Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A CONDITIONAL PROMISE



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. (2Ch 7:14)


The first thing to notice as we delve into this famous verse is that it is a conditional promise. The promise will only be fulfilled when certain conditions are met.

That may be hard to swallow for some who have bought into the current error of “God loves me unconditionally,” but in this particular place, at least, I believe it is undeniable. There is a CONDITION attached to the PROMISE.

When you go to the bank to borrow money, there is a condition attached to the loan. You promise to pay it back.

When the teacher promises her students at the beginning of the year that they will each get an A, if they do their best work, there is a condition that must first be met before the A shows up on their report card.

When God promises to heal our land, there are conditions that must first be met by us before He will do that.

To be sure, not all of God’s promises are conditional.

He promised Abraham that he would have a child in his old age. There was no condition attached to the promise. (Gen. 18:10) Although I imagine that Abraham and Sarah had to do what couples normally do to conceive a child.

So, let’s forget the notion that God is somehow “legally bound” to heal our land of the ‘pestilence’ before us. The drought of the Word (Amos 8:11) and the ‘locusts’ of greedy politicians in our midst are a natural consequence to the neglect we have shown to “so great a salvation.” (Heb. 2:3)

He is not ‘legally’ bound by anything to deliver us from the consequences of our own behavior.

There are four conditions that must be met by a specific group of people before God will “hear from heaven.

So, that IF is very big ‘IF’, not only for the number of conditions, but also for whom it is given.
“If MY PEOPLE…”
Not just anybody. Not just any group gathered together; but MY PEOPLE.

Who are these?
Who are the ones called “my people?”

Social media has graced us with the phrase “my peeps,” referring to those who follow ‘me,’ (whoever that may be). Peeps = people. Same thing.

Not in any way being disrespectful, or in any way to disparage the majesty of the Word of God, but in modern parlance as a point of reference, God is speaking specifically to His ‘peeps.’

He is not calling to those who happen to show up once in a while asking for some particular favor, or those who only remember His goodness in times of desperation.

No.

He is calling to those who are “His people;” the ones who follow closely on all that He says and does.

The transliteration of the Hebrew word for “my people” is ‘ammi.’ The word is used 1863 times in the OT, but we see it transliterated into the biblical text in one place—Hosea 2:1.

We also have the negative “Loammi”—not my people—transliterated in one place within the biblical narrative, also in Hosea (Hos. 1:9).

These two verses are quite instructive, and are quoted by Paul in his letter to the Romans—
As he said also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, You are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God. (Rom 9:25-26)


We will begin to delve into this next time.

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