Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
2 Chronicles 5

The Biblical IllustratorThe Biblical Illustrator

Verse 1

2 Chronicles 5:1

Thus all the work that Solomon made for the house of the Lord was finished.

Dedicated things

David before his death dedicated certain treasures to God.

Solomon most scrupulous in carrying out his father’s wish.

Solomon’s example worthy of our imitation. (J. Wolfendale.)

The joy of the finished work

The accomplishment of finished work is the cause of joy.

The power to accomplish this work should be ascribed to God.

Hence in every undertaking we should ask for god’s direction. (J. Wolfendale)

Things that are never finished

There are some buildings that are never finished. We never finish our life-building; the life-temple goes up evermore--let every man take heed how he buildeth. Do not suppose that you can finish your education. In the higher education you only finish that you may begin; you close one book as a pledge of your qualification to open another. How, as boys at school, we used to be discouraged by this process of advancement! Having closed the arithmetic, who was willing with his whole heart to open his algebra? Many persons could have comfortably left school without beginning it at all. But there is always a higher aspect of things to apprehend and apply. The table ends at twelve times twelve, but not multiplication. So we can never finish reading the Word of God. Solomon could finish his temple, but he could not finish the written record; it never ends, or it ends as the days end. How do the days close? To begin again. Each day the sun says as he westers in the golden clouds, not “Farewell,” but only “Goodbye: we meet again presently; meanwhile, sleep well! “So with the Bible; when we have read it we want to read it. You can never finish love. If you can finish it, you never began it. Love grows. There are some persons who have run out of that passion and sunk into earthliness and coldness. Then they never knew the inspiration of love. (J. Parker, D.D.)

Verses 2-10

2 Chronicles 5:2-10

To bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord.

The removal of the ark

The time of its removal.

1. Remarkable in itself. The building finished in November was not dedicated until the October of the following year. Feast of Tabernacles most suitable time to dedicate temple.

2. Remarkable in its influence. “The magnitude of the event is marked by the fact that now for the first time since the Exodus we have the year and month recorded” (Stanley)


The method of its removal. Similar to the ceremony of removing from the house of Obed-edom.

The ceremonies which accompanied its removal.

The solemn deposit in its resting-place. (J. Wolfendale.)

Verses 12-13

2 Chronicles 5:12-13

Also the the Levites, which were the singers.

The temple choir

Music and revelation from God. “There is no fuller revelation of God in Nature than is found in these laws of sound, by which He comes into the very heart of man, even to its inmost recesses of love and adoration; and it requires only a sensitive, child-like heart to interpret this speechless music locked within Nature as the voice of God pleading to be let out into music, and praise through the heart of man, for so only can His works praise Him.”

Music as a science to cultivate.

Music consecrated to its highest use in the worship of God. (J. Wolfendale.)

Music in the churches

I propose to speak about sacred music.

Its importance. This is apparent--

1. From the fact that God commanded it. Through Paul He tells us to admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, and through David He cries out, “Sing ye to God, all ye kingdoms of the earth.” I think there are more commands in the Bible to sing than there are to pray.

2. From the impressiveness of the exercise. You know something of what secular music has achieved. One inspiriting national air is worth thirty thousand men as a standing army. In the earlier part of the late war the Government proposed to economise in bands of music, and many of them were sent home; but the generals in the army sent word to Washington: “You are making a great mistake. We are falling back and falling back. We have not enough music.” Then the Government changed its mind: more bands of music were sent to the field, and the day of shameful defeat terminated. Many of you are illustrations of what sacred song can do. Through it you were brought into the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

3. From its power to soothe perturbation.

4. From its power to arouse to action.

Some of the obstacles in the way of its advancement.

1. It has been impressed into the service of superstition.

2. An inordinate fear of criticism.

3. There has been so much angry discussion on the subject.

4. The erroneous notion that this part of the service could be conducted by delegation. (T. De Witt Talmage.)

United praise as a means of grace

That the glory of the Lord began to appear when the assembly were employed in praise and thanksgiving. Praise is the most acceptable service we can be engaged in: “Whoso offereth praise giorifieth Me.” Prayer is an expression of our indigence and weakness. Thanksgiving expresseth our relish of the sweetness of benefits received; but praise rises above all selfish regards, and directly terminates on the greatness and amiableness of God Himself. The habitations of the blessed continually resound with the high praises of God. Did we praise God more, He would give us greater cause to praise Him. It is suggestive that the Lord’s Prayer both begins and ends with adoration.

The subject of praise, which God honoured with this token of His acceptance, was His own goodness and everlasting mercy. God is best pleased with our praises when we adore and celebrate those perfections of His nature which dispose Him to pity the miserable, and have the kindest aspect towards the children of men.

The seriousness and fervour of this devout assembly. They devoted their whole strength and activity, as if they were ambitious to spend themselves in this heavenly employment. The devotion of the soul is the soul of devotion.

