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Bible Commentaries

Simeon's Horae Homileticae

2 Chronicles 7

Verse 15

DISCOURSE: 399
GOD’S REGARD FOR HIS OWN HOUSE

2 Chronicles 7:15, 2 Chronicles 7:16. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

NEVER, from the foundation of the world, was there so magnificent a structure as Solomon’s Temple, or so imposing a scene as that which took place at the dedication of it [Note: This may be briefly described, ver. 12.] — — — The prayer which Solomon offered on that occasion was no less remarkable: in point of humility and fervour and propriety, nothing could exceed it. The answer also that was given to it was singularly encouraging. Compare the petition to which my text refers, with the answer given to it in the text itself: “Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place [Note: 2 Chronicles 6:40.].”

These very words does God repeat to him in a way of promise, and with great additional force: “Mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place: for now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”

These words will afford me a fit occasion to shew,

I.

The regard which God bears to his house—

We marvel at the condescension of Almighty God, when he says, “Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” But he regarded that structure, and he regards every place that is built for his more immediate service,

1.

As the house where he will more especially reside—

[The whole land of Israel was dear to him in this view. Moses says of it, “It is a land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year [Note: Deuteronomy 11:12.].” But this house was his more peculiar residence: “his name was put there [Note: Deuteronomy 12:11. with 2 Chronicles 6:5-6.].” He was invited by Solomon to come and take possession of it: “Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place, thou, and the ark of thy strength [Note: 2 Chronicles 6:41.]!” And, in answer to his request, he came down visibly and abode within it: “Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house [Note: ver. 1, 2.].” To this event the Psalmist refers, when he says, “The Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for his habitation: This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it [Note: Psalms 132:14-15.].” Hence it may well be said, that “God loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob [Note: Psalms 87:2.].”]

2.

As the theatre where he will display his glory—

[In the temple were displayed, under types and shadows, all the wonders of redeeming love. The sacrifices that were offered, the consuming of them upon the altar, the carrying of their blood within the vail to sprinkle the mercy-seat of the Moat High, the offering of incense also before the mercy-seat, all prefigured the atoning sacrifice, and the prevailing intercession of the Lord Jesus, through which every sinner in the universe may find acceptance with God. The whole of the services there offered were “a shadow of good things to come [Note: Hebrews 10:1.]:” and in the temple alone were they suffered to exist. But now are the same things declared plainly and explicitly by every servant of the Most High that is called to preach the Gospel of Christ. Yes, every minister that is taught of God proclaims this truth: “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners [Note: 1 Timothy 1:15.].” And though this message may be greatly diversified in the mode of its delivery, it is in substance the same with all: for every faithful minister “determines, with the Apostle, to know nothing among his people save Jesus Christ and him crucified [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:2.].” And where is this mystery unfolded, but in the house of God? True, the house of God is pre-eminently “the house of prayer;” but it is also the place where “the glory of God is displayed as shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ,” and a free salvation is proclaimed to all the sinners of mankind.]

3.

As the throne from whence he will dispense his blessings—

[To the temple of old, every sinner brought his offering: and from thence he departed with a comfortable hope that he was accepted of his God. And say, Brethren, whether you have not found God in this place, ready to hear and answer your most enlarged petitions? Have you not found the word, that was delivered in the Saviour’s name, “quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword?” Has it not brought conviction to your minds; and been effectual, also, to administer consolation to your souls? Has not grace been administered by means of it? and have you not found it a channel of communication to your souls, insomuch that you have here “drunk as of rivers of water,” and “feasted, as it were, upon fat things,” that have nourished your souls unto life eternal? Yes verily, God has said that he would “beautify the place of his sanctuary, and make the place of his feet glorious [Note: Isaiah 60:13.];” and in these divine communications his own soul, no less than the souls of his people, has been refreshed, and filled with joy [Note: Jeremiah 32:41.Zephaniah 3:17; Zephaniah 3:17.].]

From the regard which God bears to his house, we see,

II.

The feeling which we also should have towards it—

Are God’s “eyes and heart upon his house perpetually?” Then we also should regard it,

1.

