Concern, Concerned, Concerns

* Prayers concerning a variety of situations

As Solomon led the people in prayer, he asked God to hear their prayers concerning a variety of situations: (1) crime; (2) enemy attacks; (3) drought; (4) famine; (5) the influx of foreigners; (6) war; (7) sin.  God is concerned with whatever we face, even the difficult consequences we bring upon ourselves.  He wants us to turn to him in prayer.  When you pray, remember that God hears you.  Don’t let the extremity of your situation cause you to doubt his care for you. (NLT)

2 Chronicles 6:19-21 – Listen to my prayer and my request, O Lord my God.  Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is making to you.  May you watch over this Temple both day and night, this place where you have said you would put your name.  May you always hear the prayers I make toward this place.  May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place.  Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive.

(1) Crime – 2 Chronicles 6:22, 23 – “If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of the altar at this Temple, then hear from heaven and judge between your servants—the accuser and the accused.  Punish the guilty party, and acquit the one who is innocent.”

(2) Enemy attacks – 2 Chronicles 6:24, 25 – “If your people Israel are defeated by their enemies because they have sinned against you, and if they turn to you and call on your name and pray to you here in this Temple, then hear from heaven and forgive their sins and return them to this land you gave their ancestors.”

* Why would Solomon assume that drought would come as a result of sin?  Sin is not necessarily the direct cause of natural disasters today, but this was a special case.  God had made a specific agreement with the Israelites that drought could be a consequence of their sins (Deuteronomy 28:20-241). (NLT)

(3) Drought – 2 Chronicles 6:26, 27 – “If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and then they pray toward this Temple and confess your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel.  Teach them to do what is right, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession.”

* Have you ever felt far from God, separated by feelings of failure and personal problems?  In his prayer, Solomon underscored the fact that God stands ready to hear his people, to forgive their sins, and to restore their relationship with him.  God is waiting and listening for our confessions of guilt and our recommitment to obey him.  He hears us when we pour out our needs and problems to him and is ready to forgive us and restore us to fellowship with him.  Don’t wait to experience his loving forgiveness. (NLT)

(4) Famine – 2 Chronicles 6:28-31 – “If there is a famine in the land, or plagues, or crop disease, or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever the trouble is—and if your people offer a prayer concerning their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive.  Give your people whatever they deserve, for you alone know the human heart.  Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.”

(5) The influx of foreigners – 2 Chronicles 6:32, 33 – “And when foreigners hear of you and your mighty miracles, and they come from distant lands to worship your great name and to pray toward this Temple, then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you.  Then all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do.  They, too, will know that this Temple I have built bears your name.”

(6) War – 2 Chronicles 6:34, 35 – “If your people go out at your command to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and toward this Temple that I have built for your name, then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause.”

* “Who has never sinned?”  The Bible makes it clear that no one is exempt from sin, not even God’s appointed kings.  Sin is a condition we all share, and we all should acknowledge it as Solomon did.  When we realize we have sinned, we should quickly ask God for forgiveness and restoration.  Knowing we have a tendency to sin should keep us close to God, seeking his guidance and strength.  This truth is also mentioned in Psalm 14:32, Ecclesiastes 7:203, and Romans 3:234. (NLT)

(7) Sin – 2 Chronicles 6:36-39 – “If they sin against you—and who has never sinned?—you may become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far or near.  But in that land of exile, they may turn to you again in repentance and pray, ‘We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly.’  Then if they turn to you with their whole heart and soul and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors, toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, then hear their prayers from heaven where you live.  Uphold their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you.”

* Being concerned about wrong things

The Pharisees constantly tried to trap Jesus, and they thought his association with these “lowlifes” was the perfect opportunity.  They were more concerned with their own appearance of holiness than with helping people, with criticism than encouragement, with outward respectability than practical help.  But God is concerned for all people, including the sinful and hurting ones.  The Christian life is not a popularity contest!  Following Jesus’ example, we should share the Good News with the poor, immoral, lonely, and outcast, not just the rich, moral, popular, and powerful. (NLT)

Matthew 9:11-12 – The Pharisees were indignant.  “Why does your teacher eat with such scum?” they asked his disciples.

When he heard this, Jesus replied, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.”

1 This curse is referring to a drought. (NLT)

Deuteronomy 28:20-24 – “The Lord himself will send against you curses, confusion, and disillusionment in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and forsaking me.  The Lord will send diseases among you until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy.  The Lord will strike you with wasting disease, fever, and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, and with blight and mildew.  These devastations will pursue you until you die.  The skies above will be as unyielding as bronze, and the earth beneath will be as hard as iron.  The Lord will turn your rain into sand and dust, and it will pour down from the sky until you are destroyed.”

2 No one but God is perfect; all of us stand guilty before him and need his forgiveness.  No matter how well we perform or how much we achieve compared to others, none of us can boast of his or her goodness when compared to God’s standard.  God not only expects us to obey his guidelines, but he wants us to love him with all our heart.  No one except Jesus Christ has done that perfectly.  Because we all fall short, we must turn to Christ to save us (Romans 10:8-125).  Have you asked him to save you? (NLT)

Psalm 14:3 – But no, all have turned away from God; all have become corrupt.  No one does good, not even one!

3 Ecclesiastes 7:20 – There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins.

4 Some sins seem bigger than others because their obvious consequences are much more serious.  Murder, for example, seems to us to be worse than hatred, and adultery seems worse than pride.  But this does not mean that because we only commit “little” sins we deserve eternal life.  All sins make us sinners, and all sins cut us off from our holy God.  All sins, therefore, lead to death (because they disqualify us from living with God), regardless of how great or small they seem.  Don’t minimize “little” sins or overrate “big” sins.   They all separate us from God, but they all can be forgiven. (NLT)

Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

5 Have you ever been asked, “Have you ever been asked, “How do I become a Christian?”  These verses give you the beautiful answer: Salvation is as close as your own lips and heart.  People think it must be a complicated process, but it is not.  If we believe in our heart and say with our mouth that Christ is the risen Lord, we will be saved.

This verse “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed,” must be read in context.  Paul is not saying Christians will never be disappointed.  There will be times when people will let us down or circumstances take a turn for the worse.  Paul is saying that God will keep his side of the bargain.  Those who call on him will be saved.  God will never fail to provide for those who believe. (NLT)

Romans 10:8-12 – Salvation that comes from trusting Christ—which is the message we preach—is already within easy reach.  In fact, the Scriptures say, “The message is close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.”

For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who believes in him will not be disappointed.”  Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.  They all have the same Lord, who generously gives his riches to all who ask for them.

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