A Letter To The Church At Large
'And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 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. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.' 2 Chr 7:12-16
If My People
Whose are you?
'What' know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.?(1) God shows His ownership by saying 'My people' and 'My Name.' Are you called by His Name? Do you stand in the company of His People? If it is true that you belong to this company, you are the heir to many 'exceeding great and precious promises.'(2)
God's promises are wonderful, and it is a blessing to discover them as you study His Word. Yet it is sad to see how so many professing believers want to claim the promises without any obligation to meet the conditions or requirements that go hand in hand with them. All of God's promises have conditions that must be carried out before the promise can be fulfilled. The loss of this understanding has been the single most crippling blow to the Body of Christ here on earth. You don't see the fruit of His many blessings and lack the power (dunamis)(3) promised by God and exhibited in the early church, because you are claiming the promises without meeting your obligations.
Jesus Christ will not relieve you of your responsibility, nor will He fulfill His promises until you become obedient to what He has commanded you. Do not confuse obedience with works of the flesh. You cannot earn what Jesus bought for you on the cross, yet He did command you to repent of your sin. One does not negate the other.
Looking at the promises found in II Chronicles 7:12-16, the first condition that you must fulfill is to give yourself to God, submitting and committing to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ. In this way you truly belong to Him and become a part of 'My people' to whom He is addressing the promises.
'shall humble themselves'
This is the opposite of pride, to allow yourself to be known as you really are. Being truly humble is to shift your attitude from ego centric, or self centered, to a God centric one, placing God and His desires above all else. You need to see beyond your own circumstances, beyond your own life, and to see how you can fit in with God's plan for His creation. Sacrifice personal ambition for the ambition that God has for His people. The next natural step is to prefer others, setting their needs above your own.
Beyond this, in your mind and in your heart, you must give God the position that He alone has earned, that He deserves. Respond to His touch: exalting His Holiness and adoring His Awesomeness until you arrive at the place of accepting the Father Almighty for Who He really is.
Willful abandonment of self reliance, an absolute reliance on Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished on the cross.(4) You cannot in your own strength accomplish what needs to be done. It must be devoid of any religious activity, just you looking to God. Prayer is the pouring out of the contents of your heart, and a waiting on the refreshing response of His still small voice.
First pray for yourself and get your own heart right. Then pray that the Holy Ghost would have His freedom in the hearts of others. Pray 'for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour'(5) for He is 'not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.'(6) Pray for your family, your city, and your country, pray for the lovely, and those that are not, pray for good people and for bad. Pray for your friends, as well as your enemies. We cannot decide who 'deserves' to be prayed for. We are commanded to pray for 'all men.'
'and seek my face'
'And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.'(7) Your single focus must become and remain, to seek the face of God. Seek Him at the Cross. You will find Him by going through the Door, but only when you seek Him with your whole heart. This means an absence of divided affections. It means loyalty: a solitary concerted effort to find the face of God or die. Do you remember the first time you had an inkling of a God of love who wanted a relationship with you? Do you remember the love and joy you experienced? Return now to the love you once had for Him. Seek Him, He is waiting for you now.
'turn from their wicked ways'
All sin falls in two categories: sins of commission and sins of omission.(8) When you turn from your wicked ways you must not only stop doing what you should not be doing, but you must begin doing what you should be doing.
Sins of commission would include hate, anger, bitterness, murder, theft, dishonesty, judgmental or critical spirit, bigotry, lust, greed, sloth, and idolatry, all sexual sins and the like.
Sins of omission would include when you don't love either God or your neighbor,(9) when you don't forgive people when they sin against you,(10) and when you don't pray for and bless your enemies.(11) The Holy Bible is full of so many wonderfully good things you are commanded to do. There are so many, it has been said that if you would set your mind and heart to doing them, you would have no time to do what you should not!
