2 Chronicles 7:14
“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.”
Are you, like me, weary and restless from all the bad news from around our country and the world? A global pandemic that continues to spread and affect countless lives, with no foreseeing light at the end of the tunnel. Natural disasters that continue to reach down and grip millions, destroying states and communities. Financial disasters that have wiped out and devalued economies. Political fights and arguments that has caused a great chasm and war in our nation. In light of all of this, questions, worry, and fear fill our hearts and minds. You may be thinking to yourself, “how will all this play out?” or “will things ever get better?”
So what are we to do in this difficult and dark season that we are living in? I believe what we need more than anything in our world right now is a spiritual awakening, a revival of the heart across the globe. To be sure, we are in unprecedented and difficult times, but I believe even still God is speaking, moving, and is reaching down to extend mercy to every heart and soul on planet earth.
This is not in any way to belittle our circumstances, or the severity of Covid-19, but once we do find a vaccine, once we do flatten the curve, once we are on the other side of this situation, will we be exactly in the same place spiritually before it came? I believe this uncertain season is a time for the people of faith to turn to God and draw nearer to Him.
The text that has been reoccurring in my mind for the past week has been 2 Chronicles 7:14. We find in chapter 7, the temple has just been established, built by Solomon for the worship of God’s people. For the first time in the nation’s history, God’s people have a place, a building to go to meet with God. And Solomon has built the temple and now is dedicating the temple to the glory of God. In fact, nothing symbolized God’s presence among His people in the Old Testament more than the temple, the earthly dwelling place of God.
And in the middle of this dedication where God’s presence fills the temple, we find a promise in verse 14 marked by two important words: “if” and “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” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Notice God didn’t say, “if those people,” but He said “if my people.” This is where it all starts, with God’s people, the church. We are facing a global pandemic and it is a frightening and dark time to say the least. And friends the truth is, God doesn’t want us, the church, to be sitting on the sidelines. To be sheltered inside shaking in fear of what might happen. God is saying to us today that I want my church to stand up and step out in faith and fix their eyes on me.
And if my people who are called by my name will do these four things: “will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways.” Another way to identify these four things would be: humility, prayer, devotion and repentance. The word, humble means to be in submission, to live in a state of surrender. When we humble ourselves, we are literally saying to God, you are in control of my life and I am depending on you. Prayer is simply communicating with the God of the Universe who loves and cares for us! When we pray, we are letting go of control and allowing God to fight for us and work on our behalf. Seeking Jesus’ face means a daily reorienting of our hearts and minds to God, by practicing our spiritual disciplines: prayer, mediation, reading scripture, silence, and so forth. And repentance is taking time to look inward and self-examine our hearts and lives to see if there is any sin in us, confessing our sin, and turning to the grace and mercy of God. All of this will take us being intentional with how we are prioritizing our time, and creating meaningful space to commune with God.
After the “if” we see the promise in the second half of verse 14, “then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Notice the things God promises His people: He will hear them from Heaven, He will forgive their sin, and He will heal their land. Wow, what incredible promises from God. Yes, this is a terrible season where our land is facing death and darkness but we serve a God who is still in the business of speaking light into darkness, order into chaos, and life into death.
Now this “if” is a question for us, as God’s people. What will we do with it? We could be bystanders. We could just sit on the sidelines, watch the news, and wait for the latest breaking update. Friends, know that with the “if” there is a “then” and a promise from God. God is waiting for His people to step up and step out into the “if” today. To humble ourselves, to pray, to seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. And it is important to know that once we do these things, does not mean that God will make the “then” happen instantly, or on our time schedules. God can and does work miracles, but that is not dependent on anything we do, but rather on His great love for us. What promise we have in our text is that even in the midst of darkness and chaos, God is still in control and reaching down to us.
This is the hope of Easter! This journey throughout lent has been full of darkness, loss, and even literal death itself. But what we discover at Calvary and through the cross, is a God full of grace and mercy reaching down to bring light where there is darkness, life where there is death, hope where there is despair and pardon where there is sin. Ultimately, when we look at the cross, we see that God takes the worst circumstances and somehow uses them for greater good. Take comfort in knowing that the story doesn’t end at the cross in death and darkness. And thank God it doesn’t! For three days later, the grave stone was rolled away, and Christ was resurrected bringing victory over death and darkness. Because of the empty tomb and the Risen Christ, we can trust in God’s promises and that He will always come through with His word. “He will hear us from heaven, He will forgive our sin, and He will heal our land.”
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
My wonderful church family, let us continue to keep the faith, and lift our eyes to the Maker of heaven and earth. Resurrection is coming!
I hope that this song will be your prayer and bring you hope and strength tonight!
Song: “Hear Us From Heaven” by New Life Worship
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