If My people,who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. -2Chronicles 7:14
Sin is rampant in the United States and other countries today. It’s now claimed that we live in a “post-Christian” world, and certainly the US acts that way. We embrace humanism, glorify homosexuality, murder the unborn, elevate whites above other races, even by our President. Our founders wrote our Constitution based on God’s principles as He expressed them to us in the Bible. He even came to us as a homeless vagabond preacher to set an example for us on how to live by His rules. And still we go our own way while paying our Creator only lip service. God has always chastised His people when they go astray. His people are the Jewish people. But today the followers of Christ are called Christians, and we are supposedly a Christian republic, but wisely not a theocracy. And, God is upset with our performance, more so every day.
Adam and Eve were God’s first humans on earth. They rebelled by doing the one thing God told them not to do. All He required of them was to not eat the fruit of one tree in the center of the Garden of Eden, which was a huge place. But they listened to the devil and gave in to pride, wanting to be as a god, as more equal to their Creator. And God punished them severely for their misdeed. The result of that disobedience plagues us today, and will be with humankind forever.
King Rehoboam became king of Israel, forsaked God, and ruled according to his own way. In the fifth year of his reign God had King Shishak of Egypt overcome Israel with “1200 chariots, three score thousand horsemen: and the people were without number that came from Egypt” with Shishak. The prophet Shemaiah came to King Rehoboam of Israel and told him and the other leaders, “Thus says the Lord: “You have forsaken Me, and therefore I have left you in the hand of King Shishak’ “. King Rehoboam and the princes of Israel repented and humbled themselves and turned back to God. (2 Chronicles 12: 1-6). God saw that Israel had repented and turned back to Him. He therefore prevented Egypt from taking over Israel completely, but He did allow Shishak to carry off the wealth of His people as punishment for their transgression against Him ( 2Chron. 12:7-16).
Likewise, when Israel rebelled against God exiled God’s priests, and established priests of other nations’ false gods. That sound like the US today, doesn’t It? King Abijah of Judah, who did worship the Lord, overcame Israel because of their godless ways (2 Chronicles Ch. 13).
The historical books of the Bible are full of God’s chastising His people because of their falling away from Him. Today the United States has clearly fallen away from God, and we’re being punished for it. COVID-19 has hit the US harder than any other country. A record number of hurricanes and storms are now hitting the Southeastern states, and California is suffering from massive fires whose smoke has blown across the Atlantic to Europe. And, all of this has happened just this year.
Black Lives Matter protesters are taking to the streets in several cities Speaking out against racism and bigotry. Tha is a valid method of combating injustice., but the associated rioting isn’t. We have a right to peaceful dissent, but not violence. However, prejudice against blacks is misguided in that it’s only a symptom of our godless behavior. That’s what needs protesting. The only hope for this country is for it to return to being a nation under God. Only then will the natural disasters and other social ills stop. If you feel led to protest then protest against our falling away from being a Christian nation. That’s the root cause of all our problems.
God gave us the outline for what we need to do in order to return to Him in 2 Chronicles 7:14, as stated above. It’s more complicated than a casual reading of the verse would show. Let’s break down the verse point by point, and see what it says:
People called by God’s name: The Jews were and still are God’s chosen people. And, Christians are His people also. Christs’ followers were first called Christians at Antioch shortly after Christ’s return to heaven. This country was founded by followers of Christ as a republic to be governed under biblical principles. Our founding fathers were well aware of how far astray a theocracy could go. And they were right, as a close study of the state of Utah shows. But that’s another story. The US Constitution follows biblical principles completely. But it’s wisely not the Bible because no modern theocracy is without serious human abuses.
But now our legislators are making noises that the Constitution is out of date. It doesn’t address modern issues, and therefore it needs revising. President Clinton said the Constitution is a “living document” that can be construed as needed to address issues. It’s not out of date, nor is it a living document. The biblical principles inherent in our Constitution apply to every situation regardless of how complex our technology has become. God’s principles for living are as valid today as when Christ walked the earth.
The US is still inhabited by thousands of true Christians, and it’s a good thing that it is. God utterly destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their extensive sin, and because there were not even ten of His true followers in those cities. But He will not completely destroy the US – yet. His people still live in this country.
The people humble themselves: The Hebrew word for humble means to bend the knee, or spiritual humility. It means not thinking of self any more highly than one should in light of humans’ placement under the Creator of everything. Humility is freedom from vanity. For Christians it’s taking our place as Christ’s ambassadors on earth doing His will, not ours. Jesus said that whoever humbles him or her self like a little child is the greatest in heaven (Matthew 18:4). Humbleness means doing good to those who abuse you in order that God can use your example to His benefit and yours ( Matthew 5:44; 18: 3-4, 15-35). You have to put self aside and listen to God in order to hear His instructions to you. That brings us to the next point.
Pray: Prayer is talking with God, not to Him. A conversation has at least two directions or it isn’t a conversation. If it’s mono-directional, one way, it’s talking at somebody, which is ineffective. Prayer is talking with God, confessing your sins and asking for help. But just like good conversation with another person, it means listening closely to what God is telling you without trying to compose a reply while your listening. Evaluate what He tells you so that you know exactly what He is saying in both the spiritual and human contexts. Only then should you reply if it’s necessary. The Hebrew word for pray means supplication to God. The Greek words for prayer mean confiding excesses (sin) to God, expressing personal need, and child-like unqualified devotion to and confidence in God.
God may not respond right away, and if you’re asking for anything outside of the biblical context or His will for you, the answer will be no. God isn’t a genie in a bottle to do our bidding. We were created by God to do His bidding. Your prayers should reflect the acceptance of your position as His servant and ambassador.
Seeking God’s face: Seek here means to seek out God through prayer and worship. It means to strive after God. We are to try to live as much like the example Jesus set for us while He was here as we humanly can. That’s a tall order, but all things are possible with God’s help and guidance.
Turn from wicked ways: This phrase refers to repentance which is turning about, reversing your human ways to going in God’s direction. If you’re driving and realize you’re on the wrong road you don’t have to go back to where you started. You just have to look at a map and figure out what road will get you back on the right road as fast as possible. Wicked means evil both physical and spiritual, not of God, or sin. It is any action or non-action that is outside of God’s will. Very simply, this phrase means to quit sinning and follow God. The map you need to find your way back to the right road is the Bible.
Then He will hear and answer, and heal the land: Notice that everything above precedes God’s intervention. All those things must come before God healing you or this country. A nation is made up of individual people. This includes the leaders, whether king, prime minister, or president. We need another president with the qualities of Jimmy Carter. He openly discharged his duties as President with biblical direction. He just celebrated his 96th birthday this past week, and he’s still loved by the Christians in this country and the world. Mr. Carter is the type of president we need now.
Christians throughout the world need to contact their leaders and everyone they meet and proclaim the message of 2 Chronicles 7:14. We need a major revival in the US and so do the European and other countries. It’s your job as Christ’s ambassador to get this message out, And there isn’t a better time to start than now. I’m going to quit writing so you can get started. Talk with you next week.