2Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which 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.
When doing Bible reading, we often pass over verses due to their familiarity and assume that we know the meaning of the verse without seriously considering what they mean. 2Chronicles 7:14 perhaps is one of those verses as it becomes a quick aspirational mantra instead of a deep commitment of the heart. Let me share a deliberate approach to this verse that has helped me.
“If” is a conditional word indicating that certain conditions must be met for the promise to come true. This is often passed over because we like to get to the promise at the end of the verse and ignore that there is some personal responsibility involved.
“My people” has a possessive pronoun modifying the noun indicating a possession component. The “people” are not just anyone but those that belong to God by the purchase of their redemption through the shed blood of the Master, meaning they were acquired at a high price.
“Which are called by my name” is the assumption of the identity connected to the owner. For most of the readers today this would equate with taking the name “Christian” which is to lay claim to being one that aspires to be “a little Christ” on earth. This is not to assume His role but to live in a manner that people will know to whom you belong without the need to tell anyone. Unfortunately, far too many people that claim His name today do not live in such a manner and bring disgrace to the name of Christ by their usage of it.
“Shall humble themselves” is to bend the knee in subjection and realization of the proper condition of being completely dependent on another. An accurate evaluation of one’s own merit or lack thereof will bring the honest person to a place of realization of their complete ineptitude.
“And pray” is an action that is instructional that we are to be going to God in humble intercession realizing that the only hope for a resolution will come in the form of Divine assistance. Prayer is one of the simplest activities that has been commanded of Christians but also one that is underutilized and often only done at mealtimes and in times of distress, instead of the pattern of life for the believer.
“And seek my face” is a simple way to say that you are looking to learn more of Him and to please Him with your life. The amount of time that Christians waste trying to figure out what is allowable and what is forbidden would be solved if we simply made the directive of life one of looking for ways to please and honor my Redeemer.
“And turn from their wicked ways” is often dismissed in many examinations of this verse. The reason is the “wicked ways” are falsely pushed to those outside of the church and not for those within its walls. The problem with that thinking is the verse is addressed earlier to those that are His people called by His name, henceforth, the wicked ways to be abandoned are also those of His people. Those of us within the church would do well perhaps to start pulling the “beams” out of our own eyes and start living in genuine holiness before we can expect to truly make a difference in the world around us.
“Then I will hear from heaven” is an indication that perhaps many prayers go unanswered because they are not given an audience in the heavenlies due to the lack of meeting the required conditions. We operate far too often with an attitude of living in any manner that we desire and expect to have God pay attention to our prayers but ignore our unwillingness to adhere to His commands.
“And will forgive their sin” is again a helpful reminder that the word “their” is not directed at those outside of the family but those within the identity of being His people called by His name. We also see this emphasized in 1Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? Revival needs to start within the walls of the church if we are to expect to impact the world around us.
“And will heal their land” concludes the verse we are examining and is often the phrase that gets skipped to in our prayers for healing of our country that has traveled down the path of the spiral of degradation that is found at the end of Romans chapter one. We seem to want to ignore the rest of the verse directed at us and expect God to heal our land because we quote a verse and give Him token attention in superficial prayers.
When taken all together this verse is a reminder that if we want to see genuine change in our country it will not come in the form of legislative changes, or the political leaders that often place financial concerns ahead of moral priorities. The overturning of Roe vs. Wade was a tremendous correction of a terrible ruling but is not the answer to the condition of our land as those that desire abortion can and will still find a way to terminate the life of the most innocent lives in our population. Fellow believers of Jesus Christ our Lord let me implore you to get serious personally with the Master and live our lives in a manner that reflect those that make it a priority to “seek His face” on a daily basis.
Submitted by Pastor Eric Buhrow of Immanuel Baptist Church, Rice Lake, WI
Board Member of Baptist for Life of Wisconsin