174/365 days of blogging.
Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house; and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house. 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. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. (2 Chronicles 7:11-16)
Months, maybe years, had passed since Solomon’s prayer of dedication. Several other building projects had been completed after the temple. Then after all this time, God told Solomon that he had heard Solomon’s prayer. How often do we look for immediate answers to our prayers and, when nothing happens, wonder if God has heard us? God does hear, and he will provide for us. We must trust that God will answer at the proper time.
Solomon asked God to make provisions for the people when they sinned. God answered with four conditions for forgiveness: 1) Humble themselves by admitting your sins; 2)Pray to God, asking for forgiveness; 3)seek God continually, and 4)turn from sinful behavior. True repentance is more than talk — it is changing your behavior. As I tell my children, saying your sorry, doesn’t give you a license to do it again. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, following these steps will lead to forgiveness. God will answer our earnest prayers.
Verses 14 and 15 says this…”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.”
IF is such a huge word. If you have ever made a deal with God then you know what I mean. You say God, IF you do this for me I will never do this again. It is a conditional statement. It implies that there are options. It also means that there is a choice involved on our part. A choice by us takes an act of our will. We can either take the offer or we can refuse the offer and accept the consequences. These ideas of bargaining with God are pointless because God doesn’t need us to do anything for Him. On the other hand, He wants us to choose to do everything for Him. Instead it is an opportunity from the Lord. He is almighty God. He does not HAVE to offer us anything. The great part of this offer is He desires to give us a chance, an opportunity that would not be offered if it were not for Him. It is freely given with no obligation on His part.
Humbling ourselves is the first step. That does not mean we walk around all day with our eyes to the ground or with a paddle smacking ourselves on the rear end or allowing someone else treat us that way. It means we recognize that we are not God. We can not do His job for him. We have no power over Him in our lives. We admit that we have sinned and apart from Him there is no salvation.
Next we are to pray. Prayer is personally communicating with God. We recognize we can’t do anything in life apart from Him and so we turn to Him, in humility. He is God, we are not. He has power, we do not. A relationship requires constant communication, most of which is listening. It takes work and it remains a work in progress for your entire life.
Next we are to seek His face. We MUST desire to know Him on a deeper level. Statistics say 90% of Americans know about God. I grew up knowing about God and who He was…but I never KNEW God in the way I do not. Most do not seek His face nor do they desire a love relationship with Him. Why? Because most of us don’t want to admit their lost and in sin. Most if not all of us don’t want to get ourselves out-of-the-way and live a life that is pleasing only to God.
Last but not least we need turn from our wicked ways. What are wicked ways? It is anyway that is not God’s way. The people of Israel were constantly calling upon God to rescue them from their own mistakes. When He would redeem them they would worship and follow Him…..for awhile. Then they would go back to wickedness and sin and leave God out entirely. Of course, they would then get in trouble without the Lord and they would be right back to where they were and call out to God to rescue them again.
Why didn’t they learn the first, second, or third, or even the hundredth time? It is because “all have sinned and fallen shot of God’s glory”. We are just like the Israelites. When times are bad we call on His name but when times are good we forget about Him. We pretend we don’t need Him.
God desires a love relationship with us. He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. He will never give up on you or me. But, we need to acknowledge by our actions that we love Him. He says, “If you love me you will obey my commands”. We demonstrate our love for Him by following His word and obeying all He has commanded us to do.
So if we do all these things, what do we get in return?
First, He will “hear from heaven”. We receive His forgiveness, His love, His peace, His comfort, and most importantly, His grace. Then and only then will he heal our land. God loves us so much that He sent His one and only Son to die for our sins. He seeks for each and every one of us to have a saving relationship with Him. He wants us to choose to follow Him.
Why, then, are so many people miserable? They won’t accept the love God. His love is the One permanent love we have offered to us. All other loves will leave you, whether it is by death or ending a relationship. His love will never, never leave you.
Before we come to realize we need Jesus Christ we often do a lot of damage to our life. The Lord promises to heal the land. He heals our life. He slowly changes our life for good when we begin to follow Him. He even says He will take the bad of life and change it to good.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 says
Are you ready for a change?