With a reverential sense of its sanctity—

[I readily grant, that there is not the same measure of sanctity in holy buildings and in holy vessels now, that there was under the Mosaic economy, where “Touch not, taste not, handle not,” constituted so great a part of the divine Law. But, on the other hand, there is an immense distance between things sacred and things common: nor is there any person of real piety who would willingly break down this distinction. It is possible, I grant, for this idea to be carried to an extreme of superstition: but it is equally possible for it to be spurned at in a way of grievous impiety. Different usages may prevail in different places, in perfect consistency with a becoming reverence for the house of God: but what our blessed Lord did in driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, may serve to shew us, that what has been consecrated to God ought not to be turned to a profane use: and more especially, whilst it is acknowledged as the place which God delights to honour with his peculiar presence, it should be approached with reverence; and, in the spirit of our minds at least, we should “put off our shoes, when we tread on such holy ground:” for God has expressly and most authoritatively said, “Thou shalt reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord [Note: Leviticus 19:30.].”]

2.

With gratitude for mercies there received—

[Methinks, of some of you it may be said, that “you were born there [Note: Psalms 87:4.].” And what a blessing is this! In comparison of it, the whole world is lighter than the dust upon the balance. Call to mind how ignorant you once were of those things which belong to your everlasting peace. Once you knew not what guilt you had contracted in the sight of God, and to what tremendous judgments you were exposed. You knew not what provision God had made for you in his Gospel. The necessity of an atonement; the suitableness and sufficiency of the atonement which Christ has made; the nature of a life of faith on Christ; the work and offices of the Holy Spirit; the beauty and excellency of holiness; these, and a variety of other things, were altogether unknown to you, till you heard them in this place, and God “opened the eyes of your understanding to understand them.” Only call to mind what a load of guilt has been removed from your souls; what peace and joy have flowed in upon you through the preached word; what strength has been imparted to you to resist temptations, and to fulfil your duties to the Lord; and, finally, what anticipations and foretastes of your heavenly inheritance you have here enjoyed; and you will not regard with indifference the very spot where such mercies have been vouchsafed unto you; but will be ready to say, “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not that Jerusalem above my chief joy [Note: Psalms 137:6.].”]

3.

With desire for yet further blessings—

[To our latest hour shall we need yet further blessings from the Lord. As all the males of the land came up to the temple thrice every year to offer their accustomed offerings, so we must still come up to the house of God, to renew our supplications at the throne of his grace, and to receive from him such communications as our necessities require. Even when at a distance from the temple, the Jews looked towards it with a view to express more fully their faith and hope in the God of Israel: and so should we, not indeed to any individual edifice, but to the house of God where his people are assembled; “panting after it as the hart after the water-brooks, and saying, When shall I come and appear before God [Note: Psalms 42:1-2.]?” It should be a comfort to us to reflect how often we have in past times “gone up with the multitude to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise [Note: Psalms 42:4.];” and we should long to have those opportunities renewed, that God may yet again be glorified in us, and that the whole work of his grace may be perfected within us.]

Improvement—
1.

As members of the great community, let your expectations be enlarged—

[“When did God ever say to any, Seek ye my face in vain?” No indeed; “God delighteth in the prayer of the upright:” not a sigh shall pass unnoticed by him [Note: Psalms 12:5.], or a look be directed towards him, without some special token of his regard [Note: Psalms 34:5.]. “Only draw nigh to him, and you never need fear but that he will draw nigh to you [Note: James 4:8.].”]

2.

As individual believers, assure yourselves that God will not overlook you—

[Did God so regard the Temple of Solomon? Know, that ye who believe in Christ are far more acceptable temples than that. Whilst that was yet standing in all its glory, God poured contempt upon it in comparison of “a poor and contrite spirit [Note: Isaiah 66:1-2.].” Yes, “to a contrite sinner he will look” with complacency [Note: Isaiah 57:15.]; and “in him will he dwell, as in his temple [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:16.].” Towards him “his ears shall be attent;” and on him shall be fixed “his eyes and his heart perpetually.” Know, then, your privilege, my beloved Brethren; and value as you ought the honour thus accorded to you.]