The harmony and unanimity of these ancient worshippers. “They were all as one, and made one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord” (Acts 2:1-2; Psalms 133:1-3.; Matthew 5:23-24). (R. Walker.)

On psalmody

Why or for what end music is used in religious worship. By the constitution of our nature music, by a mysterious and potent agency, awakens the heart, concentrates the thoughts, and elevates the soul, and the end of music in religious worship is to assist our devotions, by an application to our affections of that which has upon them a powerful action to excite and direct them; by engaging us in an exercise in which sympathy has large scope, and every one acts upon the rest, to enable us to animate each other; to pour forth our praises and adorations in a way that is significant and edifying, delightsome and impressive. Hence--

1. The absurdity of making music in our religious services a mere matter of entertainment.

2. All kinds of music which have no tendency to aid and gratify devotion ought to be banished from the house of God.

Some of the examples and authorities for making music a handmaid to religion (Job 38:7; Genesis 4:21; Exodus 15:20; Psalms 47:6; Psalms 98:7; Ephesians 5:19; Matthew 26:30).

After what manner the first Christians performed this service. The nearer we come to the model of the primitive Church in this, the nearer we shall approach to perfection. The psalmody of the first Christians was plain, simple, and solemn. Their tunes were, probably, easy and few, and the character of them such as expressed humility and love, and was calculated rather to melt than to capture the heart. Afterwards, as piety declined, it became necessary to re-excite and re-animate it by more striking music; and the whole congregation was divided into two parts, which sang responsive to each other.

Some brief suggestions how we may use this part of divine service to our own benefit and the glory of god. (Bp. Dehon.)

Advantages of music in public worship

“they lifted up their voice.” Those whom nature has gifted with a voice ought to lift it up not only in making responses but also in singing the praises of their Creator and Redeemer. The choir should not be deputed by the congregation to praise God in their stead. Its office is rather to lead their united praises.

In acceptable worship the praise of the heart must accompany the praise of the lips: “They were as one to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord.” Their hearts were all at one “with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music.” Those who sing loudly the praises of God should let heart, lips, and life be a well-tuned instrument devoted to the service of the sanctuary. The man who sings beautiful words with an angel’s tongue, and leads an unholy life, pronounces his own condemnation.

Those who are anxious that the praise of the heart should accompany the praise of the lips will find themselves greatly aided by instruments of music: “They lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music.” Instrumental music unites voices which would otherwise be discordant, and removes the diffidence of those who might otherwise be silent in the service of the sanctuary. Instrumental music removes weariness from the mind, banishes wandering thoughts, and enables us to mount above the world and the things of the world, and to hold high converse with the adorable Trinity. It also conveys to us a lively image of the worship and services of the heavenly sanctuary. (Revelation 14:2; Revelation 14:8). We must learn to distinguish between the natural effect of music on the senses and the spiritual effect of Divine truths on the soul.

The subject-matter of praise: God’s goodness in creation and redemption.

God’s testimony of approbation: the cloud filled the house. This was designed to impress their senses with an awful reverence of God.

The time when God gave them this remarkable token of His approbation: “When they lifted up their voice.” Conclusion: “So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud.” These show that, when Christ should come, the priests should not minister in their former manner. We are now called upon to renounce every altar but the Cross, and every sacrifice but the Victim which bled on Calvary. As s spiritual priesthood, we have “to present our bodies a living sacrifice.” (Canon Arthur R. Pennington.)

That then the house was filled with a cloud (with 2 Chronicles 7:1-8).--

Temple glories

The two passages of Scripture which I have read to you give you two pictures. In the first you have the cloud, in the second you have the fire; and in these two together you have the sacred mystic symbols of the presence of the Eternal God in the midst of His people.

The first of these passages affords me the first head of my discourse. Let us note--

1. The occupation in which the people were engaged. They were praising God--

(1) Unanimously.

(2) Heartily.

(3) Scripturally.

They sung that old psalm, “His mercy endureth for ever.”

2. While thus engaged the cloud filled the sacred places.

3. Then a solemn awe fell on all that were gathered that day.

4. The suppliants felt they might pray more earnestly because they prayed surely.

The first text has had reference to the past. The next dwells specially upon the future. After praise, joined with solemn prayer and sacrifice, the fire came down.

1. How much the preacher wants this fire! Oh! I have heard a man preach a sermon to which an angel might have listened for its faultless truthfulness, but it lacked fire; but I have known another whose ministry was faulty in many respects, but yet he spoke like a man that meant what he said, with his heart boiling over at his eyes, and men were moved and many souls were saved.

2. But we need this fire upon the hearers too. How well people listen when they come to hear something! What a noble effect is produced when once the fire comes upon a congregation! (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "2 Chronicles 5". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/2-chronicles-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.
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