Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Imagine that you have been put in charge of organizing a dedication ceremony for a new hospital in your community. What would you include in the dedication ceremony? (Examples might include participants, guest list, theme, testimonies, and so on.)
2. Think of an organization that does the most good in your area. How would life change if it were not there tomorrow? What efforts would be made to bring it back as soon as possible?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.
1. Underline the phrase “the glory of the Lord” each time it appears in these verses. Refer to other times this phrase is used in Scripture (for example, Exodus 16:7-10; 24:15-17; 40:34, 35; Leviticus 9:22-24; Numbers 14:10; 16:19, 42; 20:6). How do these passages explain what it means to experience the glory of the Lord?
2. Some events cause sensory overload—over-stimulation of one or more of the body’s senses from the environment. Which events described in 2 Chronicles 7:1-3 would have affected the senses of those attending?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:4-7.
3. List some elements of a dedication ceremony that might be considered extravagant on any other occasion (for example, smashing a bottle of champagne over the hull of a new ship). Take a moment to try to picture the size of the sacrificial offering given at the temple dedication. Why do you think that those there believed the offering to be appropriate for the occasion?
4. Music can express emotion that words alone cannot. How was music used in the temple dedication? Skim through 1 Chronicles 25 and try to explain the importance given to music in temple worship.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:8, 9.
5. Several years ago, a famous family theme park used the slogan, “Where the Party Never Ends” to advertise the events of that year. Based on these two verses of our Bible text, why would that slogan have been appropriate for the temple dedication?
6. The weeklong festival following the temple dedication would have been the Festival of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-44). What were some elements of that festival? What was its purpose? How does such a “homecoming” celebration fit with the temple dedication?
7. When we look at the overwhelming display of gratitude shown to God for the temple, we get a picture of what true dedication to God is. What elements of the temple dedication (humility, generosity, outreach) can be used to express your personal dedication to God?