Verse 16

DISCOURSE: 399
GOD’S REGARD FOR HIS OWN HOUSE

2 Chronicles 7:15, 2 Chronicles 7:16. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.

NEVER, from the foundation of the world, was there so magnificent a structure as Solomon’s Temple, or so imposing a scene as that which took place at the dedication of it [Note: This may be briefly described, ver. 12.] — — — The prayer which Solomon offered on that occasion was no less remarkable: in point of humility and fervour and propriety, nothing could exceed it. The answer also that was given to it was singularly encouraging. Compare the petition to which my text refers, with the answer given to it in the text itself: “Now, my God, let, I beseech thee, thine eyes be open, and let thine ears be attent unto the prayer that is made in this place [Note: 2 Chronicles 6:40.].”

These very words does God repeat to him in a way of promise, and with great additional force: “Mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place: for now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”

These words will afford me a fit occasion to shew,

I.

The regard which God bears to his house—

We marvel at the condescension of Almighty God, when he says, “Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.” But he regarded that structure, and he regards every place that is built for his more immediate service,

1.

As the house where he will more especially reside—

[The whole land of Israel was dear to him in this view. Moses says of it, “It is a land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year [Note: Deuteronomy 11:12.].” But this house was his more peculiar residence: “his name was put there [Note: Deuteronomy 12:11. with 2 Chronicles 6:5-6.].” He was invited by Solomon to come and take possession of it: “Arise, O Lord, into thy resting-place, thou, and the ark of thy strength [Note: 2 Chronicles 6:41.]!” And, in answer to his request, he came down visibly and abode within it: “Now, when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt-offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter into the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord had filled the Lord’s house [Note: ver. 1, 2.].” To this event the Psalmist refers, when he says, “The Lord hath chosen Zion: he hath desired it for his habitation: This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it [Note: Psalms 132:14-15.].” Hence it may well be said, that “God loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob [Note: Psalms 87:2.].”]

2.

As the theatre where he will display his glory—

[In the temple were displayed, under types and shadows, all the wonders of redeeming love. The sacrifices that were offered, the consuming of them upon the altar, the carrying of their blood within the vail to sprinkle the mercy-seat of the Moat High, the offering of incense also before the mercy-seat, all prefigured the atoning sacrifice, and the prevailing intercession of the Lord Jesus, through which every sinner in the universe may find acceptance with God. The whole of the services there offered were “a shadow of good things to come [Note: Hebrews 10:1.]:” and in the temple alone were they suffered to exist. But now are the same things declared plainly and explicitly by every servant of the Most High that is called to preach the Gospel of Christ. Yes, every minister that is taught of God proclaims this truth: “It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners [Note: 1 Timothy 1:15.].” And though this message may be greatly diversified in the mode of its delivery, it is in substance the same with all: for every faithful minister “determines, with the Apostle, to know nothing among his people save Jesus Christ and him crucified [Note: 1 Corinthians 2:2.].” And where is this mystery unfolded, but in the house of God? True, the house of God is pre-eminently “the house of prayer;” but it is also the place where “the glory of God is displayed as shining forth in the face of Jesus Christ,” and a free salvation is proclaimed to all the sinners of mankind.]

3.

As the throne from whence he will dispense his blessings—

[To the temple of old, every sinner brought his offering: and from thence he departed with a comfortable hope that he was accepted of his God. And say, Brethren, whether you have not found God in this place, ready to hear and answer your most enlarged petitions? Have you not found the word, that was delivered in the Saviour’s name, “quick, and powerful, and sharper than a two-edged sword?” Has it not brought conviction to your minds; and been effectual, also, to administer consolation to your souls? Has not grace been administered by means of it? and have you not found it a channel of communication to your souls, insomuch that you have here “drunk as of rivers of water,” and “feasted, as it were, upon fat things,” that have nourished your souls unto life eternal? Yes verily, God has said that he would “beautify the place of his sanctuary, and make the place of his feet glorious [Note: Isaiah 60:13.];” and in these divine communications his own soul, no less than the souls of his people, has been refreshed, and filled with joy [Note: Jeremiah 32:41.Zephaniah 3:17; Zephaniah 3:17.].]

From the regard which God bears to his house, we see,

II.

The feeling which we also should have towards it—

Are God’s “eyes and heart upon his house perpetually?” Then we also should regard it,

1.

