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.
Hear from Heaven
But wait, doesn’t God hear everything, I mean, He is omniscient and omnipresent, right?
Absolutely He is! But there are prayers He will not listen to or consider. John 9 gives an account of a blind man who didn’t know who Jesus was, and the Pharisees who were looking right at their Messiah, yet were themselves spiritually blind as to that fact. They accused the blind man of being physically blind because of sin, whereas in their own spiritual blindness, they could not grasp their own guilt before God. Verse 31: Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
There is an instance in Jeremiah 7:16 and 11:14 when God told the prophet NOT to pray for the people, when Judah had broken their covenant and were in unrepentant and willful sin.
So it’s important to know what prayers will not hear…
- That of a believer in rebellion and willful sin (unless it is a prayer of repentance)
- The prayer of the faithless (unsaved). Without faith it is impossible to please Him. He that cometh to God must first believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. (Heb. 11:6,)
Conversely: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. The “righteous” are those redeemed and having the righteousness of Christ applied to our account by the atonement made when He died on the cross and rose again.
- People often say “our thoughts and prayers are with you”. Well if you don’t know Jesus as savior, then your prayers and a plug nickel will get me squat! Thoughts and empty words tossed up to a god you don’t even believe in, have no power whatsoever. ZERO! You think you can reach up that far? Seriously? Try walking up to the White House with the intent to have a word with Barack Obama. Those guys with guns at the gate, are going to want to see some credentials. How, then, do you expect to gain an audience with the God of the Universe? ONLY on the commendation of Jesus Christ!
Forgive Their Sin
The first and most important thing you need to know about forgiveness for our sins, is that the Bible addresses this topic differently depending upon whether you are saved or not. If you are not saved, you first need to understand that you stand guilty before a perfect and righteous God. You have no grounds to approach God about the sins of this nation until you have let Him deal with your own. God has been known to forgive “national sin” based upon the prayers of the righteous for that nation. Most specifically God turned things around after some Godly believer beseeched God, who in turn raised up a Godly leader or King. This is why it is so important for us to pray for Obama and all of our leaders. The guy at the top is always the “face” and so the things he does has a lot of potential in it’s ability to effect everyone in the nation, whether good or bad. God sets up leaders and He brings them down at His pleasure. He also holds them to account, and yet because of the hierarchy or “chain of command” the leader’s choices stand to effect the whole lot of us. In America’s case, yes, God raised up a leader who has embraced evil and we are suffering for it, but to compound our culpability, the majority cast their vote for this leader. Obama will be held to a high degree of guilt, but so will every Christian who knowingly voted for a man who had “the right to abortion” and Gay “marriage” as prominent aspects of his platform when he ran for office.
All sin is against God (Psalm 51)
The example in Scripture of national repentance, is always in reference to Israel, and Joel chapters 2 and 3 give the ultimate example of just how important it is. God will judge the nations. (Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3). So even as we repent for America, we do so not primarily for the sake of things getting better here and now, but for the ultimate judgment. The deeper America descends into sin, the deeper the spiritual darkness will be here, and the more souls whose blood will be on our (Christian’s) hands to the degree that we might have prevented that. Chastisement now, may prevent eternal punishment for many, if we will but respond appropriately to the continual “wake up calls” God keeps graciously sending. This isn’t some ideological conflict, this is reality! Souls are at stake.
Heal their Land
So we are running headlong toward eternity. What difference does it make whether America is “healed” at this point or not? When a saint dies, and goes to be with the Lord, that is the ultimate healing. Believing family members grieve, but not as one who has no hope. They know where that loved one is, and that they will be reunited one day. Will America be “healed”? Remember, this whole essay has been addressed to American Christians. Would you choose for your loved one, eaten up with cancer, to stay just to spare your having to go through the pain of separation from them? Or would you release them, despite your agony of loss, clinging to Gods promises? What a testimony it is to those who don’t know the Lord as their savior, to witness the utter peace with which a believer in Christ can face such a loss. I have seen people led to salvation by that witness. Or consider the missionary whose spouse is murdered by the very people they’ve devoted their lives to reaching with the Gospel, who comes back as widow or widower, and continues to love that lost people with the love of Christ.
Healing of America may not take the form some of us have been asking for. We don’t know for certain if we have passed that point of no return, but it seems very likely that we have. If America is not going to survive the coming days, it is my prayer, that this nation would die proclaiming Jesus. These times we are living in truly could become the gospel’s finest hour. Just as there is generally a rush to boarding a plane or train or subway just before the doors are closed, I envision God’s desire to broadcast the “last boarding call” as far and as wide and as loud and clear as possible, and may we each avail ourselves for His use in that final call.
May God have His way in this land once again, and may a remnant in America Bless God once more before the end. May our collective voice lift up His praise from shore to shore, and may this nation be the beacon that she was in years before. May God bring His servants down in abject humility, may He circumcise each heart, may he bend each stubborn knee. May Godly sorrow bring us low, as He reveals to us our sins, for if the Son be lifted up, He will draw all men to Him. We appeal not on the basis of a wish for life of ease, but a sincere desire, our loving Savior to please. No matter what the cost, we ask You, help us stand for Christ, even if the price extends to laying down our lives. For no greater love hath any man than this, but to lay down his life for a friend.
And Jesus, You are the greatest Friend there ever was.
As our dear brother Dr. Gold points out, I would be remiss, in focusing on this passage with a promise, if I fail to mention that not only is it an if/then proposition, but reading further in 2 Chronicles 7, there is also a “but”.
You NEVER want to skip over or ignore what follows that particular conjunction, because it is an indication of consequences!But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword (notorious example) among all nations. 21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them. There is no question that this nation as a whole and in its official policy, has turned from God’s statutes and commandments. But now more than ever, it matters what God’s remnant does. This is no time to find yourself outside God’s protection due to disobedience, no time to be slack concerning your own standing with God.