Based on 2 Chronicles 7:1-10
I love the account of the building of Solomon’s Temple and its dedication. How moving to hear that as soon as the king finished his prayer of dedication, “fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.”
Some who claim to have particular spiritual insight in our day are able to experience the glory and presence of God in worship and in daily life. I guess I’m not so spiritual and attuned. I appreciate the beauty that God has created around us and offer thanks and praise, but I pretty much shuffle through life putting one foot in front of the other.
The one time in my life when I have a sense of God’s majesty and glory, is in worship. The priests in Jerusalem couldn’t enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled it. We can enter the Lord’s house every week to behold the glory of the Lord, in our midst, in our presence, as the Lord our God becomes incarnate among us, full of grace and truth, in Jesus Christ, who comes to us in Word and Sacrament. I love soaring cathedrals, Gothic churches, stained glass windows, beautiful carved altars — but without these, we will still behold God’s glory, whenever there is the Word and the Sacrament. For God’s glory and presence are not in wood and stone, but in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh to dwell with us. Let us, with the Israelites, bow our faces to the ground, worshiping and giving thanks, to the Lord, saying, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever!”
Prayer: Lord God, we behold the glory of your presence, in Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Lenten response: Receive the glory of Christ’s presence today in worship.
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. 7:1–10
7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the Lord’s splendor filled the temple. 2The priests were unable to enter the Lord’s temple because the Lord’s splendor filled the Lord’s temple. 3When all the Israelites saw the fire come down and the Lord’s splendor over the temple, they got on their knees with their faces downward toward the pavement. They worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “Certainly he is good; certainly his loyal love endures!”
4The king and all the people were presenting sacrifices to the Lord. 5King Solomon sacrificed 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep. Then the king and all the people dedicated God’s temple. 6The priests stood in their assigned spots, along with the Levites who had the musical instruments used for praising the Lord. (These were the ones King David made for giving thanks to the Lord and which were used by David when he offered praise, saying, “Certainly his loyal love endures.”) Opposite the Levites, the priests were blowing the trumpets, while all Israel stood there. 7Solomon consecrated the middle of the courtyard that is in front of the Lord’s temple. He offered burnt sacrifices, grain offerings, and the fat from the peace offerings there, because the bronze altar that Solomon had made was too small to hold all these offerings. 8At that time Solomon and all Israel with him celebrated a festival for seven days. This great assembly included people from Lebo Hamath in the north to the Stream of Egypt in the south. 9On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had dedicated the altar for seven days and celebrated the festival for seven more days. 10On the twenty-third day of the seventh month, Solomon sent the people home. They left happy and contented because of the good the Lord had done for David, Solomon, and his people Israel.(NET Bible)
77:1 For the music director, Jeduthun; a psalm of Asaph.
I will cry out to God and call for help!
I will cry out to God and he will pay attention to me.
2In my time of trouble I sought the Lord.
I kept my hand raised in prayer throughout the night.
I refused to be comforted.
3I said, “I will remember God while I groan;
I will think about him while my strength leaves me.” (Selah)
4You held my eyelids open;
I was troubled and could not speak.
5I thought about the days of old,
about ancient times.
6I said, “During the night I will remember the song I once sang;
I will think very carefully.”
I tried to make sense of what was happening.
7I asked, “Will the Lord reject me forever?
Will he never again show me his favor?
8Has his loyal love disappeared forever?
Has his promise failed forever?
9Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has his anger stifled his compassion?” (Selah)
10Then I said, “I am sickened by the thought
that the Most High might become inactive.
11I will remember the works of the Lord.
Yes, I will remember the amazing things you did long ago!
12I will think about all you have done;
I will reflect upon your deeds!”
13 O God, your deeds are extraordinary!
What god can compare to our great God?
14You are the God who does amazing things;
you have revealed your strength among the nations.
15You delivered your people by your strength –
the children of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah)
16The waters saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and trembled.
Yes, the depths of the sea shook with fear.
17The clouds poured down rain;
the skies thundered.
Yes, your arrows flashed about.
18Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;
the lightning bolts lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook.
19You walked through the sea;
you passed through the surging waters,
but left no footprints.
20You led your people like a flock of sheep,
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.(NET Bible)
6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38Give, and it will be given to you: A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use will be the measure you receive.”
39He also told them a parable: “Someone who is blind cannot lead another who is blind, can he? Won’t they both fall into a pit? 40A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher. 41Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own? 42How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while you yourself don’t see the beam in your own? You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
43 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from brambles. 45The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart.
46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do what I tell you?
47 “Everyone who comes to me and listens to my words and puts them into practice – I will show you what he is like: 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep, and laid the foundation on bedrock. When a flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49But the person who hears and does not put my words into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against that house, it collapsed immediately, and was utterly destroyed!”(NET Bible)
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.
In regard to the Church Luther says in the same writing: “The Church also has no power to establish new divine promises of grace, as some foolishly speak, that everything which the Church ordains is of no lesser authority than that which is ordained of God, since she is guided by the Holy Spirit. For the Church comes into being through the word of promise through faith … God’s Word stands incomparably high above the Church, in this Word she, as a creature, cannot resolve, order, or execute but can only be resolved, ordered, and carried out. For who generates his father, who has rst called his Creator into being?” (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.