II Chronicles 7:14
(NKJV) "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 will forgive their sin and heal their land."
If My people - In the context this refers to the Jews and only the Jews. But in application we see that this refers to believers only.
Who are called by My name - There are a number of names ascribed to the Lord throughout the Old Testament. There are at least 14 Hebrew words used for God in the Old Testament. The name of the Lord refers to His Person, His personality, His title. In other words, the name of God refers to all that He is.
Will humble themselves - This Hebrew word means "to bend the knee, to humiliate, to humble self." Humility is the opposite of arrogance. Arrogance is when you are preoccupied with yourself. Humility means that you are preoccupied with something other than yourself. In the Bible we are told to be preoccupied with the Lord and His Word. Therefore, true humility refers to being teachable. Being able to focus on the Word of God and learn it on a consistent basis.
James 4:6-10; (NIV), "But he gives us more grace. This is why Scripture says (Prov 3:34): 'God opposes the proud (arrogant) but gives grace to the humble.' (7) Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (8) Come near to God and he will come near to you (you can only come near to God by placing yourself under the ministry of the Word of God on a consistent basis). Wash your hands (this refers to the confession or acknowledgment of sins as per I John 1:9. The phrase "wash your hands" is a Hebraism referring back to the Jewish Temple, and the laver in the temple which the priests used to wash their hands. Washing the hands in the laver was a picture, which illustrated rebound, or confession of sins to God), you sinners (all sin is rebellion against God therefore, everyone who sins is a rebel. This includes believers in Jesus Christ as well as unbelievers. Believers are referred to in this context) , and purify your hearts, you double-minded (the only way you can purify your heart is through maximum Bible doctrine in your soul. Your heart is the thought center of your soul. In other words, we are told to purify our "thought center"). (9) (In vs 9 the writer gives a description of a believer who refuses to purify his heart and to follow the will of God by learning the Word of God and advancing to spiritual maturity) Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning, and your joy to gloom (when a believer in Jesus Christ lives his live apart from the plan of God, he will be severely disciplined by the Lord, Heb 12:6). (10) (In vs 10 the writer tells us how to begin our advance to spiritual maturity). Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up."Literally, "If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves (place themselves under the consistent teaching of the Word of God),"
I Peter 5:5-6, "young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, 'God opposes the proud (arrogant) but gives grace to the humble.' (6) Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
Matt 23:11-12, Jesus said, "The greatest among you will be your servant. (12) For whoever exalts himself (arrogance, preoccupation with self) will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."
Humility is one of the most important issues in living a life pleasing to God.
(1) - Without humility you cannot be saved, because the unbeliever must come to God through faith and depend upon God to save his soul apart from any human works or deeds on his part. Those who are arrogant cannot do that, because they must depend upon themselves.
(2) - Without humility the believer cannot be filled with Holy Spirit. The filling of the Holy Spirit requires that the believer understand that he cannot do anything in his own power to please God. That requires humility. It is arrogance in the believer who refuses the simple acknowledging of his sins to God in order to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
(3) - Without humility the believer can never grow in grace. True humility means "teachability." It is only through humility that the believer can learn and apply the truths of Bible doctrine.
And pray - I want you to notice that all effective prayer follows the principle of humility. In other words, prayers are not answered when believers are not following the plan of God in humility (remember, without humility there is no filling of the Holy Spirit, there is no true learning of the Word of God, and there is no growing in grace). There are many believers in the United States of America who are praying on a regular basis but are not seeing their prayers answered because of a lack of true Biblical humility. Those who are following the plan of God and who appear to have prayers answered must understand that Satan is always there to answer their prayers if he thinks it will help his cause.
When believers in Jesus Christ are living the Christian life, learning the Word of God consistently and growing in grace, prayer can have a great impact on everything we do in life, and it can even change the course of history. James 5:15, ".........the prayer of a righteous man (the righteous man is one who not only possess the imputed righteousness of God from salvation, but also the possession of the perfect righteousness of the Word of God in his soul) is powerful and effective."
There are two things that are required before prayers can be effective:
(1) - You must have a maximum knowledge of the Word of God.Literally, "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves (will place themsevles under the consistent teaching of the Word of God), and pray."
(2) - The filling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 6:18, "And pray in the Spirit (this refers to the filling or controlling of the Holy Spirit, and you can only be filled with the Spirit after you confess or acknowledge your sins to God) on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests..........." I Thess 5:17, "Pray constantly."
And seek My face - The word seek comes from the Hebrew word BAQASH meaning "to search out, to strive for, to seek for." The Hebrew construction indicates something that is done on a regular basis. This is something that is to be done every day.
Seeking the face of the Lord can only be accomplished through an in-depth knowledge of the Word of God. God does not talk directly to people today. Since the completion of the Bible at about 100 AD God now talks to His people through His Word as it is written in the pages of the canon of Scripture.
And turn from their wicked ways - The Hebrew word is SHUWB meaning "to change direction." We are to change direction and go from ignoring the Word of God to learning it consistently.
