“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 I will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
You have probably heard this above passage of Scripture from many preachers and politicians about our progressive secular society in an effort for Americans to rise up and make this country “Christian” again because God is leaving it, the more evil it gets. The problem with this interpretation and use of this scripture is Psalm 44. In today’s Psalm we see God’s people cry out to God to hear them from heaven and to heal their land, similar to the above Chronicles passage. They feel rejected and disgraced (v. 9). They are running away from their enemies as their enemies keep their spoil (v. 10). They have been scattered and some have even been turned into slaves (v. 11-12). They are ridiculed and mocked by all other surrounding people and nations (v. 13-16).
According to 2 Chronicles 7:14 they probably didn’t humble themselves and pray, seek God’s face and turn from their ways, right?
Yet we read in verse 17 that this trial and tribulation has came upon them when they were faithful in their covenant with God (v. 17). Their hearts have remained steadfast for the Lord and they have not forgotten the name of God, nor worship false idols before Him (v. 18-19). They even say if they had done anything deceitful before God or had turned to their sin, God would know because He sees all, including the innermost parts of our heart. The last 4 verses of this Psalm is a final plea before God to deliver them from their enemies and redeem them for the sake of His steadfast love.
I don’t bring this up to not mock the revivalist sermons and “God and country” type attitudes that come with this sermon but to instead show that sometimes our sovereign God truly does “give and take away”, in spite of His peoples actions. We will suffer national consequences for our sins but we can also have a true revival for Jesus as a whole for our nation and still be persecuted and suffer in that season. 2 Chronicles 7:14 was about the specific covenant God promised with Abraham and “my people” and should not be interpreted to be Americans but instead Israel at that time and this verse is not a magic rub of the genie lamp where if we start practicing humility, praying, seeking God’s face and turning from sin, we won’t be delivered nationalistic revival. In fact, like God’s people in this passage, we could (and should) do all of these things and still suffer at the hands of our enemies. But that doesn’t mean that we give up. We continue to trust in God’s sovereignty like God’s people did (v. 1-3) and not in our efforts (v. 6). Jesus is still king (v. 4), savior (v. 4, 7) and let us boast continually in His name whether or not we see our nation healed (v. 8). Again, this doesn’t mean that we discontinue praying, seeking God’s face, repenting and practicing humility. It means doing it while trusting in our good, sovereign King who can give and take away while we still shout out “blessed be the name of the Lord.”
By: Erik K0liser