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If My People


The following article may present a different way of thinking concerning 2 Chronicles 7:14.  Consider what I say and may Jesus give you the understanding in all things. 


"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 will forgive their sins and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)"


All the messages I've heard associated with this verse suggest that if the citizens of any nation humble themselves in prayer, God will heal their nation.  I'd like to suggest another way to view this verse.  Many Christian gatherings have been held on the doorsteps of their respective national capital buildings in the hope of  petitioning God for national healing.  Much of  the thinking for these gatherings is based on this verse.  Christians want God to heal their nation, but is this a proper understanding of what God is saying? Who is He speaking to here, and what is He saying?   


If you read the whole chapter you'll see that God spoke to King Solomon about Israel soon after the dedication of the new temple.  These were the glory days of Jewish history.  God's presence was with Israel.   


2 Chronicles 7:14 has to be understood in its context.  These words were just part of what God spoke to Israel through Solomon.  We often view this verse as a promise, but it was more than that.  The whole passage is a prophetic warning to Israel.  We shouldn't extract the promise and ignore the warning, but we do, and so did Israel.  God told Israel in verse 13 that "when I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send a plague among my people…"   Look closely at what God said.  He didn't say, "if I shut up the heavens."  He said, "when I shut up the heavens."  The word "when" is prophetic, speaking of the day "when" Israel would turn from her God and "when" God would shut up the heavens.  It's clear to me that the promise of healing found here is in the context of a severe warning directed towards Israel.  


The words "if my people who are called by my name" refer to Israel, no one else.Israel was to represent God in the midst of a pagan world.  If they refused to do this, as they did, God would shut up the heavens, send the locust and plagues, which He did.   


Israel's rejection of Jesus was the ultimate in their turning away from their God.  It was the culmination of many acts of disobedience that led to her destruction in 70  A. D.  Their rejection of Jesus initiated the negative aspect of the prophetic warning of 2 Chronicles 7 and elsewhere, until the day comes when God will send a spirit of repentance to Israel and then they will return to their God once and for all (Zechariah 12:10).   At that time God will heal the land of Israel as He promised in 2 Chronicles 7:14.  That day might not be far off.  Israel will experience a national healing which will mark the beginning of the next era in human history.  It's therefore clear to me that 2 Chronicles 7:14 was spoken to Israel, not to any nation that exists today. 


The one good point to Israel's turning away from God as seen in her rejection of Jesus is that it gives you and I the opportunity to become part of God's New Covenant people, whether we're Jew or Gentile.  Those who have given their lives to Jesus are now the people of God in the midst of a pagan world.  I personally believe that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is directed to Israel, not towards  Canadians, Americans, or any other nationality.  If you insist this verse applies to other people too, then the only other possible group it could apply to would be God's present day people.  That's Christians.  That's the church.  In this sense of the word, like Israel of old, there's a need for some serious repenting and healing in God's people today.  We're not all that different from Israel of old.   


With this in mind, the next time you pray for national healing based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, no matter what nation you live in, I'd suggest you pray for the healing of the church in your nation instead of your nation.  I'm not convinced God is interested in Christianizing our pagan nations, at least not at the moment.  That comes later.  He's more interested in individual men and women repenting and finding personal healing.  He's more interested in His present day people, the church, repenting and finding healing.  Remember, the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is to "my people who are called by my name," that's God's people, not secular nations.  


I think the health of any nation is determined by the health of God's people within the nation.  Western nations in times past have been healthier because of Christian influence. That's not the case any more.  Our nations have lost this Christian influence because Christians have ignored Biblical thinking.  If God's people who are called by His name today repent, then we as God's people will experience the healing we need that will inevitably affect our nations.      


To sum up, I believe 2 Chronicles 7:14 is specifically directed to the Jews, no one else.  If there is any secondary interpretation, it could only be directed to the church.  If you believe that God wants to Christianize a secular nation, then you might want to find another passage to support your thinking.  Many groups over the centuries have attempted to Christianize their nation, or turn their nation into the Kingdom of God.  They've tried to institute the Kingdom of God in a humanistic way.  It hasn't worked.  The Kingdom of God is presently among us in a spiritual way that is represented in the church.  It's not until the return of Jesus that the Kingdom of God will come to earth in a material and physical way.  Until that day comes, God's people as seen in the church need to repent and find subsequent healing.  Israel needs to do the same, and will at the end of this age. 


Just for clarity sake, I'm not totally opposed to praying for our nations.  Paul does tell us to pray for our leaders, so we can live a peaceful and godly life.  I just don't think 2 Chronicles 7:14 is telling us to pray for the healing of our western nations.  I see the focus of the New Testament is to pray for the salvation of individual  people.  Jesus will deal with nations at the end of this age.  Beyond praying for individual salvation, I think we should pray for a spirit of repentance to sweep over the church.  If you're still convinced that God wants to heal our secular nations right now, then you should study the Bible's understanding of "humbling ones self before God in repentance."  It's a very serious matter and is seldom preached in our modern church.  Without this repentance, there can be no healing. 



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