Monday, August 8, 2016

SOMETHING TO CONSIDER

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)


This oft-quoted verse has much to teach us if we could only hear it. One of the problems of truly hearing its message is the fact that it is quoted—or, as I will show, misquoted—so often that it simply becomes just some more “background noise” in the shadows of our otherwise distracted consciousness.

In other words, we have little to no idea of what this verse actually means.

Before we get into the details of this verse, let’s see it in context.
If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; (2Ch 7:13)
God is speaking to King Solomon after he had completed and dedicated the new temple to the Lord (2 Chron. 7:11-12)

The Lord is telling the king that He will honor this temple as a place where He will hear and be attentive to His people. (v. 15)

But first, He slips in this little aside (v. 14) as a warning of things to come.

Strict literalists, then, would not allow this verse to be used as something to motivate God’s people to prayer for this nation of America. One, our “plague” is not natural; two, we are not specifically His people.

I do not subscribe to that sort of thinking.

I DO believe this verse has something for us in modern-day America to consider.

Of course, we must first consider the absolute natural aspects of the verses under consideration. God does send natural disasters among His people as a warning to get them to turn back to Him.

I realize there are many today who would deny that as a possibility “after the cross,” but I am not here concerned with that particular false gospel flowing in the land.

We certainly have our share of drought, pestilence and famine in parts of our country, which may or may not have been the direct hand of God. And prayer is certainly an effective remedy for such calamities.

However, 2 Chronicles 7:14, plastered on billboards along the highways and flooding social media by well-meaning individuals, is being used in reference to the moral decay of our country.

Let’s accept, for the sake of this discussion, that this is a legitimate use or application of this verse. (If you cannot, read on anyway.)

MISQUOTATION

The misquotation to which I referred is really an incomplete quote. It usually goes like this—
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face,…”

The idea is to remind believers of the necessity of prayer.

However, I have also seen it completely misquoted like this—
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Did you catch it? It is subtle, so don’t be too alarmed if you don’t get it at first. 

That is how deception works—through subtlety. (Gen. 3:1)


I want to take the time to unpack this verse in its entirety bit by bit so that we can gain a greater understanding of the meaning and maybe even begin to access the incredible promise contained within.

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