2 Chronicles 7:14 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.
The misapplication of this verse has bothered me for many years. This verse is not a promise that God will heal America—no matter how much we humble ourselves and pray. Recently, I heard a preacher/teacher/evangelist speak on this verse and teach it as many have…out of context.
A Recent Radio Commentary on 2 Chronicles 7:14
“Think about this folks. In logic, there’s what called conditional logic. There is basically a condition and a consequence. An ‘if/then’ proposition. If this, then that.
Second Chronicles 7:14 was originally written to ancient Israel, but you know, it’s like gravity. It will work for anybody. It’s applicable to all people.
And the Word of God says (2 Chron 7:14)
“‘If my people’ — these are the followers of the true living God; ‘if my people, who are called by my name’ — will do what? Now here’s the ‘if’ — and you will be very excited in a moment to hear the ‘then.’
If we will do this: humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Humility, prayer, specifically for this nation — I would say, intercession.
Seek the face of God. Matthew 6:33 says seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you.
Repentance, turn; and listen, I’m talking to me here, and I’m talking to all of us: if you’re a Jesus follower, if you love the Lord, and you love this country, we need to do this. Humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, repent.
Okay, so here is the result.
“God says, I am going to hear you, I will forgive you, I will heal your land.
Now this is not complicated and I realize if you watch the news, like myself, you are probably very concerned for the state of the country, the state of the world,
We’ll talk about that. But let’s remember, we serve a God who has put a number of if/then propositions in front of us. And if we turn to God, he will undertake for us.”
That’s Not Our God
The Bible does not teach that Christians are in an “if/then” relationship with God. God does not say, if you will do this, then I will love you, or then I will accept you; if you do this, then I will bless you, or heal your land….or [fill in the blank].
***Our God is the God of lavish love and amazing grace.
God says, because I love you, I have redeemed you by the blood of my Son (John 3:16, Rom 5:8). And because you are my child, I will bless you according to my perfect ways and in my perfect time.
That’s not an “if you do (fill in the blank) / then I will bless you condition. It’s a “because I love you / I will bless you” promise. And in that case, God gets all the glory. He’s a loving Father who gives amazing, unconditional grace and exceedingly great blessings. He does not ask us to do something first (if you do…) to earn His love and blessings.
***Our God is the God of anchored hope and true comfort.
God says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man [or any worldly circumstance] shall do unto me” (Heb 13:5-6). Where is the hope in thinking that our blessings are conditioned on our performance? And our comfort (healing) comes as a result of something we have done? You might be thinking: But what about all the “if/then” propositions found in the Old Testament? It’s true, there were many, but…
The Church is NOT Israel
Second Chronicles 7:14 is one of those “if/then” propositions spoken about by the preacher/teacher/evangelist on the radio. It teaches a conditional blessing that God gave to the nation of Israel. The verse is a promise given to Solomon after he finished building the “house of the LORD” (2 Chron 7:11) and after God declared that He expected His house to be: “a house of sacrifice” (2 Chr 7:12) — animal sacrifices to atone for sins.
Because God knew the Israelites would not always be faithful, He told them to return to Him, and He would forgive them:
2 Chr 7:14 If my people [Israel under the Old Covenant], which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn [repent] from their wicked ways [sinful ways]; then [conditioned upon their seeking forgiveness] will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land [the land of Israel].
Note also that when God told the people to seek Him through humble prayer and repentance, He promised to heal their land in an agricultural sense. Read 7:14 in the context of the verse that precedes it:
2 Chr 7:13 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
2 Chr 7:14 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.
In our time, this verse is not used in the proper context. This is speaking about the agrarian healing of the land. This has nothing to do with Israel’s social, political, or economic conditions. And it’s not a promise for modern-day Israel or America.
But, But, It’s the Principle that Matters
I would agree there is a principle in this verse. But it’s seldom taught that way. It’s taught as an “if/then” promise conditioned on man’s efforts. A promise is made by one person (in this case, God) to a specific person or group of people (in this case, ancient Israel).
However, such a promise can teach a principle, but remember, a principle is not a promise. And while we can certainly learn from the promises God made to Israel, we must remember that not all Scripture is written TO us, or ABOUT us. But all Scripture is written FOR us:
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Never Read a Bible Verse
Always read the verses before and after. Never pull a verse out of context and make it say something it does not.
Preachers and teachers who make 2 Chronicles 7:14 a promise for America that “if we [Americans] humble ourselves and pray [hard enough], then God will forgive us and heal our land” are preaching legalism, conditional grace, and a prosperity gospel.
