Based on 2 Chronicles 4:1-5:1
There may be readers now wishing we would stick with the New Testament readings and not spend so much time in 2 Chronicles. The danger is that we will only read in the New, dismissing the Old as boring, ancient history, irrelevant to what happens in the Gospels and Epistles. Nothing could be further from the truth. In our Old Testament reading for today, we learn of the commitment of King Solomon and the people to building a beautiful place for the worship of the Lord God, with prayer and sacrifice. The sacrificial system in Judaism was elaborate and extensive, as it was an essential part of redemption and atonement. It’s amazing to consider how everything that was done in the building of the Temple was aimed at sacrifice — the offering of appropriate gifts to the Lord God.
Luther writes, now, however, “it is certain the Christ himself is the sacrifice—indeed, even the altar—who sacrificed himself with his own blood. Now whereas the sacrifice performed by the Levitical priest took away only artificial sins…so our high priest, Christ, by his own sacrifice and blood, has taken away the true sin, that which in its very nature is sin. He has gone in once for all through the curtain to God to make atonement for us. Hebrews 9:12” (Luther’s Works, American Edition). As we read about the completion of the temple, we see prefigured the saving work of Christ Jesus, who is sacrifice, temple and altar.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we give thanks for your sacrifice, for forgiveness and new life. Amen.
Lenten response: Search “Solomon’s Temple” on the internet for a video explanation.
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. 4:1–5:1
4:1 He made a bronze altar, 30 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet high. 2He also made the big bronze basin called “The Sea.” It measured 15 feet from rim to rim, was circular in shape, and stood seven and one-half feet high. Its circumference was 45 feet. 3Images of bulls were under it all the way around, ten every eighteen inches all the way around. The bulls were in two rows and had been cast with “The Sea.” 4“The Sea” stood on top of twelve bulls. Three faced northward, three westward, three southward, and three eastward. “The Sea” was placed on top of them, and they all faced outward. 5It was four fingers thick and its rim was like that of a cup shaped like a lily blossom. It could hold 18,000 gallons. 6He made ten washing basins; he put five on the south side and five on the north side. In them they rinsed the items used for burnt sacrifices; the priests washed in “The Sea.”
7He made ten gold lampstands according to specifications and put them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left. 8He made ten tables and set them in the temple, five on the right and five on the left. He also made one hundred gold bowls. 9He made the courtyard of the priests and the large enclosure and its doors; he plated their doors with bronze. 10He put “The Sea” on the south side, in the southeast corner.
11Huram Abi made the pots, shovels, and bowls. He finished all the work on God’s temple he had been assigned by King Solomon. 12He made the two pillars, the two bowl-shaped tops of the pillars, the latticework for the bowl-shaped tops of the two pillars, 13the four hundred pomegranate-shaped ornaments for the latticework of the two pillars (each latticework had two rows of these ornaments at the bowl-shaped top of the pillar), 14the ten movable stands with their ten basins, 15the big bronze basin called “The Sea” with its twelve bulls underneath, 16and the pots, shovels, and meat forks. All the items King Solomon assigned Huram Abi to make for the Lord’s temple were made from polished bronze. 17The king had them cast in earth foundries in the region of the Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan. 18Solomon made so many of these items they did not weigh the bronze.
19Solomon also made these items for God’s temple: the gold altar, the tables on which the Bread of the Presence was kept, 20the pure gold lampstands and their lamps which burned as specified at the entrance to the inner sanctuary, 21the pure gold flower-shaped ornaments, lamps, and tongs, 22the pure gold trimming shears, basins, pans, and censers, and the gold door sockets for the inner sanctuary (the most holy place) and for the doors of the main hall of the temple. 5:1 When Solomon had finished constructing the Lord’s temple, he put the holy items that belonged to his father David (the silver, gold, and all the other articles) in the treasuries of God’s temple.(NET Bible)
72:1 For Solomon.
O God, grant the king the ability to make just decisions!
Grant the king’s son the ability to make fair decisions!
2Then he will judge your people fairly,
and your oppressed ones equitably.
3The mountains will bring news of peace to the people,
and the hills will announce justice.
4He will defend the oppressed among the people;
he will deliver the children of the poor
and crush the oppressor.
5People will fear you as long as the sun and moon remain in the sky,
for generation after generation.
6He will descend like rain on the mown grass,
like showers that drench the earth.
7During his days the godly will flourish;
peace will prevail as long as the moon remains in the sky.
8May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth!
9Before him the coastlands will bow down,
and his enemies will lick the dust.
10The kings of Tarshish and the coastlands will offer gifts;
the kings of Sheba and Seba will bring tribute.
11All kings will bow down to him;
all nations will serve him.
12For he will rescue the needy when they cry out for help,
and the oppressed who have no defender.
13He will take pity on the poor and needy;
the lives of the needy he will save.
14From harm and violence he will defend them;
he will value their lives.
15May he live! May they offer him gold from Sheba!
May they continually pray for him!
May they pronounce blessings on him all day long!
16May there be an abundance of grain in the earth;
on the tops of the mountains may it sway!
May its fruit trees flourish like the forests of Lebanon!
May its crops be as abundant as the grass of the earth!
17May his fame endure!
May his dynasty last as long as the sun remains in the sky!
May they use his name when they formulate their blessings!
May all nations consider him to be favored by God!
18The Lord God, the God of Israel, deserves praise!
He alone accomplishes amazing things!
19His glorious name deserves praise forevermore!
May his majestic splendor fill the whole earth!
We agree! We agree!
20This collection of the prayers of David son of Jesse ends here.(NET Bible)
5:12 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came to him who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he bowed down with his face to the ground and begged him, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” 13So he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” And immediately the leprosy left him. 14Then he ordered the man to tell no one, but commanded him, “Go and show yourself to a priest, and bring the offering for your cleansing, as Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 15But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds were gathering together to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. 16Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
17Now on one of those days, while he was teaching, there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting nearby (who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem), and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. 18Just then some men showed up, carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher. They were trying to bring him in and place him before Jesus. 19But since they found no way to carry him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down on the stretcher through the roof tiles right in front of Jesus. 20When Jesus saw their faith he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 21Then the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to think to themselves, “Who is this man who is uttering blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 22When Jesus perceived their hostile thoughts, he said to them, “Why are you raising objections within yourselves? 23Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 24But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralyzed man – “I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher and go home.” 25Immediately he stood up before them, picked up the stretcher he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. 26Then astonishment seized them all, and they glorified God. They were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen incredible things today.”(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.