Sunday, May 11, 2014

2 Chronicles 2-5 Even highest heaven, cannot contain him

From 2 Chronicles 2-5


Second Chronicles, which extends 1 Chronicles’ history of Judah, was written sometime after the people began to return from the Babylonian exile in 538 B.C. (36:23). The “chronicler,” perhaps trying to encourage the returned exiles, recalls the greatness of Solomon’s reign. Most of the book, however, focuses on Judah’s fall into sin which had led to the exile. Judah had several godly kings, especially Hezekiah and Josiah, but it still declined into sin. Still, God remained faithful to his covenant people, and as the book closes it jumps ahead several years, recording the decree of Cyrus that allowed the Jewish exiles to return to their Promised Land. The author is unknown, although many have thought that Ezra was the principal writer.

(The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (2 Ch). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)


2 Chr 2.1-18; Solomon; Preparing to Build the Temple
2 Chr 3.1-17; Solomon; Solomon Builds the Temple
2 Chr 4.1-5.1; Solomon; The Temple’s Furnishings
2 Chr 5.2-14; Solomon; The Ark Brought to the Temple

Passage and Comments

Note that the last reading of 1 Chronicles ends with 2 Chronicles 1.

David has passed away and Solomon has been established as king. The LORD offers to give Solomon any gift of his choosing and Solomon requests wisdom and knowledge to govern his people. The LORD is pleased with his request and gives him that and more. Solomon becomes wealthy.

In today’s passage Solomon has begun to build the house of the LORD.

3 And Solomon sent word to Hiram the king of Tyre: “As you dealt with David my father and sent him cedar to build himself a house to dwell in, so deal with me. (2 Ch 2:3)

Hiram had friendly and profitable relations with Israel and Judah. Hiram supplied David with materials to build his own house. Solomon has continued the arrangement David had to build the house of the LORD.

4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the LORD my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the LORD our God, as ordained forever for Israel. (2 Ch 2:4-5)

The house will be for the 'name of the LORD'. There his priests will worship him by the above regular practices. The practices are ordained for Israel forever.

5 The house that I am to build will be great, for our God is greater than all gods. 6 But who is able to build him a house, since heaven, even highest heaven, cannot contain him? Who am I to build a house for him, except as a place to make offerings before him? (2 Ch 2:5–6)

Solomon lived in superstitious times. The nations around them believed in other gods. Israel alone worships the one true God. Hear O Israel, the LORD our God. The LORD is one! (Dt 6.4).

Solomon has a big problem. It doesnt matter how big he builds the temple. The LORD wont be able to fit in. A famous children’s song expresses this point well. It says, 'My God is so big, so strong and so mighty. There's nothing my God cannot do.'

Solomon gives glory to God. Nothing can contain the LORD. People may try sometimes to put God in a box. But those who know the LORD as King and Creator of all must come to the logical conclusion that he is bigger and more powerful than anything and everything combined. The only purpose the house will ultimately serve is to be a place where his people can worship him.

Story of Israel

Further into Israel’s history the prophet Isaiah before embarking in his ministry recognises the same.

6 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. 3 And one called to another and said: .“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isa 6:1–3)

The LORD cannot fit in the temple. If he were to wear a robe, not even the end bit, the train of his robe would fit in the temple. The glory of the LORD fills all the heavens and the earth. Which means He is everywhere filling everything.

Story of Jesus

There is one notable exception to the LORD being so big he cannot fit in smaller vessels.

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Phil 2.5-7)

Jesus in the form of God and equal with God could have asserted his authority. But he didnt. He became our servant and sought to meet our deepest needs. He did this by becoming a man.

8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil 2.8)

Jesus lived a short time. Being committed to his Fathers and his own purpose he faithfully went to the cross to die for our sins.

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (Phil 2.9)

On the third day God raised him from the dead, exalted him and gave him all authority. He is the promised Christ and Son of God.

10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2.5-11)
Bow down to the LORD. The LORD who cannot fit in houses built by men, but assumed the form of a man to die for sins and be raised to new life. Jesus Christ is Lord.