“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.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. The meaning behind the Hebrew word “shem”, which translates into our English word “name” used in the above verse, references a people who are established in a definite and conspicuous position. Who are those people who are established in the vicarious conspicuous position of being called by His name? Well, certainly the Jewish people, but God speaks to another group here as well.
What hinders God from doing what He’d prefer to do is sin. Whose sin? He’s certainly not speaking of the enemies of God nor is He referring to a bunch of non-believing government bureaucrats steeped in their own personal sins as they steal from their constituency. No, those who His attention is focused on in the verse above, and who He desires to help if they would only humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, already belong to Him. It’s a shock to realize who God is speaking to. “My people who are called by my name”, the wicked people are both Jews and Gentiles. God speaks to both camps. His chosen people are the Jews, yet His Church is also in view here. Wow – a real eye opener, but sadly true. Don’t write and tell me that that verse is an Old Testament verse directed only at the Jewish people of that day. If you honestly believe the above verse doesn’t address Christians then you’ll need to scrap the Bible in its entirety. There is no doubt that God is speaking to His children, born again believers in Christ, as well as His chosen people, the Jews.
If my people, and that’s a big “if”, will do what we should have been doing all along, which is walking with the Lord daily, then God will act upon what we ask of Him. While His people remain outside of His fellowship in their self imposed exile He will remain silent, the healing process will be put on hold until His people come back and embrace that loving fellowship He offers. Does that mean we’re not saved? Absolutely not. Many of God’s children are not walking with Him, they are out of fellowship. Keep in mind that God is calling His people which includes the born again to repentance. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God…” John 1:12a. God has given us (the born again) the power to become sons of God. Once a son of God, always a son of God, but being out of fellowship with our Savoir and Lord brings only misery and heartache.
Is there any possibility that God will heal America, a land where the majority of its populous prides themselves on being Christian? Certainly God is fully able to heal our land and bring about the greatness that America once enjoyed, but will He? A nation where the vast majority of citizens claim to be Christian should not be in such trouble, especially as we see is the case today stretching from sea to shining sea. Where are all the prayer warriors?
Talk is cheap; I’ve stated it many times in past commentaries. Just because someone stakes a claim to being a Christian doesn’t really mean they are. There is a growing segment of Americans who are repulsed by those of us who claim to be “born again” and some of these folks actually profess to be Christians themselves. In the third chapter of the book of John, Jesus told Nicodemus that the only way to see the Kingdom of Heaven is to be born again. It’s fairly obvious that if a person is repulsed at the thought of being born again, that would be a real deterrent to ever seeing the Kingdom of Heaven.
Surely if the populous of the US were actually followers of Jesus Christ we could be fairly certain they’d be praying for God to heal their land and forgive their sins. This land, as far as I can see, is not being healed. Therefore either those who are called by His name are not turning from their wicked ways or the nation is made up of mostly in name only Christians. Today as never before in our history, America is in desperate need of healing, and the lost of this nation are going to be no help to the born again in asking God for His intervention. And if the born again don’t ask, well…
Prayer is extremely important in God’s economy. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16b. “Much of our prayer is not effective simply because it is not fervent. It is offered with a lukewarm attitude that virtually asks God to care about something that we care little about. Effective prayer must be fervent, not because we must emotionally persuade a reluctant God, but because we must gain God’s heart by being passionate for the things He is fervent for.” – David Guzik
A fervent prayer initiated by whom? A “righteous man”. His fervent prayer will avail much, and the humble prayers presented to God by those who are called by His name will result in the fulfillment of a spoken promise by the One who calls us by His name. That same promise will not come to fruition if those who are called by His name remain steadfast in their wicked ways and silent when it comes to sending up petitions to the Creator of the universe.
That verse of 2 Chronicles is presented in commentary after commentary, and has been for some time now. Many letters that come to me have that prayer inserted at the bottom, people are attempting to spread that verse around as a prayer for all to read and repeat. Always, as it is used in commentaries, it’s seen as a call to arms so to speak, but so far it doesn’t seem to have many adherents. How can I say that? Is there anyone out there that actually believes that God has healed, or is in the process of healing, our land? On the contrary, America is in dire straits. Only by calling on the One true God by those who place their faith and trust in Him, and Him alone for salvation, can the many plagues permeating this land be eradicated.
God has called all of His Children to prayer. Not just those who are actually active in prayer, but those who neglect prayer as well. In God’s directive of 2 Chronicles I don’t see where God is allowing for the possibility that if some will turn from their evil ways – pray – seek His face – then He’ll act. No! All of His people, all who are called by His name must turn from their evil ways and do as He has commanded.
