2 Chronicles 7:14 – WHO ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?
When Things Fall Apart
The new king of the nation is in prayer about his coming reign (Solomon, ca. 960 BCE). It’s a potential disaster time. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is spoken by God regarding bad things that might come. What to do when things “go south”? What should Solomon’s people DO.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain,
or command locusts to devour the land
or send a plague 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 I will forgive their sin
and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
The “PROBLEMS” part is priceless for its honesty about the kinds of things that can go wrong, makes you feel panicky, desperate, in despair, for yourself, your people, your nation (and, today, for our Earth). We could add to the list, but it’s impressive. Today we could summarize it as
- climate crises,
- agricultural disaster (economic collapse, food shortages)
So, things like that are going on these days – you know?
The “STRATEGY” part is also priceless – for its accessibility. These are things we CAN DO.
- Humble yourself,
- pray and seek God,
- turn from your wicked ways.
They don’t require new scientific discoveries, nor new technological or organizational developments. They do not require political power or domination. (However, see the footnote.1)
Then the “RESCUE’ part.
We really need the rescue processes to keep moving, quite a bit faster!
2 Chronicles 7:14 – WHO ARE WE TALKING TO HERE?
Talking to Believers?
The instruction here is to those who DO believe in God, or think they do – who are seen that way, who claim to worship God and to understand God a lot better than “all those other people.” THESE are the ones instructed to do these things – to actually do what they claimed they are already superior in doing! But there was a likelihood that they would NOT do what they claim. That’s why the trouble would come.
Or Talking to Avoiders?
For today, I’m sad to say, this is the kind of people in our world who are the direct target audience of this teaching. “I’m sad to say,” because those are the ones strongly avoiding intense concern about their own sins. They also eagerly overlook blatant sins of those they honor or hang out with. Sadly, again, it really seems they honor those problem people because of the prestige or power they might bring their devotees.
It’s much easier to be a) preoccupied with the sins of others than of one’s own life – others who might not bring one any prestige or power – those who will not even pretend to believe “our way” (who are often liberal, or Democrat, or irreligious, or gay, or scientists, skeptics, foreigners, of a different race, whatever) the people who refuse to flatter and (pretend to) agree with them. That outward, judging focus is much easier and more common than b) showing personal self-criticism and change. But personal self-criticism and change is what both God (in 2 Chr 7) and Jesus, frequently, require.
Thus, again sadly, they avoid taking this teaching to heart for themselves. The don’t see it as insisting that THEY change, or at least only very little, superficially – a technical thing, you know.
Thus they nullify the gracious, hopeful promises given in these verses; and that is a tragic, enormous loss!
Here’s a clear indicator of this problem: Jesus.
They don’t take Jesus seriously. They do claim to “believe in” him. They do fancy themselves “saved” by his death on a cross. But they don’t respect him. They don’t listen. They don’t even want to listen – to this their wisest, Divine Teacher. It’s all really quite sad.
IF the beautiful promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is to be pursued, AND IF we claim to be Christian, THEN we need to attend carefully to what Jesus treats as wicked ways. Because the promise is made to those who in humility before God “TURN” from their wicked ways. If we’re not interested, it’s healthier to just admit it.
the following post, coming Aug 24, “9 Times Jesus Nailed Wicked Ways: We Can’t Hide.”
See also “Do Not Be Afraid: 3 Bible Aids …”
1 a) “Pray and seek My face” is a problem for those who do not believe there is any god there to seek. Or some, I know, are very deeply offended with the god they have believed in, or have been pressed to believe in.
b) But with or without god, surely cultivating simple humility, honesty before the facts (sounds like “the scientific method”!) – the developments, the threats – and the beauties and opportunities – would count as very good advice. I think that’s very important. As a general attitude, believer or unbeliever, it would put one in a position much more likely to progress, or to discern possible solutions. Further, if this Bible god is actually good, as is claimed, then honesty, humility, justice, love would be adequate – as after all Jesus taught – whether one “believed in” any group’s definition of god or salvation or not.
c) And some who are very non-theistic, even atheistic, would nevertheless argue that a person’s own attitudes of humility, love, perhaps even of hope, sometimes do somehow alter the environment. I tend to think that happens.