July 5, 2013
II Chronicles 7:14
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
Does it seem to you, as we have just celebrated Independence Day, that America needs to return to its Christian roots? Are you concerned that traditional marriage and family values are increasingly under attack? Does the new normal of almost 8% unemployment bother you? Or that the rate would be much higher if those were also counted who have given up and stopped looking for work? Does the debt our nation owes – well over 16 trillion dollars – cause you to worry? Fox News reported:
Just under $5 trillion of the national debt is owed to the Social Security Trust Fund
and federal pension systems. A little more than $11 trillion is owed to foreign and
domestic investors and the Federal Reserve, which buys up treasuries in order to
drag down interest rates through quantitative easing.
What about the immigration problem with the complications that will come from legalizing 11 million illegal immigrants? How about the scandals surrounding the IRS, the “Fast and Furious” weapons run, and the Benghazi attack? Do the wars in which America has been involved in the last decade, and the resulting deaths and injuries to our young men and women cause you concern? A lot more could be cited, but does it seem to you that our great nation is on a downward slope – and a slippery one at that! – and that we are running ever faster down that slope? So what is the answer to all this – if there is one?!
II Chronicles 7:14 may be the record of God’s response to solving the challenges facing the Jews following King Solomon’s reign almost 3,000 years ago, but it is still The Key to reversing our downward slide and solving our country’s problems:
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.
This is the best answer to the problems facing us today – God’s Holy Spirit-given revival!.
First of all, this is directed to Christians, God’s “…people, who are called by…[His] name….” If you call yourself a Christian, you carry the very name of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Son of God. And the very word ‘revival’ carries with it the idea that there is life already present (or has been present) that has to be renewed. So we are The Key to turning this country around!
God calls us to do four things:
• “If My people, who are called by My name will humble themselves….” – Quit saying everything is OK as long as things are alright with me and my family – job, house, car, entertainment, vacation, money to pay the bills…. It is not OK if others in this country are struggling financially and relationally, but especially spiritually! It is not OK to see the Bible ignored, churches empty, and people going to hell! We need to get off our high horse of being self-centered, and humble ourselves before God!
• “If My people, who are called by My name will…pray….” – A few years ago, A Barna survey found that the average Christian prays between three and seven minutes a day! Yet the average American watches TV 2.8 hours a day, is on the cell phone 2.5 hours a day and the internet – facebook, myspace, etc. – about 4.4 hours a day! And God tells us to “Pray without ceasing,” (I Thessalonians 5:17). Need I say more?
• “If My people, who are called by My name will…seek My face…” – To seek a person’s face is to get to know him or her – intimately! How intimately do you know God – His love, His power, His majesty, His grace, His Holiness and so much more? It has been 45 years of intimate interaction with my wife, but I can say, “I know her.” Spend time with God and get to know Him!
• “If My people, who are called by My name will…turn from their wicked ways….” – In Mark 12:30, Jesus said the greatest commandment is, “…love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength….” And in John 14:14 He said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” So you are to obey “…the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength…” – all the time! And who does that? So if we break the greatest commandment, are we not then committing the greatest wickedness?
Turn to God in repentance. And if you turn to God, you cannot hold on to sin and wickedness. The two are mutually exclusive!
If we do these four things, then God will do three things that only He can do – the second half of II Chronicles 7:14. We will continue this with Monday’s blog.