Like many of us who have been part of the body of Christ for many decades, I’ve attended a number of camps and rallies that take on issues like abortion, or hunger, and more recently human trafficking. Those are all awful blights on our nation and by extension on our churches. It’s the most natural thing in the world for a speaker at such a rally to cite 2 Chronicles 7:14,
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
And then proclaim that’s the formula for God to heal America. As a “Context is King” guy, I can’t make that claim. It’s fast and it’s easy, but if you read even the surrounding paragraph (attached below) you quickly recognize that God is talking about the Temple and Israel – not any claimant anywhere. However, even though that text isn’t written to us, it’s certainly written for us. Let’s look again at those four steps:
- Humble Themselves. Could humbling myself before God hurt anything? Might is lead to better fellowship with Him? James says so (5:6), in fact in the context of James 5 he’s talking about people who through their attitudes and choices have made themselves out to be enemies with God. Positionally, I’m at peace with God because of the blood of Christ – but if I’m living in opposition to Him, humbling myself is the first step to restored fellowship.
- And Pray. Can’t really be in fellowship with someone to whom I don’t speak. Praying to God, is also a form of humility, because I am acknowledging that I’m in need (Philippians 4:6-7).
- And Seek My Face. The Book of Hebrews is one long sermon about not drifting away from Christ and His Church. In Chapter 10 as the author is wrapping up his argument about the sufficiency and superiority of Christ’s sacrifice, he tells us to “draw near with a sincere heart and in full assurance of faith.” If restored fellowship is what I need, drawing nearer to the one with Whom I want fellowship only makes sense.
- And Turn from Their Wicked Ways. Another word for restoration of Fellowship is “Repentance.” In 1 John 1 we are told to confess our sins AND to walk in the light. Holding on to sin while I’m confessing it, makes as much sense as smuggling a hot fudge sundae to a Weight Watchers meeting. Beloved, let it go! (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Following the formula in 2 Chronicles 7:14 isn’t a prescription for healing my land, or my church, or even my family. But it’s the perfect prescription for healing my relationship with my Heavenly Father – and that’s the best promise of all! Let’s each seek personal revival and then wait to see what God may choose to do in us and through us! Ephesians 3:20-21
Yours Because I’m His,
2 Chronicles 7:12-18 – Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, 14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that My name may be there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, even to do according to all that I have commanded you, and will keep My statutes and My ordinances, 18 then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.’