“…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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
II Chronicles 7:14
For the longest time, I saw this verse as a formula for “revival”. Recently, my understanding of revival has changed, (see my last 3 blogs) and so I felt the need to give this verse a much closer examination.
King David has passed away and left the nation of Israel in the hands of his son Solomon. He charged him to build the Lord a temple and remain faithful to serving Him. So Solomon built the temple for the Lord in Jerusalem.
At the dedication ceremony, Solomon prays in front of the whole assembly gathered there. During His prayer of dedication in II Chronicles 6, he asked for several specific things with regards to the temple, the nation of Israel and the prayers offered there. The Lord appears to Solomon at night in response to his prayer:
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.
II Chronicles 7:12-15
A close comparison of Solomon’s request during the prayer of dedication and the Lord’s response will reveal a difference of wording. Solomon asked for several specific things that the Lord did not mention in His reply. What is most interesting to me, however, is the words and the order of the words chosen by God in His response.
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain…”
Israel was an agrarian society whose entire economy was built on grain, new wine and oil. A shutting up of the heavens would cause a drought, a slow weaning away of resources needed to support a healthy economy. It would happen over time, eventually resulting in an economic recession.
“…or command the locusts to devour the land…”
The locust problem at its worst can be seen in the description in Joel 1. A massive locust infestation would cause a sudden and immediate failure of the agricultural based economy. You go to bed one night with crops in your fields, you wake up the next morning and everything is gone. It is a sudden and catastrophic economic failure.
“…or send pestilence among My people…”
The NKJV which I quote here says pestilence, other versions say plague. There is a departure from the first two situations in regards to severity with the plague. First of all, the plague is sent among the people. Yes, it will have an economic impact due to the sickness and death of the labor force that drives the economy, but more than that, it is very personal since it will affect the lives of people and their loved ones.
So the three conditions listed by God in which this verse even applies are all cases in which God is aligning His people to His will. The first one is an economic recession. It is slow and gentle and gives time for people to repent without catastrophic failure. The second case IS catastrophic failure, but just of the economy. It is sudden and complete in its devestation. The third case, God allows the correction to touch His people directly. Please note that He takes ownership of all three as being sent from Him.
So at the end of verse 14, where, after laying out the actions for God’s people to take in response to the shaking, God promises to:
“…hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Hear, forgive and heal! Restoration in both relationship with God and His blessing upon His people is what is described here. Very interesting that He says, “…heal their land…” Why not heal YOUR land? Why not heal YOUR people, country, nation, etc? Healing the LAND again speaks to the land itself, the soil, the crops, the fields and in an agrarian society, the economic base. The plague, mentioned last may occur after the first two as God relents with His mercy to allow gentle means to get the attention of His people before the more personal and dramatic means of pestilence.
God continues, in the next several verses, His conversation with Solomon addressing His promise to have a descendent of David on the throne as long as David’s house walks with Him. He adds the following:
“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.”
II Chronicles 7:19, 20
God is talking about a complete rejection of Himself by His people. If this happens, God retains control of the land, referring to it as “MY land” and evicts the people from it. This final reference to LAND further enforces the idea of exactly what God is speaking to – the economic base (real estate). He is thus saying, “I will retain the rights to your home, your property and the economic base I have provided for you.”
I have often thought that the opening of this verse would make the perfect short sermon, “…if my people…” I imagined a speaker walking up to the microphone in a stadium packed with tens of thousands of people who were there to seek God and pray for our nation and just simply declaring these 3 words. Following the utterance of them with a long pause and then repeating them with slightly more vigor. The speaker would continue this process several times until the crowd started to feel the words sink in. After several minutes, I see all in attendance there, on their feet, stomping, screaming, yelling their praise to God at the revelation that the healing of our land is dependent on us and the action we take. “IF MY PEOPLE!!!”
It was always a very powerful and profound vision but it is not a formula for a spiritual revival as I once believed. It is direction, by God Himself for the restoration of the economic base of a nation, the healing of the physical land on which a nation sits and the relenting of His shaking or correction as a result of disobedience.
What we have in II Chronicles 7:14 is the answer for times like we live in today. For the restoration of economies from recession and depression and a returning of His people back to Him. The choice is ours, the power lies with us, our action is required. Will we step up? Will His people humble, pray, seek and turn? When we do, a revival is promised…
An ECONOMIC REVIVAL…