". . . 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. " 2 Chronicles 7:14
There it is. It is a call to prayer for those who need for their sin to be forgiven and their land to be healed. This was spoken to Solomon after he had dedicated the Temple that was built in Jerusalem . This temple was to be the place where God would put His name and where He was to be sought. That promise was spoken to Solomon and the nation of Israel. The temple that stood there no longer stands. The true temple today is the one where God dwells in His people. It would probably be more accurate to say we are each part of that temple, but the real temple is the corporate people of God called His church. The reason I go through all this is because I want to establish that the church (not the building but the people) are the temple where God is to be sought in our day. Some biblical purists will say this does not apply to us because it was a promise just for Israel. I usually am a biblical purist, and would agree that originally it was meant for God's covenant with Israel. But I also believe that God put things before us in principles - ways that we are to see and seek God. This would be one of those principles I believe that God would honor. Here is the principle in a nutshell.
Principle: God offers to "His people who are called by His name," a call to prayer that involves humbling ourselves, praying, seeking God's face, and turning away from wicked ways. If we answer that call in truth and sincerity God will hear us, forgive us, and bring His healing to the land in which these people live.
Therefore, there is an opportunity for us to hear God's call to humility, prayer, seeking His face, and repentance from wicked ways. I won't do it in this article, but there are plenty of passages in the New Testament that support such a principle. What stopped me in my tracks though, was the context of this call in 2 Chronicles 7. What shocked me was that in light of our current situation, we only had to go back 7 words to get an idea of what we should be doing today. Let me quote those 7 words for you.
". . . if I send pestilence among My people . . . " (2 Chronicles 7:13)
Pestilence is defined as a sickness that spreads quickly among the people. The sickness or disease causes many to die in a short period of time. We call this event in our day a pandemic.
Think about those 7 words! "If I send pestilence among My people," IS THE CONTEXT FOR A CALL FOR HUMBLING OURSELVES, PRAYING, SEEKING GOD'S FACE, AND TURNING FROM OUR WICKED WAYS!
If there was ever a time to call for extraordinary prayer, it is now. If there was ever a time to not just have a day of prayer, but an extended season of prayer, it is now. Most of us have the time - we've got nothing but time. God has allowed pestilence to come among us. What He allows in His providence always has a purpose. I believe that the purpose behind the current COVID19 pandemic is to send out a clarion call to His people who are called by His name. That call is to turn off your televisions - step away from your phones and tablets, your computers and gaming devices - and do the following.
HUMBLE OURSELVES - we've thought we could live without God and make it with very little time devoted to Him, and very little attention given to what He declares as righteousness. We thought we really didn't need God "that much." We were wrong. We need to humble ourselves and admit this to Him.
PRAY - It is time to seek the Lord while He may be found. This pestilence is a call to pray. Will we heed it? Cry out to God for those who are sick - for our leaders - for the church - for your family and friends - for yourself. God answers prayer. When He does He often intervenes in ways that blow our minds. Are we looking to the next presidential, governor's, or mayoral briefing for our salvation? I'm appreciative for their hard work - but this is a situation where we desperately need God. We need to pray!
SEEK GOD'S FACE - This is the biblical way of saying to seek God's favor. Our nation has turned away from God. We need to seek God - know Him - know His Word - know His ways - know His salvation . We need more than anything else - to see God's favor return to each of us individually and to His church corporately. Hopefully such a turn will have the affect of bringing about revival among His people - and spiritual awakening among the lost. Let's be honest, we no longer have God's favor upon the church or upon our nation. Oh how we need to seek His face for His favor to return.
TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS - We have sinned. We don't even call what God calls sin as sin any longer. We accept that there will be heterosexual and homosexual immorality in our land. We don't cry out for the complete end of abortion , having decided that there are some levels of killing babies in the womb we will find acceptable. We don't care for the poor, the downtrodden, the afflicted, the alien, and the stranger. Our services are no longer about offering God praise and worship. Our songs are about us, our problems, our needs, and about how much God makes of us. He is supposed to be the focus of our worship and praise. His Word is to be central in our preaching. His gospel is to be boldly proclaimed from our lips. Our lives are to be given in selflessness to one another and to the lost for His sake and His glory. Oh, how we need to turn from wickedness, repent, and begin living life for His glory and honor once again.
This needs to be our response in this hour. This should be what the church should be doing in these days of the plague of COVID19. We would know this if we just would go back 7 words and read the passage again.
May God have mercy upon the world. May God have mercy on the United States of America. May God have mercy on His church. May God have mercy on us. May God have mercy on me, a sinner.
Let us pray.