Text: 2 Kings - 2 Chronicles (Yes - I changed it to 40+. It's looking doubtful that I'll make it in 40. I'm going to try not to beat myself up for that :-p )
My last entry said 2 Corinthians was repetitive - I meant Chronicles. ;-). Sorry!
Here's a passage from that repetitive book though from the Message paraphrase. (I occasionally read a chapter or two from that book when my interest is failing.)
2 Chronicles 6:18-21, 36-42.
[Solomon is speaking]
Can it be that God will actually move into our neighborhood? Why, the cosmos itself isn't large enough to give you breathing room, let alone this Temple I've built. Even so, I'm bold to ask: Pay attention to these my prayers, both intercessory and personal, O God, my God. Listen to my prayers, energetic and devout, that I'm setting before you right now. Keep your eyes open to this Temple day and night, this place you promised to dignify with your Name. And listen to the prayers that I pray in this place. And listen to your people Israel when they pray at this place
. . .
When they sin against you—and they certainly will; there's no one without sin!—and in anger you turn them over to the enemy and they are taken captive to the enemy's land, whether far or near, but repent in the country of their captivity and pray with changed hearts in their exile, "We've sinned; we've done wrong; we've been most wicked," and turn back to you heart and soul in the land of the enemy who conquered them, and pray to you toward their homeland, the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you chose, and this Temple I have built to the honor of your Name,
Listen from your home in heaven
to their prayers desperate and devout;
Do what is best for them.
Forgive your people who have sinned against you.
And now, dear God, be alert and attentive to prayer, all prayer, offered in this place.
Up, God, enjoy your new place of quiet repose,
you and your mighty covenant Chest;
Dress your priests up in salvation clothes,
let your holy people celebrate goodness.
And don't, God, back out on your anointed ones,
keep in mind the love promised to David your servant.
One recurring theme to me is just . . . that "faith in yourself" idea. In a way that is far far different from the self-empowerment people talk about today. I guess it's more of an understanding of who God is that makes you understand who you are - and it gives you confidence to act according to how he designed you. I mean - it sounds like Solomon is kind of ordering God around in a way that our moder sensibilities gasp at his audacity - but he does it because he believes it. He really believes that God promised all of those things - that they are his to claim. He believes that God honors his promises - and therefore all he is really doing is reminding himself of God's promises.
It's a boldness that I admire that I've seen in the people who have popped up in the pages of scripture. I don't feel like I can quite put into words just what kind of trait it is I see in them - because boldness isn't exactly right - but hopefully a few of you can see it too through the scripture passages I've pulled out.