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If My People

 

Two thousand Christians packed the Marriott Wardman Park convention center in Washington D C.  The Friday evening gathering was simulcast on large screens in many western capital cities.  The enthusiastic audience stood in applause as the guest speaker approached the podium.  "We've gathered here to pray for our nation", he said.  "Our theme for the weekend is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, and I quote;  '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 will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and will heal their land'".  The well known conference speaker continued.  "We're going to seek the Lord on behalf of our nation.  Our land will be healed as this passage states".  Upon hearing these words, those in attendance stood to their feet, clapped their hands, and shouted for joy.  Their nation would find favour with God and their land would be healed, just as they understood 2 Chronicles 7:14 to say. 

 

Understanding any Bible passage takes a good measure of hermeneutical thought.  Hermeneutics is the art of Biblical interpretation.  The lack of sound Biblical interpretation has led to misunderstanding of Biblical truth and misguided attempts to apply this truth.  Let's approach 2 Chronicles 7:14 from a sound hermeneutical perspective with the following questions.


Question;

Who spoke in 2 Chronicles 7:14?
Answer;
God spoke. (2 Chronicles 7:12)  

 

Question;

To whom did God speak?

Answer;

God spoke to Solomon. (2 Chronicles 7:11 - 12)

 

Question;

Even though God spoke to Solomon, to whom were His words directed? 

Answer;

God's words were directed to His people. (2 Chronicles 7:13)

 

Question;

Who were God's people?

Answer;

In context, God's people were Israelis.

 

Question;

What is the immediate context of God's exhortation found in 2 Chronicles 7:14?

Answer;

God's exhortation in 2 Chronicles 7:14 begins in 2 Chronicles 7:12 - 13.  Verse 13 reads; "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locus to devour the land or send a plague among my people".   

 

Question;

What did God mean in verse 13 when He said, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain ?

Answer;

Verse 13 is pure prophecy.  That makes verse 14 and following prophetic as well.  We know this passage is prophetic because of the use of the word "when" in verse 13.  God said "when I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain "  He didn't say, "if I shut up the heavens "   God predicted a day when He would prevent rain from falling on Israel, would command locusts to devour the land, and would send plagues to consume the people.  That's prophetic.

 

Question;

Has this prophecy been fulfilled?

Answer;

This prophecy began to be fulfilled in 70 A D when God used the Roman army to drive Israelis out of their land.  He completed this task with another expulsion of Israelis from their land in 135 A D.  From that point on, the geographical history of that part of the world shows it became a barren, dry, useless, desert.  Only in recent decades has this desert began to blossom, and that's due to other prophetic passages being fulfilled.   

 

Here's what we've learned from a good hermeneutical approach to 2 Chronicles 7:14.  God told Solomon that the day would come when He'd devastate Israel 's land with drought, pestilent, and plagues. This was fulfilled in the years following 135 A D.  God said that if His people Israel would seek His face and turn from their wickedness, He'd forgive their sins and heal their land.  Zechariah 12:10, along with other passages, tells us that Israelis will repent after they've been brought to their knees in judgment during what we've called the Great Tribulation.  At the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to Israel, their sins will be forgiven. Their land will also experience the needed healing due to its devastation during the last seven years of this age.   

 

It's important to know that 2 Chronicles 7:14 links the forgiveness of Israel's sins with the healing of their land.  This is probably due to the fact that Israelis had constantly sinned by ignoring the seventh year land Sabbath.  They were commanded to rest their land every seven years.  Since they failed to rest their land, their overworked land became a desert.     

 

I propose that a proper hermeneutical approach to 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us that our common Evangelical understanding of this verse has been faulty.  This passage is not addressed to Christians.  God isn't telling Christians to repent so their land can be healed.  Besides, God never promised Christians any land.  As a matter of fact, we're foreigners in the nation in which we live.  We're waiting patiently for a future heavenly city to call our own as seen in Hebrews 13:14. 

 

If you're praying for national healing you should cling to Genesis 12:3, not 2 Chronicles 7:14.  It reads, "I will bless those who bless you".  The pronoun "you" refers to Israel.  2 Chronicles 7:14 is a prophecy directed to Israel.  Genesis 12:3 presents all peoples and nations with a choice to either bless Israel or curse Israel.  The future of your nation depends on how it responds to this choice.     

 

Two thousand Christians packed the Marriott Wardman Park convention center in Washington D C.  The Friday evening gathering was simulcast on large screens in many western capital cities.  The enthusiastic audience stood in applause as the guest speaker approached the podium.  "We've gathered here to pray for Israel ", he said.  "Our theme for the weekend is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14, and I quote; '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 will I hear from heaven and forgive their sins and will heal their land'".  The well known conference speaker continued by saying, "We're going to seek the Lord on behalf of Israel.  When we pray for God's historic people Israel , we participate in the fulfillment of this prophetic passage.  Our hearts rejoice as we anticipate the day when Israelis will return to their Messiah and experience the healing of their land".  Upon hearing these words, those in attendance stood to their feet, clapped their hands, and worshipped the Messiah of Israel".  The fulfillment of 2 Chronicles 7:14 would mean ultimate salvation for Jewish and Gentile believers alike.

 

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