This is going to be a long blog. But would you read it in its entirety? At the risk of exaggeration, I would ask you to consider the weight of what I’m writing. I am sharing from one of the most beloved passages in the Bible, but from a different perspective than we are used to hearing.
We have been accustomed as Evangelicals to quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, as the recipe for revival. I agree with this conviction and sentiment. But I have never heard anyone quote the verse before this famous passage, verse 13. Verse 13, sets the stage for verse 14. In Bible scholarship, context is everything. Let me explain:
The Context of 2 Chronicles 7
Chapter 7, of 2 Chronicles, is quite interesting. In this noted chapter, Solomon describes a twenty-four-hour period in his life. He opens with the dedication of the Temple (verses 1-11) and then describes in great detail a dream or vision he receives from the Lord (verses 12-22). Starting in verse 12, God appears to Solomon and gives him a warning to the Nation of Israel. One cannot properly understand verse 14, without the context of warning.
In this brief blog, I want go into the details of this chapter, but I will encourage you to listen to my daily devotionals on this topic, beginning with Day 15. You can access these devotionals at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDMILvLEb74&t=8s&mc_cid=4c03dd8d54&mc_eid=7c78de8b18
But let’s look at the context of 2 Chronicles 7:14, by beginning with verse 13:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 Chron. 7:13-14).
God’s Three-Pronged Wake-up Call (verse 13)
God wants to wake us up! There are many mysteries about God that I don’t understand. In our passage, it seems as though God is the source of, or at least allows, calamity to come and ravage the land. He does this to wake us up from our spiritual stupor. When God is angry (and He does get angry) God actually “hates” certain actions and attitudes. Read Proverbs 6:16-19, for a list. God moves through negative signs and wonders: i.e. Moses confronting Pharaoh; Israel after Solomon’s reign; Jeremiah; Ananias and Saphira, etc.
In verse 13, the Lord clearly says that He sends (or allows) no rain and locusts to devour the land! For the agrarian culture of Israel at that time, this was meant to communicate economic disaster. No rain, combined with locust hordes, is an economic nightmare! God often uses economics to get our attention.
He then uses the word “pestilence,” as His three-pronged judgment upon the land. Pestilence in Hebrew, deber means: “plagues, diseases and viruses.” Could it be anymore clear? I believe you cannot read verse 14, without reading verse 13. As we look at our current situation in America, I just cannot escape the clear teaching of this passage, in relation to our COVID-19 “pestilence,” alongside our forced quarantine: “shut up the heavens, so there is no rain.”
God is giving us a wake-up call! Will we realize that only HIS prescription will work to bring us to a new place of focus on Him? God continues in His encounter with Solomon:
God’s Revolutionary Prescription (verse 14)
God is always working through love for His people. In verse 14, God shares the prescription for a new future in Israel. It is all about incredible blessing. But it is couched in an “if then” statement, placing full responsibility upon the People of Israel to receive God’s phenomenal miracle of prosperity. Unfortunately, Israel did not heed the advice and just after Solomon died, the Nation was torn apart.
God gives Solomon four steps to a Kingdom of God Revolution that are kingdom principles for all time. They are not meant for all the people in a nation. They are meant for the People of God; the Church; the True Remnant of Wholehearted Disciples. Here they are:
- “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves…” Humility is the great missing link in the Church today. Never has the Christian Church been more prideful and arrogant as we are today. The great gap between our teaching and our lifestyle hinders God from working. God calls all of us to a new mental and spiritual attitude of humility. Humility is a principled conviction that we must let God rule over every area of our life. (Read 1 Peter 5:5-11, for a New Testament perspective to 2 Chronicles 7:14).
- “And pray…” Prayer is the door to the miracles of God. Prayer is sharing our heart with God, listening for His voice and believing Him to move in power. In our current context, prayer is repentance and humility. Prayer is asking God to have access to every detail of our lives: our marriage, our singleness, our family, our church, our finances, our parenting, our internet viewing, our thought life, our attitudes, etc.
- “Seek My face…” The Presence of God is the Face of God. The Face of God is the Presence of God. You are seeking God’s presence in your life. You are crying out for His manifest presence as you work, shop, talk, play, etc. It’s inviting the Favor of God by being in His favor in all we do.
- “Turn from your wicked ways.” What do you and I need to repent of? What is it in our lives that is a wall between us and God? What is it in our attitudes and actions that hinder the Joy and Love of God from pouring forth? Are we jealous, angry, unforgiving, proud or arrogant? What are those workings of the heart that hinder a growing intimacy with Jesus? Confession is agreeing with God that such attitudes are wrong and asking Him for the power to change.
God says that if we will take seriously His prescription, He will bless us and our nation in such amazing ways! He says, “I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” Wow! One of the most clear-cut passages in all of the Bible. If we will take seriously our responsibility of humility, prayer, seeking God’s presence and repentance, He will show up and heal our lives and heal our nation!
The Daily 7:14
I am challenging The Road (the church I pastor) and other Believers who read this blog, to take our passage seriously and begin to practice, what I’m calling, “The Daily 7:14.” Would you consider today, beginning a new practice in your life? Would you take a minute or two every day to gather with your family and read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and pray it?
Why not practice “The Daily 7:14,” after dinner tonight? Why not find 5 minutes in your quarantined day to call the family together, read 2 Chronicles 7:14 and then, lead them in prayer? I truly believe if “My people who are called by My name,” the Church, would follow this simple prescription from God, we might experience an unprecedented move of God across our land! It’s my growing conviction that if we just followed God’s prescription, we would experience God’s blessing like our churches and nation has never seen before. We need another “Great Awakening” and God has given us a clear way into a new awakened state!
Join the Holt Family as we begin “The Daily 7:14,”
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.