Taking a Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Another “If-Then” passage
Probably one of the most familiar of the Biblical “If-Then” passages is 2 Chronicles 7:14:
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) … 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.
And perhaps our familiarity with this passage makes it more important to look at this more carefully. Especially in the light of where our country seems to be headed.
A Question: Let me pose a question here. Given the assumption that the Word of God is true, and the precepts upon which this verse if founded are true. In other words, when God says that if we will do the “If’s,” He will do the “Then’s,” why do we not see more “Then’s?” We have all been in plenty of prayer meetings where this verse has been prayed out and used to plead with God, or convince God to come and heal our land. But if so much pleading is happening, why are we not seeing more answers? Why are we not seeing more divine response to our pleading of this promise?
If God is true to His Word, and I am coming from the assumption that He always is, then the fault must lie with our “If’s.” We are not correctly understanding what our part is. Or we are misapplying what our responsibilities are. And the reality is, that there are numbers and numbers of examples where this verse has been lived out, and God has answered with divine fire of revival, and transformation. The Sentinel Group has been documenting such cases for years. And they continue.
So, if the fault lies with us, and it always does, what must we do, what must we understand in order for us to experience the forgiveness, and healing that God promises? We do not have time to go in depth here, but let’s look at each part of the “If’s.”
If my people who are called by my Name – This group of people is not just “anybody.” These are not simply “church people.” For there are, unfortunately, lots of people in our churches who do not truly have a personal, redeemed relationship with the Lord. Those who are called by His Name, are the ones who are not simply church members, but those who through genuine faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, paid the penalty of sin once for all, have become the children of God through faith in Christ’s finished work. These are those who have the authority to do the “If’s” in this verse. And those who know they are called by His Name have the responsibility to take that authority seriously.
Will humble themselves – We can get all tangled up in talking about what “humbling ourselves” means, but the bottom line is simply that there are no more excuses, no more self-justification, no more wiggle room. We are the reason that our society, our land is so messed up. It is our sin that is the source of the dysfunction in our society. Oh sure, that is not to take away from the effects of the lives of the unsaved. Sin has had and continues to have a devastating, and debilitating effect on every area of society. However, we cannot run away or hide from the fact that when the people of God are living righteously, and with the wisdom, grace, and love of God flowing in and through their lives, those affects are greatly mitigated, and the presence of God is invited into a community resulting in revival of the Church, and transformation of society at every level.
And Pray – Ask anyone who is living in, or has lived in a time of revival and transformation and they will tell you that what came was the result not of casual, convenient prayer, but of intense, soul wrenching, agonizing, persistent intercession. It is not my intention to do a teaching on intercession here, but I believe that we do not understand well all the dimensions of what this entails. We can tend to be one dimensional in our praying for revival and transformation, when in reality this will take on many forms … which I believe reflects the multi-faceted heart of our God. There are times for bold and forceful storming of the gates of heaven, and there are times when the weight of the sin before us relegates us to silent, desperate weeping before His Holy Throne. There are times of individual intercession, and (this is the most difficult part) corporate prayer that calls for us to set aside our church, denominational, and other preferences for the sake of the greater desire to see God come to our cities, and our countries. This is broken, desperate, peristant prayer that keeps on praying UNTIL God answers.
seek my face – A short summary would be that the “Face of God” represents His presence, and the completeness of His Personhood … in other words all that He is. His completeness for every area of our lives. To seek the Face of God means that we have adopted the heart attitude that we cannot live another day without His manifest presence in our midst. It does not mean hiding off in a monastery somewhere, but it does mean that we seek His Presence in every area, and in every situation of our lives. Every part of our lives is submitted to His Lordship and His Presence there without exception. A complete abandonment to the desire to have Him present in our home, in our work, in our schools, in our private times, in our family times, in our churches, in our government, in our arts and entertainments. In every aspect of life we hunger for His deeper presence.
turn from their wicked ways – True repentance, is not just a few words spoken out in a time of emotional outburst. True repentance is a change of lifestyle and habit patterns. Giving up of “pet” vices, and a recognizing of what are idols in our lives. Ancient Israel was constantly erecting idols of worship… the Lord called this spiritual prostitution. We are greatly deficient in recognizing the idols in our own lives. And of course one of our excuses is that the Lord wants us to “have fun.” Indeed, the Lord gave Israel many feasts and talked a lot about the joy of His presence, but He did not tolerate those things that they turned to “first,” or that they “substituted” for worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians that those things will be different for each of us. That is why it is so important for us to be willing to be instructed by the Lord in what He sees as idols in our lives, in our families, in our churches, in our society. Then we must completely turn from those things, putting them in their proper place, and making a change of lifestyle that reflects true repentance by walking it out in a different lifestyle guided by His Holy Spirit.
“IF” we will give ourselves to our part… God, who is the ever faithful One, will keep His part of the equation. Do we truly want revival and transformation in our lives, our churches, our families, our society? The choice is before us. If we will…. He will…
He only waits upon us….