Bible Reference: 2 Chronicles 7:13–14
Bible Text: If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.
Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)
I believe that these verses are probably some of the best known, and most quoted verses in the old testament, because we like to remind ourselves that God is always ready to hear our prayer, if only we will get off our high horses and allow Him to do that. I looked at the context of these verses in several different translations of the Bible to see if perhaps God is trying to catch my attention in some other way from these verses. Using Eugene Peterson’s ‘Message’ Bible, here’s what I believe God is saying to me today, and in sharing this with you, hopefully it may open your eyes also. Notice how God leads into this with Solomon. In the preceding verses God acknowledged the awesome temple that Solomon had built, and God assured Solomon that He would dwell there for the people. However, God then told Solomon that there still may be times that He may allow frustrations, trials and challenges for the people as He may have the need to draw them closer to Himself. Isn’t it interesting how we are so quick to run to the temple (our local churches) and really petition before God for all that is going on in our lives, or in the works of our cities/counties, or even in our country? I would imaging that in the USA, over recent months, there have probably been more prayers for the outcome of our elections than for any other reason that we may have prayed over recent years. However, notice that God didn’t tell Solomon to have the people pray for Him to restore their crops, or cleanse them from the plagues He threatened to send on them, but rather, God wanted the people to do these things:
- Humble themselves – get off the subject of self and recognize who’s in charge;
- Pray – Instead of bending the knee and pleading before God when we need our aches and pains relieved, pray instead for forgiveness of our sin, and a heart like that of Jesus – the one whom Christians should be seeking to imitate every day;
- Seek God’s presence – So often we are so intent on praying for the need at hand, that we lose sight of the broken or fractured connection between God and ourselves. Friends, there is nothing more comforting or more powerful, than seeking God’s face and His awesome presence in our own lives. Further, in these verses God assured Solomon that as His people did this, they will be reassured of His presence, as “He will be there, ready for them”!
- Turn from their sins – you might question what this has to do with what is going on at the time (lost crops, etc). Friends, I believe that God sends challenges our way, because many times it is the only way that He could get our personal attention. Renewing our relationship with God is far more important to God than restoring our crops.
God said that as His people did these things, they can be reassured that “He would be there for them”! However, notice the kicker, He didn’t say that He would then restore rainfall, or their crops; nor did He say that He would heal them of the effects from any plagues He sent on them. Instead God told Solomon that He would listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health! I believe that we can easily conclude from these verses that God is more interested in a right, personal relationship with His children, than anything else. Imagine what would happen if our people prayed as hard for revival, or renewal of a right relationship with God as we do for every other little thing, that really adds no value to our relationship with the Almighty. Restoring a right relationship with our God, so that we may be mold-able and usable by God WILL bring new life to our wretched, sinful world. It must begin with us – God’s people, as those without that connection will not have a clue what God is trying to achieve, nor would they ever think to look to God, who is totally unknown to them. If it’s to be, it’s up to you and I, fellow Christians!
Father God, thank You for providing us with life itself. Lord Jesus, thank You for providing the means of salvation – forgiveness of our sin and oneness with You and the Father. Holy Spirit, thank You for Your powerful presence and work in our lives daily. As long as we live on this earth, we will be tempted by the ruler of this world with every effort to distract us in our Christian commitment to our Lord. In Psalm 1 and in Matthew 6:33 we are reminded that as we, Your holy children, humble ourselves and seek Your face that we also may receive righteousness that can only come for You dear Lord. Help us to be faithful in all we do so that Your name may be lifted high and maintain its elevated status for all to see, and subsequently believe on You. Please renew a right spirit within us Heavenly Father, so that others will see Jesus and believe. AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!