Wednesday, August 29, 2007

If my people

Perhaps one of the most well known, and probably most quoted verses of scripture among Christians today would be 2 Chronicles 7:14, 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

If found it interesting to read the verses (and the chapter) that surround it, Verse 13,"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... Verse 14, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray...
I found myself reading verses 13 and 14 together a number of times over, and as I did my understanding of verse 14 went to a new place. I know that it clearly says '...and turn from their wicked ways...' a direct reference to us, the church, 'if my people', but perhaps my initial revelation was that I've always approached this verse from an intercessory perspective (kind of an Ezekiel 22:30 concept) but that changed (or perhaps evolved to a new place) for me today.

We know that when the people of Israel took possession of the promised land there were still some Canaanites to be overcome, or, some 'giants to be conquered'!
Perhaps their greatest challenge was around the influence of the Canaanite religious culture, and in particular its relationship between the weather and the ability for the ground, of which they worked, to produce a life sustaining harvest.

In verse 13 I believe that the Lord was making it very clear again to His people, that He is the God not just of the Hebrew people, but of the whole earth, including the weather, the rain, the sun, the locusts and the harvest.

So the revelation for me was this; God was directly relating their life inside the temple (church) to their life outside of the church, i.e. Don't live a compromised, faithless, idolatrous life out there looking to else where when things don't make sense, and then come on in and present a bunch of ritualistic sacrifices out of fear and routine. But when times are tough (and they will be according to verse 13), when the world throws you a curved ball, don't turn to what you see the world turning to, turn to me. You are my people, so live like your my people outside the temple (church) as well as when your inside the temple (church)!

Verse 15, Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.

Then our intercession has power, because when God heals the land, His answer to our prayer has direct impact on the people of the world, because they share the land with us.

Verse 19-22, "But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?' People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why he brought all this disaster on them.' "

According to Lieutenant Dave Collinson...'just a thought'.

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