Friday, March 29, 2019

If My People Who Are Called by My Name

Let's turn together to a famous passage and see what the Lord is saying to us through it. This one comes from 2 Chronicles 7 from the time that Solomon dedicated the temple to God. After he finished building the temple, the Lord appeared to him at night and said:

"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 forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chr 7:14, NIV).

There are four tasks in this verse that are our duty, if we are the Lord's people who are called by His name:

1. Humble ourselves 

The first condition within our responsibility is to humble ourselves. It's necessary to humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God and in due time he will lift you up (1 Pe 5:6). There are various ways to humble yourself, including fasting, prostrating yourself before the Lord on the floor, and going without the usual comforts of life and luxuries you typically enjoy. Daniel said, "I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over." (Dan 10:3, NIV). Sometimes the people in the Bible would put on rough, abrasive, uncomfortable clothing called sackcloth and sprinkle ashes on their heads.

2. Pray

The second condition that we must meet is to pray. Prayer is essential in order to maintain communion with God. Nothing else can take its place. It's our two-way communication with Him. We talk to Him, and we listen to what He says to us in our hearts by His Spirit and through his Word. We should have regular times of prayer each day, and then there are special seasons of prayer, too. We need to pray without ceasing (1 Thes 5:17).

3. Seek His face

Our third responsibility in order to meet the conditions is to seek the Lord's face. Nobody can do it for you. Seeking His face and seeking His presence are virtually synonymous. We get hungry for God and desire His presence more than the air we breath. We long to be with Him, because we love Him. Everything else is laid aside while we seek His face.

4. Turn from our wicked ways

The fourth condition that is our responsibility is to turn from our wicked ways. This requires repentance for our sins, confessing before Him, and turning our backs on the wicked things we've been doing. For more on this, see Repentance That Leads to Life. The apostle Paul wrote:

"Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: 'The Lord knows those who are his,' and, 'Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'” (2 Tim 2:19, NIV).

A great example of this is the way that Nehemiah prayed. He wrote, "...I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said:

'Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.'" (Neh 1:4-7). For the rest of his prayer, read verses 8-11.

Daniel was another great example of how to pray. He wrote:

"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed:

'Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.'" (Dan 9:3-6). For the rest of his prayer, read verses 7-19.

Those four conditions listed above must be met in order for us to receive the promise found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Once we meet them, then the Lord will fulfill His promise and do his part, which includes these three things:

5. I will hear from heaven

If we want the Lord to hear our prayers, which we all do, then it behooves us to meet the four conditions above. It's an amazing thing to know that God in heaven has heard you, and this brings great joy to your heart when it happens. It's God's job to hear from heaven. His ear is not too dull to hear, "but your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Is 59:2).

6. I will forgive their sin

Not only does the Lord hear from heaven, but He also forgives our sin, when we meet the conditions above. He is eager to forgive us, which only He can do, but He needs us to do our part first. There can be no forgiveness without sincere repentance and turning away from wickedness. Yet "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 Jn 1:9, NIV).

7. I will heal their land

The final thing God promises to do if we meet the above conditions is to heal our land. This is His job. We cannot do it, the government cannot do it, programs cannot do it, scientists cannot do it, doctors cannot do it, and no man on earth can do it. When we look at all the problems in our land -- the crime, the lawlessness, the murder of innocent children, the drug addiction, the sickness, the disease, the hopelessness, the suicide, the poverty, the economic problems, the injustice, the social issues, the deep divisions, the wars, the political problems, the corruption in our government, the environmental problems, and the problems affecting our wildlife -- our land is in desperate need of healing. Only the Lord can heal it, so it's essential that we do our part, in order for Him to do His part.

Closing Words
We must do our job and meet certain conditions, which are to humble ourselves, pray, seeking His face, and turn from our wicked ways. But once we meet those conditions, then the Lord will do His job. which is to hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land.

Attribution notice: Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission.The image may be subject to copyright, used per the Fair Use Act for educational and commentary purposes.

Author's note: If you enjoyed this post, please also see the following: Stay at Home and Seek the Lord (during COVID Quarantine)Ask for the Ancient PathsSins That Will Keep You From HeavenBowing Low in WorshipRepentance That Leads to Life, The Land Mourns in the Last Days, Seeking Him in the Wee Hours of the NightCrying Out to God Loudly, Lifting Your Face in Prayer, and Lifting Hands in Prayer. You may also enjoy my daughter Charity's poem called America, Turn Back to God. You may find the Main Directory for this blog at Home, and you may also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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