If My People
These are troubling times. Nothing like the threat of the coronavirus has been experienced in my generation. In times of national trial, it is normal for our minds to turn to the things of God because so much is out of our control.
A lot of people have been citing these verses on social media:
“Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the 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 the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name 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 the prayer that is made in this place.” 2 Chronicles 7:12-15 ESV
It’s fair to use it but most people are misusing it. Israel was a theocracy, that is, it was ruled directly by God. All the residents of Israel were the people of God. We are not a theocracy; we are a secular nation. This passage is not a general call to the USA. What is it then? It’s is a call to the people of God. It is the church and its members who are called to repent. Peter said “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17 ESV.
Let’s face it, the church is full of corruption. Christians are often worse than the non-Christian. Secular organizations are often more ethical and better to work for that working in churches and Christian organizations. Christians can be mean, cruel, narcissistic, and abusive. Modern Christianity has been rocked and shaken by one scandal after another. It seems it is almost weekly that we hear a report of another celebrity pastor involved in sexual sins, or known for their abusive behavior, or stealing or misusing church funds. Para church organizations have also had their share of problems.
Local churches are known to be abusive to each other and especially to their pastors. Churches would rather fight than love each other. There are constant struggles for power. Churches fire their pastors without biblical warrant– he is too old, or he preaches what we don’t want to hear. Churches reject the calling of their pastor. And it particularly disturbs churches when pastoral leaders expect the church members to be witnesses.
We are not in good standing with God. I know there are a lot of faithful Christians but when you consider church abuse and rampant apostasy while others celebrate the things that God condemns, how are we ever to think that God is pleased with his people? It is a burdensome thought when we realize that the major factor for the non-believer not coming to church or following Christ is us, Christians in all our shame.
The Apostle Paul warned, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21 ESV. Yet the church is full of these evils.
Christians are to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another,” Galatians 5:22-26 ESV.
Well, what about the lost world? The unbelieving world is already judged. “But whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God, John 3:18 ESV. The solution to their problem is to see and hear the witnesses of authentic Christians. So, it’s good to quote 2 Chronicles 7:12-15. And I know that we recite it as a means of seeking Revival. However, Revival begins with God’s people, it begins you and me. We, the church in all its forms, are the people of God. We are witnesses to the world. Let’s get our house in order and demonstrate the character of God before we criticize the non-believing world.