Then I will hear from heaven - In other words, when all of these requirements are met: humbling themselves, praying, seeking the face of the Lord, and turning from their wicked ways. These are all requirements for God to hear and answer the prayers of a people who are living in an apostate and degenerate country.
And will forgive their sin and heal their land - The context refers to the healing of the Land of Israel. There is no other land on the face of the earth that has God's special favor. By application this can refer to client nations in the Church Age. But the healing or restoring of the land is only a secondary issue. The client nations to God in the Church Age are to be God's temporary ambassadors while Israel is still under discipline. Therefore, the healing or restoring of the land today does not mean what it meant for the Jews. First of all, for the Jews it meant a special blessing based on the effective function of the temple in Jerusalem, and secondly, it meant a special blessing for each Jew who followed the Mosaic Law on a daily basis through the ritual system set up by God through Moses.
Today, the healing or restoring of the land of the client nation to God in the Church Age refers to the opportunity to proclaim the Word of God openly without restraint or limitations. So there is a little different result today in the Church Age than in the Age of Israel.
The principle of sin and evil are the same today as in the past. Even though sins are not an issue in eternal salvation (belief in Jesus Christ is the only issue), sins can keep the believer from being filled or controlled with the Holy Spirit and thereby make him ineffective in his Christian life. And when the believer is ineffective in his spiritual life he will drag the nation down. The first thing that must be understood by believers is the means of maintaining the filling of the Holy Spirit, and that only occurs after sins have been forgiven. Sins can only be forgiven when they are confessed (acknowledged) to God (I John 1:9). The confession of sins only applies to believers in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers cannot be forgiven by confessing their sins. They can only be forgiven by personal faith in Jesus Christ. But the believer in Jesus Christ is to confess his sins to God regularly in order to function effectively in the spiritual life.
Therefore, this is very important to understand. It is the believers in the nation that bring about apostasy and degeneracy in their nation. They do it by turning their back on God's plan through Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God.
This passage in II Chron 7:14 is not talking about the unbelievers living in the nation. This is talking about believers. Remember the first phrase of this verse: "If My people who are called by name." The writer is talking about the sins of believers, not the sins of unbelievers and degenerate apostates.
PRINCIPLE - As goes the believer so goes the nation. Jesus said in Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness (effectiveness), how can it be made salty (effective) again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."
Christians today think that the only way they can save our country is to become involved in Christian activism. Every Christian who allows himself to be distracted by going into activism is being deceived by Satan. Christians cannot change the course of the nation by doing what unbelievers do. The apostle Paul tells us in II Cor 10:3-5, "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does (how does the world wage war? By protesting, demonstrating, marching and carrying signs). (4) The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world (we are not to protest, demonstrate, march and carry signs). On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds (strongholds refers to ideas that are contrary to the Word of God. Like, Liberalism and religion. The weapons we have at our disposal are of divine origin. They are all a part of the plan of God. What are our weapons? They are things like: the completed canon of Scripture, which is the Word of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the filling of the Holy Spirit. There is power in the Word of God (Heb 4:12), "The word of God is alive and powerful." There is power in the Holy Spirit (Rom 15:19), "The power of the Spirit." These are all at our disposal if we will but get with the program God has set up and learn the Word of God on a consistent basis and grow up spiritually). (5) We demolish arguments and every pretention that sets itself up against the knowledge of God (when we have a maximum knowledge of the Word of God in our souls the Holy Spirit will use that to refute all the liberal antichristian propaganda), and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
I Timothy 2:1-4, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - (2) for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. (3) this is good, and pleases God our Savior, (4) who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Does this sound like Christian activism to you? No! It is just the opposite. We are to live our lives quietly and peacefully and allow the Lord to work through us. But He can only work through us when we are following His plan in learning His Word daily and advancing to spiritual maturity.
Proverbs 16:7, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him."
The only way you can live pleasing to the Lord is to place yourself under the consistent teaching ministry of the Word of God. You need to study the Word in the filling of the Holy Spirit, then you need to apply the Word in the filling of the Holy Spirit.
If Christians in the United States of America would stop their activism and get back to the Word of God and grow up spiritually, I think all of us would be amazed at how fast the Lord would act in bringing our leaders back under His hand. But the Christian is the key. As goes the believers so goes the nation.
II Tim 3:16-17, "All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
II Timothy 2:15, "Study to show yourself approved to God a workman who needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
II Peter 3:18, "But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever.! Amen."
Christians who are involved in activism are struggling against Satan's world system. The more they struggle and fight and attempt to set things right the less freedom they have. These believers have been completely deceived and distracted by Satan's plan and policy. Christians in activism are trying to improve the world using the devil's "weapons." But they should get back to the Word of God, study it consistently in the filling of the Holy Spirit and continually pray for our leaders allowing the Lord to do His work.
Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin (rebellion) is a disgrace to any people."
II Corinthians 3:17, "..........where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."
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