The House of the LORD
Back to the verse in context. The next verse tells that God not only expected His house (the Temple) to be a place of sacrifice (vs 11) but also a house of prayer:
2 Chr 7:15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attentive unto the prayer that is made in this place.
God also told how sanctified (holy) this house would be, and needed to be, because He would be there:
2 Chr 7:16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there forever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Then God reminded Solomon about what He expected of him. This is another “if/then” given to Israel:
2 Chr 7:17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
2 Chr 7:18 Then will I establish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
We don’t claim that “if/then” promise, so why would we claim the one that precedes it?
Now we come to another “if…then.” However, this one is not about blessing, i.e. stopping the drought or pestilence upon the land. This one is about the consequences of sin.
2 Chr 7:19 But if you turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
2 Chr 7:20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
We certainly don’t claim that “if/then” promise.
If Israel did not honor God, He would judge and punish them. Thereby, the consequences of their sin would serve as a testimony that He is God.
2 Chr 7:21-22 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to everyone that passes by it; so that he shall say, Why has the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
Just as 2 Chronicles 7:14 spoke of a blessing (healing the land) conditioned on repentance, verses 19-22 tell of consequences (rejection of the people and destruction of the Temple) conditioned on the people’s sins.
There were indeed many “if…then” propositions under the Old Covenant. God bestowed conditional blessings and conditional consequences on His people, Israel. And they were based on their works. But they were also for their good and for God’s glory. God wanted a people separate from the other nations and dependent on Him.
Blessings and Curses
Read the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy 28. We don’t claim those as promises, so why do we try to claim 2 Chronicles 7:14?
The answer is that we can make it say what we want it to. We want it to say God will heal America IF we profoundly humble ourselves, pray hard enough, and repent remorsefully. THEN God will forgive us (As Christians, that’s already been done when we came to faith in Jesus), THEN God will hear from Heaven (God always hears the cries of His children), and THEN He will heal our land —that is AMERICA. Seriously?
That takes a lot of Scripture “twisting” out of context to get such a message. And it teaches that God will give us what we want if we humble ourselves, seek God, and repent. Not true. God might not give us what we want when we do those things. But He is a good Father and will always give us what we need.
The Reality of Our Blessing — No Curses
As born-again Christians adopted into the family of God, we are God’s children. God loves us beyond what we can comprehend. He lavishes His blessings and gifts upon us — by His grace, not according to our works. Unlike Israel, there are no curses for us (Rom 8:1). But there are reprimands and reproofs to correct us and draw us back into a closer fellowship with our loving Father.
Our relationship with God is NOT an “if/then” proposition. “If you do this, I will bless you.” “If you do this, I will love you.” Or, “if you do this, I will accept you.” NO, NO, NO!!!
Our God says, because my Son died to pay for your sins and because He bought you and you are His, I will love you with unending love, bless you with unbounded hope, and give you unimaginable joy in this life and the next. That’s amazing GRACE! And that’s our PROMISE.
New vs. Old Covenant
Israel was under the Old Covenant with covenantal promises made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and King David. They were also given many laws and precepts to direct their lives. As Christians, we are under the New Covenant. The covenant mediated by the blood of Jesus.
Once again, this is important. All the promises and punishments of 2 Chronicles 7 were spoken to King Solomon for the people of Israel under the Old Covenant. None of the promises (or punishments) are for the Church (redeemed and regenerated Christians), who are fully forgiven, regenerated in rebirth, and securely sealed by the Spirit of Promise.
Claim the Promises for the Church
Under the New Covenant, we are promised eternal life, the Word of God, the joy of the Lord, the Lord’s presence with us, glory to come, and so much more. Yet, we are also promised to suffer, but not as judgment for our sins:
2 Tim 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Most Christians don’t want to claim that promise. But why not? If God allows suffering into our lives, we can be certain He will use it to grow and mature us in our faith and strengthen us in His love and power. How do we know this? Because we have this promise:
Heb 13:5-6 …[Jesus] has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
Properly Applying 2 Chronicles 7:14 to Christians
Remember, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16). So how should we understand 2 Chronicles 7:14?
2 Chr 7:14 If my people [As Christians, we are God’s people], which are called by my name [we belong to Jesus Christ], shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn [repent] from their wicked ways [we definitely should 1) humble ourselves, 2) pray, 3), seek God’s face, and 4) turn from our wicked ways];
Next comes the blessing that is conditioned on Israel’s humbling, praying, seeking, and turning:
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,
This can’t be about our positional standing in Christ because our sins are already forgiven. But we can apply it to our practical daily life in fellowship with Him. (Read: 1 John 1:9 What is the Christian “Bar of Soap?”)
Finally, how do we apply the healing of land?
and will heal their land [this cannot be applied to the land of America].
The work of healing America will take Christians with devoted hearts, renewed minds, and committed efforts to share God’s truths and His saving grace. By doing that, the hearts of unregenerate people can be turned to the only One who can heal their “land” — and that “land” is the “land” of the heart, mind, and soul.
The Christian “version” of 2 Chronicles 7:14, the promise for the Bride of Christ:
Phil 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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