Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. Recall a time when life was difficult and a friend said, “I’m here for you.” How did the presence of that friend make a difference?
2. Try to define these two terms: tough love and enabling. Both could describe the actions of a friend who is with you during a crisis. What are some possible results of either action? How can what we want from a friend differ from what we need from a friend?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:12-16.
1. Second Chronicles 5:2–7:10 describes Israel’s offering the temple to the Lord as his dwelling place. How did God respond to that? Use 7:12, 15, 16 to paraphrase.
2. Ancient cultures built temples to their gods, hoping that they would come to their army’s side in battle. Examine vv. 13, 14. Did God promise that his presence would fulfill that role, or did he promise something very different? Explain.
Read 2 Chronicles 7:17, 18.
3. When asked whether he was sure that God was on the side of the Union in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln responded, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side.” How is this sentiment like the answer God might have given Solomon were he to have asked if Yahweh would be on the side of the kingdom of Israel?
4. Use a concordance to find examples of a relationship with God being described with the word “walk.” (For example, Deuteronomy 8:6; 10:12; 11:19, Psalm 128:1; Isaiah 2:3-5; Ephesians 5:1, 2.) Kings are said to be seated on a throne, and capitals are referred to as the seat of government. How might a “seated” religion differ from followers who walk in God’s paths?
Read 2 Chronicles 7:19-22.
5. The Lord accepted Israel’s invitation to live among them to watch, lead, and correct the nation’s actions. But what would be some consequences of the nation rejecting God and his oversight? (vv. 20, 21).
6. Compare 2 Chronicles 7:22 to Exodus 20:1, 2. Note the ways God could be remembered by his people (for example, father, creator, teacher). Why is it ironic that they chose to forget him as the one who liberates from slavery (Psalm 78:11-13; 81:9-11; 106:20-22; etc.)?
7. This section of Scripture dealt specifically with God’s relationship with Israel and the temple, but it parallels how God forgives, empowers, and demands fidelity from us. Compare 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14 to 2 Timothy 2:13; 2 Chronicles 7:17, 18 to 2 Timothy 2:12a; and 2 Chronicles 7:19, 20 to 2 Timothy 2:12b. Meditate on 2 Timothy 2:12, 13 and God’s presence and friendship throughout this week.