The Power of God Poured Out
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Solomon has built a magnificent temple to the Lord. He has just finished his prayer of dedication and commitment to God. The first verses of 2 Chronicles 7 then record: “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests found not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever’ (7:1-3).
We understand from the New Testament that those who have come “to lean their whole weight upon” Jesus for their salvation (John G. Paton, Missionary to the New Hebrides), also become temples within which the Holy Spirit of God dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). What was a physical building in the Old Testament becomes a physical person in the New Testament.
Acts 2 and the day of Pentecost was what came into mind as I read the account of Solomon’s experience in 2 Chronicles. The believers had been meeting in prayer and then, on the day of Pentecost this is what happened: “When the day of Pentecost comes, there were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting, They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and because to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (2:1-4).
The events are not parallel by any means. In Chronicles, worship was the end result of God’s arrival on the scene. In Acts, evangelism was the consequence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. But there is a picture painted for us that is similar in both passages.
Men pray and wait on God. God comes and reveals His glory and power. His fire consumes the sacrifice: animal in the Old Testament; human in the New. The result is worship and service.
Have you ever wondered why it is so hard to pray? Satan knows why and works hard to keep us from it. In the comparison between these two passages we find a clue. In praying and waiting on God comes the power to worship and serve in a way that brings glory to God. We can worship and serve in our own power. But the glory is only ours. When we wait for God to come upon us and infuse us with His power and blessing, only then does He get the glory for what had been said or done. Only then does our activity result in eternal blessings that time or circumstance can never diminish.
Take time to wait on Him, to pray. On a personal level is works. But in both the cases mentioned in these passages of Scripture, it was God’s people who were praying and waiting together. Until we return to corporate prayer and waiting on God as a body of believers, we will not see His power poured out on our churches, communities and nation.