If My People...
“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.”
- 2 Chronicles 7:14
I don’t think anyone who is remotely awake would look at the state of our world today and not agree that we are in trying times to say the least. In almost every nation on earth there is political upheaval, financial concerns, fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, threats of war and other conflicts, the aftermath of natural disasters and so much more. There are really two things we can say/do about this. First, we should not be surprised. When we spend time in the Bible, especially in places like Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus told us this is what the last days would look like. Therefore, none of this should come as a shock to us. Second we can pray as we serve and follow the Lord eagerly waiting for His return. Then I have to ask the question, how do we pray? There is no one right way, but the above verse I think can give us some guidance, as would many other verses in the Bible, but this one was on my heart today.
The first thing we notice is who this prayer is requested of “My people who are called by My name...” On more than one occasion I have seen this prayer used with a call to national repentance and for every person to seek God in prayer. Please don’t get me wrong, I pray for national repentance, and I pray that every person, those inside and those outside the church and family of God, to pray, and repent, and call out to God for salvation and healing. But we have to note that this verse is specifically for God’s people, for those called by His name. At the time of its writing that was Israel, for today this is speaking to Christians, to those who are followers of Christ, not the rest of the world. This makes me think that God knew His people would not always humbly seek His face in repentance, that should be telling and obvious to us.
There are four things that God asks of His people in this verse. The first is that we humble ourselves. Pride has long been the enemy of truly seeking after God and that is so clear in our culture today. God asks us to humble ourselves, not to think of ourselves as worthless, He has demonstrated out worth to Him on the cross. No, he wants us to submit to Him, rely upon Him, abide in Him, and recognize that we are nothing without Him. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less.” When we humble ourselves then we can pray and seek His face because we recognize our need for Him and we want to run to Him to have that need met. As we do so we must turn from our wicked ways, and remember God is speaking to His people, so yes as His people we can be wicked and when we are we need to turn from that wickedness through humble prayerful repentance. 1 Peter 4:17 reminds us, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” We as the church need to be honest, we are not following Him the way He wants us to. This is not an indictment or condemnation on any of us, just the honest truth. The church has ceased to be salt and light in the world and we see the results all around us. How do combat that? We combat it with humble prayerful repentance. It begins with us, revival and awakening begin with the church returning to God and putting ourselves, by His power and grace, in a position to impact our world once again. When we do this God offers these promises...
God promises to hear our humble prayerful repentance. In Psalm 34:18 and 51:17 God tells us that a broken and contrite heart He will never cast away. God promises to forgive our sin. 1 John 1:9 reminds us that when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Finally, God promises to heal our land. Malachi 4:2 gives us the word that the Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings. Yes, things are bad, yes, I believe we are living in the last days. I don’t make any predictions on Jesus return but I imagine it is getting close. I want to see at least one more great revival in the Church, I want to see at least one more great awakening in our nation and world. This begins with us, as followers of Christ humbly seeking God, repenting of our wrongs, and relying on His power to do this wonderful work. Let’s do so together, united in and abiding in Christ!
Image Borrowed from FCA.org