2 Chronicles takes us through the beginning of Solomon’s reign as king, answered prayer of receiving wisdom from the Lord, blessing of wealth, and the provision given for the construction of the temple. In Chapter 5, Solomon, the elders and leaders, and all of Israel witnessed the Ark of the Covenant being brought into the Holy Temple – the fulfillment of a promise made long ago.
Last night we held NCC’s third All Church Celebration at the historic Lincoln Theater on U Street. A time of praise, worship, vision casting, and fellowship; I strongly believe the novelty has not been lost on NCCers how special it is that a few times a year, we get to assemble as one body and worship God together in as beautiful a place as the Lincoln. Something that resonated with me from Pastor Mark’s message last night was his description of walking this prayer circle (square) around Capitol Hill in 1996. He said “The prayer walk took him 2 hours and God has been answering it for 15 years.”
I believe that’s what Chapter 5 is – a long-awaited moment of the fulfillment of God’s promise. A sacred time where all of Israel could assemble, give thanks, and praise the Lord. Many times when I pray, my attention span and patience to wait for the answer to a prayer is a couple of weeks, a few months, at best when it has been job-related. However, it took Israel years to get to this point. Yet it did not deter from their thanksgiving, humility, and spiritual memory of the promise God made to their forefathers.
In parallel, it has taken 15 years to get to this point of God’s miracles of property blowing us away left and right. It took hard work, moments where the leaders and the congregation really had to sweat it out, and an overwhelming feeling of insignificance of the task at hand. It took discipline to exercise patience and fruit of the Spirit in discerning the ins and outs of negotiating deals with various individuals. And it took faithfulness to get our feet wet and not fear looking foolish because the Lord would make a way. And now here we stand as Pastor Mark put it, like Joshua, pointing our spear towards opening a café in Berlin; launching a 6th location in DC; taking concrete steps towards a Dream Center; and praising God for giving us a city block and now Ebenezers free of financial debt. While it took 15 years to be at this point, this is not about property or finances. Perhaps it also took 15 years to understand and give glory to God for His miracles, His provision, His faithfulness, His goodness.
In Verse 11-14 it says,
And when the priests came out of the Holy Place (for all the priests who were present had consecrated themselves, without regard to their divisions, and all the Levitical singers, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, their sons and kinsmen, arrayed in fine linen, with cymbals, harps, and lyres, stood east of the altar with 120 priests who were trumpeters; and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD, and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD,
“For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,”
the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud,(O) for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.
I love how last night we were able to come together regardless of our location and celebrate as one body, a microcosm of the greater body of Christ. I love how we brought our cymbals (drums), harps (electric/bass guitars), lyres (keys), and trumpeters (voices) to recognize and praise God for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do in this city through this church. There was one point where we were all bellowing to the “Whoa Oh Ohhhhh” and I legitimately could not believe how loud our roar was. In such a good way! I wish we would always praise God like that. And maybe we should. He has brought us to this moment where we know where our spear points and we know the miracles to praise God for but like Pastor Mark said, we shouldn’t rest in those miracles but prepare for God to do even more amazing things. Huzzah! Are you ready? ALL IN ya’ll.