If my people, who are called by My Name, will
humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked
way, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal
their land. II Chronicles 7:14
This is a powerful verse and a mighty promise from God,
and it has been repeated in reference to our country countless times.
As I take yet another look at this verse in the wake of the tragedy of
the destructions of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and I want to share
with you what I see.
First of all, there is a clarification..."If my people..."
We would like to look at the decline in our country of its moral fiber
and blame the turmoil, the increase in crime, the recent terrorist attack,
the decline in our economy and loss of jobs, and many more ills that plague
our land and blame it on those that live a lifestyle contrary to what we
see outlined in the Bible--the homosexual, those that promote abortions,
the murderers, the government, the ACLU. But this promise is so clear.
God is talking to "his people", the Christian, the Israelite, those that
believe in Him and put their trust in Him, not to the unbeliever.
Do you get it? Do you see that it didn't matter where Israel lived.
It didn't matter if they had their own land where they lived free, or were
held captive in Egypt. The promise was to them with a responsibility.
The responsibility was first to "Humble ourselves".
It is so easy to look at the other guy and say it's all his fault.
It is easy to say our country is not doing their job. We're being
persecuted. We are hated when we stand up for what is right.
But it is so clear that we must first humble ourselves. We have to
come to the place where we realize we are no better than anyone else.
And just because we don't do some of the things other people do, we are
no more acceptable in God's eyes, no better, no less sinful. To be
humble means to realize who and what we are in the eyes of an almighty,
pure, perfect, holy God. We are nothing. The only reason we
can stand in his presence today is because Christ's blood covers us.
When God looks at me, he sees Christ and the payment Christ made on the
cross for my sin. It isn't on my merits, not because of anything
I've done that is so good, because he says my righteousness is as filthy
rags. Only because of the sacrifice of Jesus, can I have a relationship
with the almighty God. Who am I to accuse, point fingers at anyone
else and blame them for what is happening to our country. We must
humble ourselves before God.
Once we humble ourselves, then God says we must pray
and seek his face. I've wondered many times what does it mean to
"seek His face"? I think it means that I don't just come to God with
my agenda. I come to him to know him. I like to see the face
of the one I'm speaking to, especially if speaking about important matters.
I want to see their expressions, their eyes, their body language.
Our voice and words are only part of communication. But we don't
see God as we see another human being. I think seeking his face means
learning about him and what he desires. It means getting to know
him and his heart. We can only do that when we spend time with him
both in prayer and in reading His words to us. We can know him intimately,
and that is what His desire is. When we know him intimately, then
we know more about what He wants to do in our lives and hearts. We
can see more clearly the things that keep us at a distance from Him that
we need to change. This is where the "turning from their wicked ways"
comes in. It is too easy to look at the outward sins, like murder,
rape, sexual abuse, theft, adultery, homosexuality, to name a few, and overlook
some critical matters of the heart, like hate, jealousy, bitterness, unresolved
anger, lust, unforgiveness. These are the things that can keep us
from drawing close to God...keep us from "seeking his face". But
if this promise is to be ours and we are to do what our part to get to
the end result, then we need to seek his face, thereby seeing those things
in our life that are not pleasing to him and are not profitable to us.
Now, some people stop there and omit the next part
of our responsibility. He says "and turn from their wicked ways".
That means we can no longer continue doing those things that displease
him, that keep us from having a healthy relationship with him, and keep
us in bondage so to speak because the things he tells us to turn away from
are self-destructive as well as destructive to others.
We must turn away from those things, whatever they are in our lives.
For me, it might be different than what you need to turn away from.
But still, I must do my part and turn away from whatever he tells me to
turn away from, to stop participating in those things that are wicked,
or hurtful to myself and others in my life.
Once I have completed my part, and when we have all
completed our part, then and only then can we look to him to fulfill his
part of the promise...."then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their
sins (the sins of his people remember) and will heal their land."
I want to see our land healed. I want to see
us be united, to love one another, to accept one another. I want
to see our land once again prosper and be the great nation we once were
and can be again. It doesn't matter what my neighbor does or doesn't
do. It doesn't matter what my government does or doesn't do.
It doesn't matter what the ACLU does, or the various militant groups that
have risen up over the years. What matters is what I and my
fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord do.
Let's do our part to see this promise fulfilled in
our land. Let's quit blaming everyone else and look at ourselves.
If our land is not healed, we have no one to blame but ourselves.