Wednesday, September 4, 2013

IF My People....

Yeah, that's IF...and it's a big if, I might add.  The entire text is: 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 (2 Ch. 7:14 NIV).

In today's world, there is this growing belief that God really doesn't care how we live, that He will accept and forgive us no matter what.  Well, He is in fact in the forgiving business; but He is also in the business of dealing with sin. In fact, he may use consequences of that sin to get our attention and bring us closer to Him.  Rest assured, He will deal with the sin.

Let's break down that verse a bit.  First is the condition "if" and the resulting "then."  If my people will humble themselves, if my people will pray, if my people will seek my face instead of their own evil ways (paraphrase mine); then--only then (italics mine)--will I hear, forgive and heal....

Another piece of the verse is the folks about whom God is speaking:  His people.  He is not talking about the world in general or mankind as a whole; it's HIS people He is discussing.  In the context of the writing it was the Hebrew nation, God's chosen people. There is a linguistic link between God and Israel (though I'm not scholar enough to explain it).  The truth of the statement was borne out again and again throughout the history of their nation.  They cycled through periods of oppression, confession, restoration, apostasy and back to oppression.  When they humbled themselves, prayed, looked for God's favor and repented, they came back to a state of being blessed

Now, among those who call themselves Christians--those of Christ--should we not take note of the situation of the Jews of 2nd Chronicles?  Instead, we live lives filled with pride; pray only if we we want something; seek our own will, often in ways absolutely contrary to His ways...and expect His blessing!

I have far too many friends who claim to be Christians and yet they live their lives in manners contrary to God's will, and many wonder why God is not blessing them.  Maybe they don't recognize the reality that their way is not His way; maybe they just chose to ignore it.  Whatever the problem, until they follow the pattern of 2nd Chronicles, they're probably going to find the world pressing in upon them.

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