Lord, Heal Our Land
“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.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NKJV)
For 400 years, Israel had only a tent as a place of worship or the house of God called, the Tabernacle. God it seemed, was satisfied with this set up (2 Samuel 7:5-7). However, seems more favorable for them to have a temple. God gave David plans for it in his own handwriting (1 Chronicles 28:19); Exodus 25:9). It must be magnificent and famous throughout the world (1 Chronicles 22:5).
With the help of king Hiram of Tyre, Solomon prepared materials and arranged a workforce to build the planned temple (2 Chronicles 2:1-8). The construction lasted for seven years, until the temple, its furniture, its courtyard, and all other articles and decorations connected with it were completed based on the plan (2 Chronicles 3:1-5:1). Then it was dedicated to God. It is in this context that we find 2 Chronicles 7:14 as part of God’s response (2 Chronicles 7:13-16) to Solomon’s prayer after the dedication.
I find four ways by which this passage can be of help to us now that we are ‘plagued’, as verse 13 says, by natural calamities such as volcanic eruptions and the threat of novel coronavirus.
First, humility, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves…” Verse 14 is framed by God’s declaration, “I have chosen this place/I have chosen and consecrated this temple…” (v.v. 13 & 16). Such statement shows the importance not just of the temple as a place of worship, but of God’s authority over that place. If the people of Israel recognize such authority, their prayers shall be heard and their land will be healed.
2 Chronicles 12:6-7 records what seems to be an application of this. The people forsook God and His law. Shishak, king of Egypt attacked them and captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Through the prophet Shemaiah, God declared His judgment, “You have forsaken Me, so I also have forsaken you to Shishak.” (2 Chronicles 12: 1-5).
Now 12:6-7 states, “So the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, ‘The Lord is righteous.’ When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah, saying, ‘They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some measure of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak” emphases mine). The NASB Study Bible suggests that “The Chronicler has in mind God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14.
In the same way, we can overcome the present calamities if we humbly recognize God’s authority over our lives. As what James said in his epistle, the Lord will lift us up if we humble ourselves before him (James 4:9)
Second, prayer, “If my people who are called by name will humble themselves and pray…” In verse 15, God reiterates this promise, “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” The temple is the house where prayers will be uttered. It will also the place where such prayers will be heard by God. The Scriptures is replete with passages that teach the importance of prayer and the affirmation that we have a God who answers prayers.
Third, desire his presence, If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face…” Strong’s Dictionary defines “to seek” as to desire and “face” as presence. Thus, this expression can be rendered “to desire my (God’s) presence.” His presence can be found in the temple as his declaration, mentioned above, asserts. In the Gospels, Jesus assured his followers that if they “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” all their needs will be provided (Matt. 6:33). Although the context of the passage is the uselessness of worrying, the essence of seeking God, is maintained. Another assurance from Jesus is found in Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it will be given seek and you will find” (italics mine).
Fourth, repentance, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…” To “turn” is to turn away, to repent, to turn back or to restore (Strong’s). The people need to turn away from their sins and turn back to God in order to restore their relationship with him. Of course, the temple is the best place to accomplish such a restoration of their relationship with God.
At the Pentecost, Peter preached about repentance and turning back to God, he said, “Repent, then turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord…” (Acts 3:19)
There we have it folks, right in the book of 2 Chronicles we find the promise and its fulfillment! We can also make 2 Chronicles 7:14 our prayer then do what it says, for by doing so we might be able to rise above the challenges brought about by natural calamities and whatever difficulties we may face in life.
Fee, Gordon D. and Stuart, Douglas. How to Read the Bible Book by Book. A Guided Tour. Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature, Inc., 2002.
Halley, Henry H. Halley’s Bible Handbook. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2000.
MySword for Android. Riversoft Ministry, 2011-2019.
Olive Tree Bible Software, 1998-2020.
Zondervan NASB Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1999.