By Lesli Nolen
Published October 2011
It was four months ago when I wrote about the fires that were burning in and around the San Angelo area. Five inches of rain later and the hottest months (June-August) on record, the Lone Star State is still burning. In the past week, 480 wildfires have consumed nearly 180,000 acres of land in Texas, according to the Texas A&M University System.
But even more important I think we are in a spiritual drought. As I continue to pray for rain I pray for our nation, our state and our city. I pray that people will realize the need for God is now. We live in a society of immoral standards and we wonder why our land is burning.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.”
I hear people reciting this verse all the time. This verse is so often spoken that I think people just say it and forget about what it is that God is telling us to do. Just because you say it doesn’t mean it will happen. Verses in the Bible are not spoken like a magic spell. They are guidelines of how we should live our life.
I noticed this verse being posted and recited more and more every day. So I studied it, prayed about it and was sucker punched right away. I have a new perspective on this verse after discovering what it is that I’m not doing. So I decided to break it down a little and hopeful we will put this powerful verse into action and not just recite the words again.
The verse begins with, “my people, which are called by my name” refers to those of us who personally have a relationship with him. He is not talking to the atheists of the world. He is speaking to his children; those who call him by name. We are the ones He calls on to carry out his plans on Earth. We are to humble ourselves, to pray and to seek His face.
It is easy to say this prayer and think we already do all that. But do we truly know what it means to humble ourselves, pray, and seek His face.
The definition of humble is having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance (adjective) and lower (someone) in dignity or importance (verb). It is an action. We must change the way we live our lives and then and only then will God do what he says he will do. We must set aside what we want and ask God what He wants. Selfish pride is big in our society. It is a lot easier said than done. Once we humble ourselves, we must pray. I think most of the world today just hopes the rest of the world will clean up their act and everything will be okay. But it doesn’t work that way. Prayer is the second action we must do and do it every day all day. Thirdly, we must seek His face. The definition of seek is attempt to find something (verb) and attempt or desire to obtain or achieve something. Remember the game, hide and seek. We have to look for him and his will in our life. We can’t sit here waiting for him to always come to us.
The fourth action we must take is to turn from our wicked ways. We have to turn from anything that is un-Godly, that is what wicked means. Anything we do outside of God’s will is wicked. That is such a huge statement, because as Isaiah 55:8 states, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”
So when we pray the prayer of 2 Chronicles 7:14, we must remember that the context of this verse is past-tense. God is speaking to Solomon just after the completion of the Temple. Because the people, after they had already endured droughts, plagues and disease (sound familiar) humbled themselves and turned from their wicked ways and began seeking God’s face, He heard their cry and restored them as a nation. Aren’t we crying out and wondering why God is doing this? Maybe because we aren’t doing what he has asked of us.
Christian singer Michael Card wrote and sang a song titled, “Heal Our Land,” straight from 2 Chronicles 7:14.
“Forgive, Oh Lord, and heal our land, and give us eyes to seek your face and hearts to understand, that you alone make all things new. And the blessings of the land we love are really gifts from you.”
“Unite our hearts, in one accord, and make us hungry for your peace, and burdened for the poor; and grant us hope, that we might see, the future of the land we love, our life, our liberty.”
“If my people will humble pray, and seek my face and turn away from all their wicked ways, then I will hear them, and move my hand; and freely then will I forgive, and I will heal their land.”
I think this song sums it up nicely. If we will remove our pride and our selfish actions, love one another as Christ loves us, and follow his will, he will mend the factures of his land. Our land, not necessarily being the ground we walk on but our hearts, what we truly stand on. Our land, land that has been burned and sometimes has to be destroyed before we appreciate it and are able to start all over.
Remember, God needs no help from us. We are the ones that need help from Him.