Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2 Chronicles 7:14 What does it mean to us?

I first want to say sorry for such a long break between blogs. I will finish the other blog shortly but before that I would like to discuss this Sunday's sermon text with you. I've had many conversations with friends concerning this passage. We do not always agree on our conclusions...but that's OK. I want to know what you think. I will give you some background on the text, commentary I've found concerning the text, and my personal thoughts. Then, we will come together this Sunday to discover what God has laid on Bro. Joe's heart concerning the text.

"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 sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

Obviously this passage wasn't written to modern day America. It was actually a response from God to Solomon's request in chapter 6 concerning provisions for the people when they sinned. We often use this passage as if it were a promise for us, today. I don't think we are entirely wrong to do that. Let me explain.

While this is not a promise specifically to our country, I do believe it is a promise to "God's people". I don't believe we should ever exclude ourselves from promises we find in God's Word. When we do this, we must exclude ourselves from all promises from God's Word. How depressing would that be? I do believe we have to carefully look at God's Word and discover how it applies to us today in its context of scripture. So, let's get at it!

If my people who are called by my name
Two concepts are basic here...(1) Israel belonged to God; His ame had been called upon them; (2) they must acknowledge this and submit to His authority.

And pray and seek my face
Not only are they to pray to God, bu they are not to settle fo less than being admitted into His presence. They must see Him.

Turn from their wicked ways
God will not hear prayers unaccompanied by true repentance.

When once the ear of God is reached, He will not only remove the guilt but will restore to health and usefulness.

above taken from the Broadman Bible Commentary

God answered Solomon with four conditions for forgiveness...
1. humble yourself by admitting your sins.
2. pray to God, asking for forgiveness.
3. seek God continually.
4. turn from sinful behavior.

True repentance is more than talk - it is changed behavior. Whether we sin individually, as a group,or as a nation, following these steps will lead to forgiveness. God will answer our earnest prayer.

So, does this apply to us today? I strongly believe it does. I believe it applies to us as individuals, as a church, and as a nation. Now first let me say I love my country. I'm proud to be an American...but I don't believe we have special privileges with God because we are Americans. Yes, we have unbelievable freedoms compared to other parts of the world. Yes, we have been blessed as a nation since the beginning of our existence. But hear me carefully, God doesn't love us anymore as a nation than He does Iraq, Iran, China, Russia, etc. On a side note, I detest taking precius worship time with my Father away to exalt a nation.

Now back to the passage. What is this saying to us today? Well, I think it is pretty clear. As individuals, we need to get our lives in line with our heavenly Father. That is going to take true repentance. We are all living lives that fall short of the Glory of God. We struggle with sin. We hold on to wrongs that were done to us by others. We turn our backs on God all too often. We allow the things of the world to take us away from that precious time of worship with the family of God. All things of which we need to repent.

When we as individuals live lives that bring the Father glory, His church will be stronger than ever. We will see revival. We will experience His presence. There will be an outpouring of His Holy Spirit in our midst.

When the church becomes the church, we will see things change in our nation. I believe we have no one to blame except ourselves when it comes to our current state as a nation. We have failed to live out God's Word in our world. We have become a nation of wimpy "Sunday" Christians who look no different than those who are lost in their sin.

That brings me to my next thought. What should we look like? Simple answer, Jesus! As I recall, the only times Jesus was angered was when He was dealing with "church" people. To the outcast of society, Jesus was kind, compassionate, a friend. Did He overlook their sin? No, but he sure didn't belittle them or treat them as outcasts. He loved them. He cared for them. And His kindness exposed their sin. They became aware of the sin in their lives. It's only through that same love, compassion and kindness that we as individuals can make a difference through the church and in our nation. Why do so many think we are angry, mean, vindictive people? Because that is too often their experience with Christians. We must show love. We must show compassion. We must show kindness. We must accept them as they are and let God do the changing. As the song says, "Come just as you are. Hear the Spirits call. Come just as you are. Come and see, come recieve, Come and live forever. Life everlasting, strength for today. Taste the living water and never thirst again."

So how does this passage come to life in our lives today? We must humbly come before the Lord, seeking His forgivenss. We need to seek Him continually and turn from our sinful behavior. It's then and only then that He will heal our land. And remember, His healing my not look like we think it should. But His healing will be so much better than what we could have ever imagined. Let's truly experience revival in our lives, in our churches and in our nation. Let's live out our calling as "little Christ's. Then we will experience a great harvest of souls for the Kingdom of God.



  1. Sounds like a plan.

    The "wimpy Sunday Christians" thing reminds me of the opening to "What If I Stumble" by DC Talk. "The greatest single cause of athiesm in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and get on with their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."

  2. I am coming back to say I misspoke. Bro. Joe will not be using this passage this Sunday. Things change. So if you want to hear his thoughts, you will have to ask. It's still a great topic for discussion.

    Great point Josh.

  3. i misspoke too. it's actually "and deny Him with their lifestyle"

  4. Tracey said that detest my have been too harsh. I hope you all know what I mean. I wasn't trying to be disrespectful. I just feel a sense of obligation to make sure worship stays focused on the object of our worship.

  5. I'm not sure 'detest' is to harsh - because anything at all that takes away from what and to whom our worship is for - IS just plain detestable! When we claim to attend church to worship - then worship God and God alone is What we should be doing. And ya know - what's truly neat is when we totally focus on worshipping Him - WE get the blessing!!! Wow - what an awesome God we serve!!!!

  6. If enough of us idividuals who are called by His name where to humble ourselves and prey and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways, He wouldn't have much healing of our land to do.

    Too often we humble ourselve and try to turn from our wicked ways and fail because we do not seek His face. Then there are those of us who prey and seek His face without humbling ourselves, feeling we have no wicked ways to turn from.

    Healing only comes when we put everything in place for God to heal and that is simple realizing that apart from Him we can do nothing - not even turn from our wicked ways. All our programs, all our carizma, all our political power, all our rightiousness, all our will cannot bring healing. Only God can.

  7. I feel the need to clarify some things. "I detest taking precious worship time away from my Father to exalt a nation". I am referring to how so many seem to exalt our nation, among other things, above our God. I don’t believe we do that at Hebron…but I do believe it happens a lot. I am very patriotic. Proud to be an American. But as I said, I don’t believe God loves us or blesses us anymore than others because we are Americans. I always want to make sure that our worship is to solely exalt the Lord, Jesus Christ. And we will give Him thanks this Sunday for the blessings He has given to us as a nation. We will also humbly seek Him, ask for His forgiveness, and turn from our wicked ways so that He is exalted in our nation once again.

    As for the “little Christ”, Christian is literally translated “little Christ”. A Christian is one who becomes an adherent of Christ, whose daily life and behavior facing adversity is like Christ. I was not saying we should consider ourselves Christ. But just as little Johnny tries to be like big Johnny, so we should be like Christ.

    I really appreciate all your thoughts and comments. Life is a learning process for us all. I'm enjoying this time of learning and growing with you all as we seek to be more like Christ.

  8. Whenever we sing songs about our country in church, I'm praising God for the blessings that we have as Americans.
    I think that worship is more than only praise. It also should teach us how to relate on a daily level, with God's word as the standard. This would include how we relate to those in authority (including the government) and how we act toward one another.

    I agree with Destry's opinion that the promises in God's word are for us, as much as for the ones to whom the promises were given. Kind of like Aesop's Fables (except true), they have a surface meaning and a deeper truth. Since God's word is "living and active," the truths contained withing can and do apply today as much as they did yesterday.

    Loved your commments, Mr. Kenny, about having all of the components together. Good reminder!