You know the sin that recurs in your life, so fill in the blank. Acknowledge that you are the cause of the sin in your life. Turning from your wicked ways, or repentance, hinges on a denying of self.(12) This turning also includes the prayerful removal of everything from your life that may 'cause' you to sin. Some things may need to be burned or completely destroyed, as part of removal. Blatant and brutal honesty is needed here. Ask God and He will show you.
'then will I hear from heaven'
God has promised that when you call to Him, He will hear you. What a great blessing it is to know that you can have the ear of God Almighty. Search the scriptures and find all the times that God heard His people and responded in love to their needs. You are not alone! He longs to be with you, to fellowship with you, and to speak with you, if only you will meet Him in obedience.
'and will forgive their sin'
Sin affects so many different aspects of our being, and while repentance, confession, and restitution can go a long way, there is nothing that compares with the knowledge of being forgiven, and of the lifting of the burden, the weight, from your shoulders. When God forgives, if you are willing, all spiritual, emotional and psychological cords will be broken. Perfect peace, God's peace, fills the person whose sins are forgiven. This does not alleviate the need to also seek the forgiveness of people you have sinned against. Only through the forgiveness of God you are freed from that which would hinder you from doing what is right.
'and will heal their land'
God has allowed you to become a part of the solution to the desperate problems which trouble your land. If you will become obedient to the requirements of this one promise, God will move. The land you live in needs healing. This is not up for debate: The Scriptures make it clear that if the land is not healed, it is because His people refused to become obedient to the requirements of scripture.
You need to stop pointing your finger at other people. If God is going to judge the land you live in, it is because of the lack of righteous living among His people. Think about it. You need to prayerfully look around your life to see what is causing a hindrance. You have had a calling on your life since the moment you gave yourself to God as a living sacrifice.(13) Return to your former commitment, return to Him. The foundation of all callings is to personally share your faith with others: to 'Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.'(14) The Loving Father longs to be merciful. He desires that all His children would return, for then He would joyfully heal the land.(15)
'Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.'
You are the temple of God(16) and are being built into the house of His choosing. He has promised to keep an eye on you and to have His ear inclined to hear your prayers. He has chosen and sanctified you according to His promise, according to His Word. All of this goodness is yours just for fulfilling the simple conditions: humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your sin. This is not by works of the flesh, rather a responding in obedience to His loving kindness. This is the covenant He has made between Himself and you. That which concerns you is a concern of His, and in like fashion, you need to concern yourself only with the things that He is concerned with.
Read the promises of God carefully. You will find that there are two parts, one part belongs to God alone, and the second part belongs to you. There is no reason to stand on the promises if the conditions are not met. When you fulfill the conditions required- by the promise, God will do His part. Do not suppose that God is slack here: He is not the reason for unfulfilled promises or unanswered prayers. He longs to do so much good, to show Himself mighty in defending the cause of the weak, the fatherless, the widow and the stranger.(17) If you will but meet His conditions, He will move to respond with speed that would eclipse the speed of light.
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The following is a list of the references used in the writing above. All scriptures are taken from the King James Version.
- I Corinthians 6:19-20
- II Peter 1:2-4
- Strong's Definition 1411 dunamis (doo'-nam-is); from 1410; force (literally or figuratively); specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself): KJV-- ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.
Also Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8
- John 15:5, Philippians 2:13
- I Timothy 2:1-4
- II Peter 3:9
- Deuteronomy 4:29-31, Jer 29:13
- The sins of commission are the things that you do that you should not do. Sins of omission are when you 'omit' or do not do what you should.
- Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:36-40, Luke 10:25-37
- Matthew 6:14-15, Matthew 18:21, 22
- Matthew 5:44,45, Luke 6:27-35,Romans 12:20-21
- Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-37, Luke 9:23-25
- Romons 12:1
- Mark 16:15-18 Matthew 28:18-20
- Hosea 6:6, Matthew 9:13, II Peter 3:9
- I Corinthians 3:16-17, I Corinthians 6:19-20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:21-22
- Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Matthew 25:34-40