2 Chronicles 7:13-14 When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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.
Over the last few years, 2 Chronicles 7:14 has become a favorite coffee cup verse, often overused and almost treated as some sort of magic bullet/incantation. Yet, in the wake of the recent presidential election, I found myself studying and thinking about these verses.
Like millions of Americans, I went to bed on Tuesday, November 6th 2012 disappointed when my candidate for President of the United States was not elected and President Obama was elected for another term in office. I am disappointed, but not despondent.
The landscape in America has changed over the past decade. A generation ago, one may have considered it preposterous to consider the current state of this nation- economic hardships, fading global influence, governmental disregard for the sanctity of human life, redefinition of “marriage”, and religious liberties being threatened. Likewise, Christians from past generations would cringe at the overall level of spiritual/biblical/theological anemia within today’s proclaiming followers of Christ. As I consider the current condition, I must ask the question, is God using these difficult times to get our attention and turn the hearts (and priorities) of His people back to Himself?
As Christ’s church, I believe that it is time to consider the instructions in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
- Humble ourselves. Have we become arrogant and prideful thinking that the right presidential candidate is the solution and by having the “right man” in the White House would fix everything? Have we kept God at a distance, only calling on Him when convenient? It is time that we humble ourselves and recognize that we do not have the solutions and are utterly in need of the Lord’s working in our lives every day and in all circumstances?
- Pray. We need to learn to pray without ceasing. We need to call on Him at all times. As the church and individual believers, we need to develop prayer patterns including Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication and not just going to Him with our “wish lists”. We must pray for our leaders every day and not just for “30 days” prior to an election.
- Seek His face. Seeking one’s face communicates intimacy. As Christ-followers, we must seek His face through prayer and the intentional and diligent study of His Word. We must seek to understand Him and know Him better through His self-revelation in Scripture. We must develop a robust and biblical theology. 10 minute “quickie quiet times” will not be adequate to grow into mature followers of Him. As we seek Him, we will start looking more like Him and having His priorities as our own.
- Turn from our wicked ways. As Christ-followers and His church, we must repent from our “selective obedience” only when it is convenient and does not infringe on our desires and strive for holiness and godliness in our lives. We must offer ourselves as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) holy and pleasing to Him. As a whole, the church in America looks little different than the world around us. Radical (aka Biblical) obedience is mandatory.
As the church gets serious in these areas, the Lord will respond. Healing starts with His people (the church). We will be a force to be reckoned with when living biblically and with the right priorities; one which the gates of hell will not be able to withstand our forward movement- hastening the day of Christ’s return throughout our lives of holiness and godliness (2 Peter 3:11-12). I am not speaking of political agenda advancement, but rather the church obeying it’s marching orders through the proclamation of the gospel and making obedient Christ-following disciples (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Corinthians 5:20). Time is short and there is a far greater work to be done than any political agenda.
Although not an expert on church history, I do know that when intense persecution and difficulty has been experienced by the church, she has grown stronger and more focused. We see this today in countries such as Iran and China. May the Lord use times of difficulty to realign our devotion, focus, and priorities in America.
I type this note on my 37th birthday. I have a seven month old son sleeping upstairs. I do not know what the future of this nation looks like, but I trust and follow the One who does. When so many Christians are acting like the 10 spies who returned with a pessimistic/negative report, I find myself aligning with the two spies who essentially said “let’s get moving” (Numbers 13). As the church, let’s get moving with an eternal perspective- there is a great work to be done and God has promised a great result though His Word!