“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name 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 will heal their land. (2Ch.7:13-14)
At a time when we hear of strange new ideas coming from various corners of the church, we need to consider the above passage. Some say we can ignore the Old Testament, while Paul said, in the New Testament, “All Scripture is inspired by God.” Others teach we must obey the letter of Old Testament Law and that there is no Old and New Covenant. Still others propose that Jesus gave a pre-cross gospel and a different post-cross gospel. I could go on and on. Upon entering Facebookland and partaking of various discussion groups, I noticed the massive blob of disagreement that characterizes the Christian community. Whatever we make of this; it’s oozing from the ranks of the Christian community, groups that generally fit into the category of “My people,” as seen in the opening reference.
I understand the passage above has a context and is spoken to the nation of Israel. I realize it is an Old Testament passage (what some label as an age of law), and we live in the New Testament age (what some label as the age of grace) – depending on what faction of the church into which you are lodged. All of that aside, I would like to identify a few principles that might prove helpful for those who operate from the same confused perspective as do I.
Why would God (of course, we are now dealing with the Old Testament God [add echo for effect]) cause drought and send locust and pestilence? It was a governmental response to the failure of the people of Israel to govern as He instructed. It was an appropriate, intelligently calculated, in contrast to emotionally driven, response designed to produce change in the mind-set of the people.
These are “My people,” meaning they are the ones with whom God had been working, through whom He labored to bring redemption to all nations and peoples. We must note from this that they were, apparently, not humble, were not praying (as they should), were not seeking the face of God (possibly His hand), and were involved in wicked ways. “My people?”
Enter, the church. “My people?” Humble? Not when we compete to have the best show in town. Prayerful? Generally, the least attended group activity offered. Seek the Face of God? I would like to say “yes” but find it challenging to conclude that it’s high in the list of that which we seek. Wicked ways? I will not comment.
One thing I know for sure, God is always doing exactly what He should be doing. God provides all we need for life and godliness. This provision is in Christ. It is not simply imputed; it is provided and we, as moral agents, must receive, implement and employ what has been graciously provided. We need to humble ourselves, prayerfully seek the face of God and abandon our self-centered, self-seeking, wicked ways if we are to experience revival and promote needed reformation in the nations.
“Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1Ti. 4:16).