… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
Read: 2 Chronicles 7:11-22
Consider: The story of Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:11-22 recounts an incident where God appeared to Solomon after the completion of the temple and the royal palace. The context is the dedication of the temple and the people re-dedicating themselves to God. In verse 10 we are told that Solomon ‘… sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done …’.
God doesn’t promise Solomon and his chosen people that they will have an easy time, but that when difficult times arise (v13), then he will respond positively provided certain things happen. God says that if his people humble themselves, turn to him in prayer, seek his face and turn from their sin, then he will hear their prayer, forgive their sin and heal their land.
Can we apply this to us today, or was it purely for Solomon and the people of Israel at that time? Interestingly, I belong to a church in Edinburgh that has just re-dedicated a former church building and brought it back into church use (exciting times). Additionally, the congregation has been asked to re-dedicate itself to serve God in our city and beyond. It almost sounds like what was happening in Solomon’s time (building of the temple), or perhaps more so in Nehemiah’s time (re-building of Jerusalem and the temple).
Thinking of ourselves as a Christian church, God is asking us to ‘humble ourselves’, ‘pray’, ‘seek his face’ and ‘turn away from sin’ and only then will God forgive our sin and heal our land. Most congregations are willing to spend time praying (although this is highly variable) and seeking God, but few really humble themselves and actively confront sin among its members. If true humility was seen in the church today, with fervently seeking God in prayer, and desiring and pursuing holiness, then our cities and nations would be very different.
The starting point must be the individual church member (… my people, who are called by my name …). If you and I were to take onboard what is said in 2 Chronicles 7:14, humbling ourselves before God, seeking him in prayer and turning our backs on sin, then we should expect God to pour out his Holy Spirit on our nations and draw them back to himself.
Pray: Father, help us to see that your desire is for your people (your church) to be healed and for denominations that have wandered away from the truth to return to accepting your Word as the prime guide for life and doctrine. Forgive us for our lack of courage when we have seen a watering-down of what you have revealed in Scripture. Amen