In 2 Chronicles 6:12-42, Solomon offered a prayer of dedication to God regarding the new temple. In the prayer, he focuses on the forgiveness of God. It is a plea for God’s intervention in the lives of the people of Israel. You see, Israel was screwing up big time.
What is God’s response to King Solomon? Perhaps one of the most quoted verses in the Old Testament regarding prayer! (2 Chronicles 7:14– “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, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”) Let’s learn from it.
If my people,
This suggests a condition for you and me
Who are called by My Name,
If you are a believer, then this IS for you.
Will humble themselves,
Humility encompasses the “fruits of the Holy Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-24. The Lord has always used humble people throughout the Bible to do His work for Him.
Get a chuckle from this true story on humility:
Chan Gailey, head football coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the late 90’s (as well as other NFL teams), told how he learned a lesson on humility. Gailey, a committed Christian, was then head coach of Alabama’s Troy State, and they were playing for a Division II National Championship. The week before the big game, he was headed to a practice field when a secretary called him back to take a phone call. Somewhat irritated, Gailey told her to take a message because he was on his way to practice. She responded, “But it’s Sports Illustrated.” “I’ll be right there,” he said. As he made his way to the building, he began to think about the upcoming article. It would be great publicity for a small school like Troy State to be in Sports Illustrated. As he got closer, he realized that a three-page article would not be sufficient to tell the whole story. Coming even closer to his office, he started thinking that he might be on the cover. “Should I pose or go with an action shot,” he wondered. His head was spinning with all of the possibilities. When he picked up the phone and said hello, the person asked, “Is this Chan Gailey?” “Yes, it is,” he replied confidently. “This is Sports Illustrated, and we’re calling to let you know that your subscription is running out. Are you interested in renewing?” Coach Gailey concluded the story by saying, “You are either humble or you will be humbled.” (Chan Gailey speaking at a dinner in Dalton, Georgia on 4/20/2004)
Humble yourself before God, and He will lift you up.
Romans 8:26 says, “The Holy Spirit helps in our weakness for we don’t know how to pray as we should. But the Holy Spirit intercedes for you with groanings too deep for words.”
We need to learn to pray. (More on this next week) In Luke 11, the disciples implore Jesus to “Teach us to pray”. They didn’t say “Teach us to preach, or teach us to evangelize” etc.
And seek My face,
This brings to mind my life verse. Matthew 6:33. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. And all of these things will be added unto you.” This means first to turn to God for help. People, objects, goals, events and other desires will compete for your number one priority. We must seek Him, the Giver of abundant life. Last week, I talked about the importance for you to have a life verse, one that you live by. Think about it.
The face of God is His countenance. Remember though that nobody can see God, as He is Spirit. (John 4:24, 1 Timothy 6:16b) But we can know Him intimately. That’s His desire for our lives. And Jesus said, “If you know me, you would know my Father also. Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. The Father is in Me.” (John 7:28-29, 14:8-14) Know Jesus.
And turn from their wicked ways,
Jesus means business about repenting (changing ‘away from’ sin). In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus denounced the cities of Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum for not repenting. He said that if Tyre and Sidon (known for their evil; each were destroyed by God- see Ezekiel 27, 28) had seen His miracles, they would have repented long ago. Judgment will be hard to bear for them. They will go “down to the depths”.(to Hell. More on the subject of Hell in future blogs)
The finale of God’s actions in this wonderful verse:
Then I will hear from heaven,
And will I forgive their sin
And will I heal their land.
Known as the “Great I wills”.
1) Hear from heaven– Thank the Lord we serve a living God who is involved in our lives!
But a sober Warning: He may not hear you if…..
2) Forgive our sins– Thank the Lord for His mercies, which never fail.
But a second sober Warning: He may not forgive you if…..
3) Heal their land– Thank the Lord that He has the power to renew and restore everything about us.
But the third major Warning: He may not heal us if…..we don’t call on Him, we live a life of pride, we don’t pray as we should, we don’t seek Him for guidance, and we don’t repent from your sins.
God is serious, are you?
Next week: Learning to Pray