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: Today’s reading from 2 Chronicles recounts an episode in the life of Solomon when God appeared to him after the building of the temple had been completed. What God said to Solomon resonates with the situation the world currently finds itself in. In 2 Chronicles 7:13 God says to Solomon: ‘When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people …’ . The question that immediately arises is: Does this mean that God is the cause of all these natural disasters? If so, then surely he should intervene to stop them happening. Thinking about this and reading the passage over and over again I realised that the emphasis in this passage is not on the natural disasters, but on the salvation that comes when God’s people turn back to him.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God says that if these natural disasters do occur, then ‘… 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’. Notice that this repentance and turning back to God starts with those God describes as ‘… my people, who are called you my name …’. In Solomon’s day this would clearly mean the people of Israel. Applying this to our time, it must mean those who collectively would be called the people of God. In other words, those who call themselves Christian, whether individuals or denominations.
This is a clear message for our time; for individuals and denominations to return to God. Notice the progression – ‘… humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their wicked ways …’ (v14). Unfortunately we’ve lived through a period when many church denominations thought they knew better than God and set aside the authority of Scripture for an interpretation of the Bible that aligned with the moral standards of society at large. What God wants is for his people to return to him first and foremost. Let’s be clear about this, revival starts with the people of God. When the people of God have returned to him (repented), notice what God promises his response will be. He says: I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land (v14).
Just in case Solomon should think that he has no part to play in this, God speaks directly to him by saying: ‘As for you …’ (v17). The life of Solomon was just as important to God as the collective life of the people of Israel. The same applies to us. While we are praying for the church (and nations) to return to God, he will be saying to us: ‘As for you’.
Pray: Father, we pray that you would use the present crisis to bring about revival in your church. May we examine ourselves individually to see the things in us that need to be repented of and may we seek your forgiveness. We also pray for the healing of our land. Amen