Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that it occurs seven times. Not that I’m big into biblical numerology, but it just seems right that, if seven is the number of perfection and completion in the Scriptures, then one of the most amazing dynamics ordained by God and graced to man should be covenanted between Solomon and God with a seven-fold repetition.
Every time I approach 2Chronicles 6 and 7 there is a sense of stepping on holy ground. The temple Solomon built for God is complete. The promise God made to David concerning the place of His dwelling is fulfilled. All that’s left is for God to take up residence within this earthly dwelling. “But,” asks Solomon, “will God indeed dwell with men on earth?” (6:18). Solomon, in awe, wonders at how a house he has built can house a God who cannot be contained by “heaven and the highest heaven.”
As Solomon beholds the structure he has made for God’s presence, he knows that the glory which will reside in that house will be but a small representation of the glory which overflows the throne of God’s heavenly dwelling place. And so, on his knees before the altar, with hands stretched out toward the skies, Solomon petitions God six times, “Hear from heaven.” And God responds, a seventh time . . . the time of perfection . . . the time of completion, “I will hear from heaven!”
Solomon, knowing God is holy and that man is not, repeatedly paints scenarios of failure due to sin. From sin as an individual to sin as a nation. From sin among those of Israel to the sin of the foreigner. From sin which results in God’s favor withheld concerning the rains for their crops, to sin which demands God’s judgment poured out as they are taken captive by their enemies and exiled to a distant land. And in each of the six scenarios presented, Solomon asks that when God’s people come to their senses, and turn to heaven and cry out for mercy, then God, says Solomon, hear from heaven.
And upon the completion of Solomon’s petition, the glory of God fills the temple, and the grace of God responds through the ages . . .
. . . if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
That God is able to hear from heaven, while mind-stretching in and of itself, is not the jaw-dropping thing for me this morning. But that God WOULD hear from heaven is what fills me with a fresh sense of amazement. And that God COULD, justly and in perfect holiness, forgive sin . . . and forgive sin . . . and again forgive sin, is what evokes a meditation of wonder and worship.
For under-girding this promise . . . at the foundation of this assurance . . . is the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners (1Tim. 1:15). That the blood of Jesus, God’s son, cleanses us from all sin (1John 1:7). That because of the blood, we have confidence to enter the holy places (Heb. 10:19), even when we have transgressed, and call out to our God, “Hear from heaven” — not just six times, but as many times as our failure requires it. And when we do, knowing that because of who Christ is and because of what He has accomplished through the cross, we will hear that seventh, perfect and complete response, “I will hear from heaven.”
Oh what mercy! Oh what grace! Oh what a Savior!
To Him be all glory . . . amen?