With a reverential sense of its sanctity—

[I readily grant, that there is not the same measure of sanctity in holy buildings and in holy vessels now, that there was under the Mosaic economy, where “Touch not, taste not, handle not,” constituted so great a part of the divine Law. But, on the other hand, there is an immense distance between things sacred and things common: nor is there any person of real piety who would willingly break down this distinction. It is possible, I grant, for this idea to be carried to an extreme of superstition: but it is equally possible for it to be spurned at in a way of grievous impiety. Different usages may prevail in different places, in perfect consistency with a becoming reverence for the house of God: but what our blessed Lord did in driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, may serve to shew us, that what has been consecrated to God ought not to be turned to a profane use: and more especially, whilst it is acknowledged as the place which God delights to honour with his peculiar presence, it should be approached with reverence; and, in the spirit of our minds at least, we should “put off our shoes, when we tread on such holy ground:” for God has expressly and most authoritatively said, “Thou shalt reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord [Note: Leviticus 19:30.].”]

2.

With gratitude for mercies there received—

[Methinks, of some of you it may be said, that “you were born there [Note: Psalms 87:4.].” And what a blessing is this! In comparison of it, the whole world is lighter than the dust upon the balance. Call to mind how ignorant you once were of those things which belong to your everlasting peace. Once you knew not what guilt you had contracted in the sight of God, and to what tremendous judgments you were exposed. You knew not what provision God had made for you in his Gospel. The necessity of an atonement; the suitableness and sufficiency of the atonement which Christ has made; the nature of a life of faith on Christ; the work and offices of the Holy Spirit; the beauty and excellency of holiness; these, and a variety of other things, were altogether unknown to you, till you heard them in this place, and God “opened the eyes of your understanding to understand them.” Only call to mind what a load of guilt has been removed from your souls; what peace and joy have flowed in upon you through the preached word; what strength has been imparted to you to resist temptations, and to fulfil your duties to the Lord; and, finally, what anticipations and foretastes of your heavenly inheritance you have here enjoyed; and you will not regard with indifference the very spot where such mercies have been vouchsafed unto you; but will be ready to say, “If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not that Jerusalem above my chief joy [Note: Psalms 137:6.].”]

3.

With desire for yet further blessings—

[To our latest hour shall we need yet further blessings from the Lord. As all the males of the land came up to the temple thrice every year to offer their accustomed offerings, so we must still come up to the house of God, to renew our supplications at the throne of his grace, and to receive from him such communications as our necessities require. Even when at a distance from the temple, the Jews looked towards it with a view to express more fully their faith and hope in the God of Israel: and so should we, not indeed to any individual edifice, but to the house of God where his people are assembled; “panting after it as the hart after the water-brooks, and saying, When shall I come and appear before God [Note: Psalms 42:1-2.]?” It should be a comfort to us to reflect how often we have in past times “gone up with the multitude to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise [Note: Psalms 42:4.];” and we should long to have those opportunities renewed, that God may yet again be glorified in us, and that the whole work of his grace may be perfected within us.]

Improvement—
1.

As members of the great community, let your expectations be enlarged—

[“When did God ever say to any, Seek ye my face in vain?” No indeed; “God delighteth in the prayer of the upright:” not a sigh shall pass unnoticed by him [Note: Psalms 12:5.], or a look be directed towards him, without some special token of his regard [Note: Psalms 34:5.]. “Only draw nigh to him, and you never need fear but that he will draw nigh to you [Note: James 4:8.].”]

2.

As individual believers, assure yourselves that God will not overlook you—

[Did God so regard the Temple of Solomon? Know, that ye who believe in Christ are far more acceptable temples than that. Whilst that was yet standing in all its glory, God poured contempt upon it in comparison of “a poor and contrite spirit [Note: Isaiah 66:1-2.].” Yes, “to a contrite sinner he will look” with complacency [Note: Isaiah 57:15.]; and “in him will he dwell, as in his temple [Note: 2 Corinthians 6:16.].” Towards him “his ears shall be attent;” and on him shall be fixed “his eyes and his heart perpetually.” Know, then, your privilege, my beloved Brethren; and value as you ought the honour thus accorded to you.]


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Bibliographical Information
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 7". Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shh/2-chronicles-7.html. 1832.