“I have heard your prayer . . . if My people, who are called by My name, 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
It was the most magnificent structure in the Middle East, perhaps in the world at that time. King Solomon built the first permanent Temple to God, one that his father David had longed to build but God said, “No.” It took seven years to complete with the conscripted labor of 150,000 of the indigenous population, plus 10,000 workers from the tribes of Israel who were employed on a four month rotation basis.
The Temple was dedicated by Solomon between the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles. These were the holy days when almost all of Israel would be in Jerusalem to fulfill God’s Commandment from the Law to attend these major feasts. As the ceremony began, the Ark of the Covenant was brought from the City of David to the new Temple to be placed in the Holy of Holies. Then came the rest of the priests and the Levitical choirs singing, “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136). Then “the glory of the LORD filled the temple” (2 Chronicles 7:1).
Then God spoke.
If My people who are called by My name, humble themselves . . .
This may surprise you but the word “if” is used over 1500 times in the Bible. Most of the time it is an introduction to a statement of conditions. When it is joined with the word, “then” it implies that something will happen as a result when those conditions are met. In this case . . . If we will, then God will!
In this powerful promise that God spoke to Solomon at the conclusion of the dedication of His first temple in Jerusalem, the LORD states the conditions of receiving His favor: Humility, prayer, seeking God,and repentance. The results? God will hear, God will forgive and God will heal.
and pray and seek My face . . .
First of all, we have to pray. The Bible says, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). It’s like God places this banquet table of blessings and everything we need in this life before us, and He says, “Just come before Me and ask. I want to bless you, I want to meet your needs, and I want you to be successful and full of joy.”
and turn from their wicked ways . . .
Let’s face it once and for all church. If I may borrow from the lyrics of that popular classic Nat King Cole song of yesteryear, it’s time for us to “straighten up and fly right.” I have counseled so many people over my many years as a pastor (including myself) who want God’s blessings in life but they don’t want to give up their sinful ways and be obedient to Christ’s commands (John 15:9-10).
then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.
That’s what God did when we came to Jesus Christ. We heard the message of His forgiveness and He heard our prayer of repentance and we received His free gift of grace and He healed our lives. He saved us for all eternity. He will do the same today for our nation.
When God’s people pray, things begin to happen. That was God’s promise to Solomon then and that’s His promise to us today. But what does it take? I believe God has given us the outline for prayer in this beautiful passage. How about you? Maranatha!