Today’s passage is 2 Chronicles 7:11-22. Let’s go!
On verses 12-16: After Solomon has finished dedicating the temple, God appears to Solomon. God confirms to Solomon that He has heard Solomon’s prayer, that He will be attentive to the prayers offered in the temple, and that He has chosen and consecrated this temple so that His name would be there forever. As part of this, God speaks some of the most powerful words regarding prayer and repentance in the Bible:
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) 14 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
When God speaks this promise in verse 14, He is speaking about situations where the land is affected by droughts, plagues or locusts. God promises to heal the Israelites’ land if they will humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways.
What can we learn from this? As God’s people we have a major part to play in the health, healing and prosperity of our city, community, nation and world. If we will pray, seek God and live the way God has called us to live, then the city, community, nation and world around us will be impacted in the most positive way.
2 Chronicles 7:17-22 (NIV) 17 “As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, 20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. 21 And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ 22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them–that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'”
On verses 17-22: Here God makes two options abundantly clear to Solomon:
Option 1: follow God with all your heart and you will never fail to have a successor on the throne (v17-18); or
Option 2: Turn away from God and the people will be uprooted from the land, becoming a byword and an object of ridicule in the world, and the temple will be destroyed (v19-22).
Unfortunately, as passionate as Solomon was about worshiping the Lord at this time, Solomon would eventually turn away from the Lord, falling headlong into idolatry, as would many of his descendants after him. Mercifully, God did not uproot the people of Israel right away or destroy the temple immediately. Rather, God would only do so after giving Israel’s kings and the Israelites much time to repent.
What can we learn from this? Like He gave Solomon, God gives us two options: either we can trust in the Lord and live in His blessing, or we can trust in ourselves and live apart from His blessing. The choice is ours. When we make the wrong choice, often in His mercy God will even give us time to repent. The question is not whether God will show us mercy. The question is whether we will make the wise and humble choice to trust in God instead of trusting in ourselves.
Lord Jesus, You call us the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). May we live our lives trusting in You, obeying You, and turning back to You whenever we go astray, so that we, our land and the generations after us would experience Your blessing, Your healing and Your favour. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!