Are the faithful asleep? There seems to be a vast majority of those who’ve placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ who haven’t a clue as to what’s coming next. Those who are in tune with God and His word know that there will be some bad times (persecutions – tribulations – trials) which the Church will be forced to endure while we await the Rapture. What those times will consist of no one knows for sure. But we will be hated more and more for Christ’s sake and we can all see that those days are somewhat upon us now. Petitioning God’s help is our only hope and will be, in the near future, our only recourse as we see avenue after avenue beginning to close to those who follow the true Creator of the universe, Jesus the Christ.
A year ago I wrote a commentary titled “Time Has Come – Let’s Pray” which garnered a positive reaction from folks all over the world. I was thrilled with such a response and I was fairly confident we would begin to see a difference very soon. My brethren were convicted and they told me so. They were going to begin to diligently pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways. Surely there would be a full on trek back into fellowship with the One and only God of all creation. Did it happen? Did those who are called by His name begin their journey back to that place where they could continue in an awesome relationship with their Savior and Lord? I hope so. But I honestly believe that many professing Christians are so tied to this world, and the idea of instant gratification, that when they see no instant benefit in prayer they cease their communication with God. Then they do the unspeakable, they do an about face and instead of continually calling on God, they call on the governments of the world to attempt to clean up the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into on this planet, all the while continuing in their wicked ways.
Today it seems that instead of being concerned with the things of God, more and more believers in Christ are fully absorbed by the conditions of our times. Instead of relying on God and being in the center of His will, many have caved and bowed to the government and now are fully reliant on that very ungodly entity as their provider of basic needs. His people called by His name, in their quest for their perceived fair share, have neglected the One who loves them and freely gives with no strings attached. How do born again believers in Christ humble themselves before their God? By repenting of their evil ways and then turning away from sin.
The end is very near now and the healing of this land may be, for all intents and purposes, a moot point, but turning from our wicked ways, that’s something that should be paramount on our minds. From here on out nothing of this world should be attracting us. Think about it, what is the attraction of this planet now? Surely we’re repulsed by the cold heartedness permeating our society today. Do the lies coming out of our Federal Government seem attractive? Not hardly. Money? Love? Possessions? Nothing can compare to Heaven and that’s what we need to set as the priority of our thinking these days. The words “this world is not my home” needs to be believed now more than ever. This world is not our home; it is a place where we currently sojourn but only temporarily. If this world is so vastly important to you then I have some very disturbing and disappointing news, it will soon be completely destroyed by fire. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10. This biblical scenario is not too far off in mankind’s future.
The children of God have a new home being prepared for them which will never be destroyed, never be attacked, entropy will never enter therein. If you don’t want to leave earth with all its beauty then you must not believe your Heavenly home can transcend the earthly. Are we looking forward to Heaven, or are we simply giving lip service to something we perceive as only fantasy? If you are not looking forward to Heaven you will be of no earthly good to the Kingdom of God while here on earth. Only those who have disentangled themselves from the worldly know for certain that their future Heavenly home awaits them, new and perfect in its place.
If His people will turn from their evil ways and pray He will hear from Heaven, all of their prayers. But we must pray, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23-24. What an awesome promise given to us by the one who died for us. Neglecting to call on the Lord in prayer simply ties His hands. He wants us involved in the fellowship. It isn’t to be one sided. Let Him hear from you, that’s what He tells us in 2 Chronicles 7:14. He needs to hear from His people. When those prayers are sent up to God in earnest, then will He hear and act. This nation of ours might just remain intact while His Church remains prayerful and in fellowship with their God.
When all is said and done, this moment of time that we occupy is nothing more than a vapor. Trusting God is our only hope in a world which has a majority of folks who have no use for God whatsoever. God, in His directive of 2 Chronicles, is only asking those who are called by His name – His children – to pray. If you’re still not sure, allow me make it perfectly clear just who His Children are. We are those who Jesus refers to as being able to see the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes we’re sinners, yes we stumble from time to time, and yes we sometimes become adversely entangled in the evils of this world. That’s why the 2 Chronicles directive is as important to God as it should be to each of us. Read it again, ““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.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.” Now place it prominently in your memory banks – never to be forgotten – quote it often – then act upon it.
As born again believers in Christ, called by His name, we can see Heaven, our future home, and we know we will be there one day. It’s as though we see the future as we forget the past. Can you see it? No? Then you know what you must do.
Thank you to Ron Graham for this timely commentary. His work can also be found at Rapture Ready
Lea Sylvester's work may also be found at Rapture Ready