build the Temple in Jerusalem. What a magnificent place it would be. Solomon needed all kinds of building materials and laborers to complete the work, which would stand on the mountain — in Jerusalem. To this day, we marvel when we see depictions of Solomon’s Temple, where he built a house for the Lord God. Of course, Solomon would also build himself a palace.
And where are these great structures today? You can see remnants of them, excavated now in the archeological digs in Jerusalem, but they are no longer standing. It is a reminder and a proclamation to us of the temporal nature of life, of human structures and institutions. Even the great temples in Jerusalem were thrown down. And yet, “the word of our God will stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8). This is a worthwhile message as we struggle in North America with an increasingly secular culture, shrinking worship attendance and challenges to keep and maintain our church buildings. What truly matters? Our buildings? Our institutions? Or the Word of God?
Prayer: Lord God, keep us focused on you, our great God and King, and your Word, and not on bricks, mortar and worldly, human institutions and structures. Amen.
Lenten response: Read Isaiah 40, the great chapter which reminds us that “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field…but the word of our God…”
This year’s devotional was prepared by the Rev. Dr. David Wendel, NALC assistant to the bishop for ministry and ecumenism. To learn more about A Lenten Walk Through the Word, visit thenalc.org/lent.
Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Chron. 2:1–18
2:1 (1:18) Solomon ordered a temple to be built to honor the Lord, as well as a royal palace for himself. 2(2:1) Solomon had 70,000 common laborers and 80,000 stonecutters in the hills, in addition to 3,600 supervisors.
3Solomon sent a message to King Huram of Tyre: “Help me as you did my father David, when you sent him cedar logs for the construction of his palace. 4Look, I am ready to build a temple to honor the Lord my God and to dedicate it to him in order to burn fragrant incense before him, to set out the bread that is regularly displayed, and to offer burnt sacrifices each morning and evening, and on Sabbaths, new moon festivals, and at other times appointed by the Lord our God. This is something Israel must do on a permanent basis. 5I will build a great temple, for our God is greater than all gods. 6Of course, who can really build a temple for him, since the sky and the highest heavens cannot contain him? Who am I that I should build him a temple! It will really be only a place to offer sacrifices before him.
7“Now send me a man who is skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, and iron, as well as purple-, crimson-, and blue-colored fabrics, and who knows how to engrave. He will work with my skilled craftsmen here in Jerusalem and Judah, whom my father David provided. 8Send me cedars, evergreens, and algum trees from Lebanon, for I know your servants are adept at cutting down trees in Lebanon. My servants will work with your servants 9to supply me with large quantities of timber, for I am building a great, magnificent temple. 10Look, I will pay your servants who cut the timber 20,000 cors of ground wheat, 20,000 cors of barley, 120,000 gallons of wine, and 120,000 gallons of olive oil.”
11King Huram of Tyre sent this letter to Solomon: “Because the Lord loves his people, he has made you their king.” 12Huram also said, “Worthy of praise is the Lord God of Israel, who made the sky and the earth! He has given King David a wise son who has discernment and insight and will build a temple for the Lord, as well as a royal palace for himself. 13Now I am sending you Huram Abi, a skilled and capable man, 14whose mother is a Danite and whose father is a Tyrian. He knows how to work with gold, silver, bronze, iron, stones, and wood, as well as purple, blue, white, and crimson fabrics. He knows how to do all kinds of engraving and understands any design given to him. He will work with your skilled craftsmen and the skilled craftsmen of my lord David your father. 15Now let my lord send to his servants the wheat, barley, olive oil, and wine he has promised; 16we will get all the timber you need from Lebanon and bring it in raft-like bundles by sea to Joppa. You can then haul it on up to Jerusalem.”
17Solomon took a census of all the male resident foreigners in the land of Israel, after the census his father David had taken. There were 153,600 in all. 18He designated 70,000 as common laborers, 80,000 as stonecutters in the hills, and 3,600 as supervisors to make sure the people completed the work.(NET Bible)
70:1 For the music director, by David; written to get God’s attention.
O God, please be willing to rescue me.
O Lord, hurry and help me.
2May those who are trying to take my life
be embarrassed and ashamed.
May those who want to harm me
be turned back and ashamed.
3May those who say, “Aha! Aha!”
be driven back and disgraced.
4May all those who seek you be happy and rejoice in you.
May those who love to experience your deliverance say continually,
“May God be praised!”
5I am oppressed and needy.
O God, hurry to me.
You are my helper and my deliverer.
O Lord, do not delay.(NET Bible)
4:31 So he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath he began to teach the people. 32They were amazed at his teaching because he spoke with authority.
33Now in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34“Ha! Leave us alone, Jesus the Nazarene! Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35But Jesus rebuked him: “Silence! Come out of him!” Then, after the demon threw the man down in their midst, he came out of him without hurting him. 36They were all amazed and began to say to one another, “What’s happening here? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” 37So the news about him spread into all areas of the region.
38After Jesus left the synagogue, he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39So he stood over her, commanded the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.
40As the sun was setting, all those who had any relatives sick with various diseases brought them to Jesus. He placed his hands on every one of them and healed them. 41Demons also came out of many, crying out, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak because they knew that he was the Christ.(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
In [Luther’s] writing, Concerning the Papacy at Rome against the most famous Romanist at Leipzig, which appeared toward the end of June , we read: “I merely contend for two things, the rst, I will not permit men to posit new articles of faith and scold, defame, and judge all other Christians as heretics, renegades, in dels only because they do not submit to the Pope. It is enough that we let the Pope be Pope (in which sense this is to be understood he clearly states in the foregoing) … . The other, everything that the Pope claims, makes, and does will I receive in this wise that I will first examine it according to the Holy Scripture. It must remain under Christ and be judged by Scripture.” (18)
–Johann Michael Reu, Luther on the Scriptures
This daily Bible reading guide, Reading the Word of God, was conceived and prepared as a result of the ongoing discussions between representatives of three church bodies: Lutheran Church—Canada (LCC), The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). The following individuals have represented their church bodies and approved this introduction and the reading guide: LCC: President Robert Bugbee; NALC: Bishop John Bradosky, Revs. Mark Chavez, James Nestingen, and David Wendel; LCMS: Revs. Albert Collver, Joel Lehenbauer, John Pless, and Larry Vogel.