About Jesus Steve Sweetman
my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from
heaven and forgive their sins and will heal their land". (2
Chronicles 7:14 - NIV)
can't recall the last time I heard 2 Chronicle 7:14 spoken of in its
true historic context. What
I've heard lately are attempts to link this verse to
Chronicles 7:11 tells us that God spoke these words after King Solomon
finished building the temple that pleased Him. (mid 900's B.C.)
phrase "if my people who are called by my name" clearly refers
Chronicles 7:13 tells us why God spoke these words to Israel. "When I shut up the
heavens so there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or
send a plague among my people".
The text doesn't say "if I ..."
It says "when I…", as in, "when I shut up the
heavens", "when I command the locusts", and, "when I
send a plague". Drought,
locusts, and a plague, weren't a possibility, but a certainty.
They were God's judgment on an arrogant, self reliant, and wicked
light of God's judgment, 2 Chronicles 7:14 now comes into play.
If Israelis were to find their way out from under judgment, they
were to "humble" themselves. The
word "humble" is translated from the Hebrew word
"kata", meaning, "to bow, to fall, to be subdued, to be
depressed, or to be brought low".
God's judgment would bring Israelis
down and knock their arrogant self reliance out of their national
system. Once broken by
judgment, Israelis could more easily humble themselves, pray, and seek
Hebrew word "baqash" is translated as "seek" in 2
Chronicles 7:14. It means,
"to earnestly and persistently search for".
Seeking God's face wasn't meant to be a quick prayer meeting, but
a burden that caused Israelis to persist in prayer until judgment was
Israelis had "to turn from their wicked ways".
They had to repent of what they had done and who they had become.
Their greatest sin was paganizing the worship of Yahweh.
example of Israeli's following through on the 2 Chronicles 7:14 pattern
is seen in Ezra 10. "While
Ezra was praying and confessing, weeping and throwing himself down
before the house of God, a large crowd of Israelites – men, women, and
children – gathered around him. They
too wept bitterly … We have been unfaithful to our God by marrying
foreign women from the people around us … now let us make a covenant
before our God to send away these women and their children …"
(Ezra 10:1-3) The 2
Chronicles 7:14 pattern is clearly seen here.
While weeping, Israelis genuinely humbled themselves and sought
God's face. As hard as this
must have been, husbands sent their pagan wives and the children born to
these wives back to their pagan homelands.
What pain and anguish this must have caused these families. Repentance
was no easy or casual matter for these Israelis.
when linking 2 Chronicles 7:14 to America
or to any other nation, we must realize this to be a secondary
application, a departure from its original intent.
We must understand the message of this verse in the exact same
way God meant Israel
to understand it. We must
maintain the consistency from the verse's original intent to our
maintaining this consistency, we should realize that this past summer's
drought in parts of
of that which is called "God's people" these days is no
Ezra 10 experience doesn't take place in a two day prayer conference at
a high priced hotel. It's
not a get-a-way retreat where we listen to one speaker after another,
sing worship songs, and then gather for coffee.
It's a burden we can't run from. It's
an outpouring of a spirit of repentance on believers who are willing to
embrace the anguish of a sinful people.
It's a grass roots movement.
Individual Israelis followed Ezra's example of heart felt
repentance. The same can
happen today. Repentance can
spread from one believer to the next, from one community to the next,
until a massive movement of real repentance invades the land.
The upcoming American
election won't totally be decided by the electorate, although they
obviously play an important part. "The
Most High is sovereign over the nations of men" (Daniel 4:17), and
He places those in power who will accomplish His purposes. He
might well install an anti-Christian leader to promote anti-Christian