2 Chronicles 5:2-13
Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel…
It was fitting enough that the ark which had been in the ancient tabernacle should be brought with much ceremony into the new temple. It linked the past and the future, and it associated two things which must be constantly kept together. It suggests to us -
I. THE TRUE NATIONAL CONTINUITY. This was not found at all in the permanence of one form of government, for that had passed from a theocracy to a monarchy; nor was it found only or even chiefly in the descent by blood of one generation from another; nor in the continuance of the same social customs. It was found in the faithfulness of the people to the Lord their God; in the perpetuity of the national faith and, consequently, of the national morals and habits of life. The code of religious and ethical law which God gave to them through Moses was to remain the statute law of the realm. It was to be placed, on the most solemn occasion, under the most striking and memorable conditions, in the most sacred place of the sacred building in the holy city (vers. 7-10). The nation that changes its faith is itself changed; it is not the same, but another nation. The people that remain loyal to their God and true to their ancient convictions are the same people, however their institutions and customs may be modified by "time and change."
II. THE TWO GREAT COUNTERPARTS OF DIVINE SERVICE. Much was made of the altar of sacrifice; indeed, the temple was the place of sacrifice. There, and there only, could offerings be presented and sin be expiated. But in the most holy place, beneath the "mercy-seat," at the very point where the blood was sprinkled on the great Day of Atonement, was the ark which held the tables of stone; and on these was inscribed the epitome of law, the demand for obedience. Sacrifice (or worship, as it is now) and obedience are the two great complementary parts of the service of God (see homily on 2 Chronicles 1:3-5).
III. THE BEST SERVICE OF WORLDLY DIGNITY. We learn (ver. 2) that "the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes," assembled on this occasion; they lent the weight of their social dignity to it. They did well to do this. There is nothing in which any kind of earthly distinction can be so well engaged as in promoting the piety of the people, in attaching them more firmly to their sacred principles, connecting them with and committing them to the service of the living God. Sad is it indeed when rank uses its influence to undermine the faith; admirable and honourable is it when exalted station spends its strength in advancing the devotion and the integrity of the people.
IV. THE JOYOUSNESS THAT BELONGS TO DIVINE WORSHIP. It was surely right that the first act of worship associated with the temple should be accompanied by a feast rather than by a fast (ver. 3). It was right that the choir should unite "in praising and thanking the Lord" (ver. 13). In the service of One to whom such ascription can be rendered as is offered to the Lord (ver, 13), the sound of holy gladness should be the prevailing note.
V. THE NEARNESS OF HUMAN APPROACH AND DIVINE MANIFESTATION. (Vers. 13, 14.) Let us draw nigh unto God in praise and prayer, and he will draw nigh unto us in the best proofs of his presence, in the most valuable manifestations of his power and grace. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the LORD out of the city of David, which is Zion.
WEB: Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the princes of the fathers' [houses] of the children of Israel, to Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of Yahweh out of the city of David, which is Zion.