VERSE OF THE DAY
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
If Believers and non believers the same who are called by my name Jesus the son of God shall humble themselves in repentance and pray if they shall seek my face and remove the sin in their lives turning from their wicked ways I will claim message from God in the kingdom of heaven and will forgive their wickedness and sins and restore and rebuild their land.
Originally published July 3, 2015
Is 2 Chronicles 7:14 God’s promise to American Christians today?
“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
This verse is often quoted as a call to prayer and revival for American Christians, suggesting that if we pray, repent, and humble ourselves, God will turn America around and make it “one nation under God” again. Since it’s 4th of July week, you’ve probably been seeing this verse in your news feeds, but is it really a promise to us today about America?
Not this particular verse, no. Here’s why:
1. This verse is only part of a sentence (you can tell by the way it starts with a lowercase letter). In order to rightly handle God’s word (2 Timothy 2:15), it’s imperative that we consider a verse’s immediate context as well as the way it fits in with the big picture of the entire Bible. Even adding just verses 13 and 15 shows us that this verse was written about Old Testament Israel, not America. Reading all of chapter 7 sheds even more light on this verse, and if we throw in chapter 6, especially 6:26-31, we can clearly see that 7:14 is part of God’s specific answer to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple.
2. There are no supporting Scriptures in the New Testament (remember, Believers are in the church era under the new covenant of grace) that imply that if Christians humble themselves and repent that God will give them a nation governed by biblical laws and leaders and that we will have a society that behaves itself, morally. In fact, in the New Testament, in the early church, we see the exact opposite. The more the church prayed, humbled itself, and spread the gospel, the more Rome persecuted Christians. And yet, we never hear of them claiming 2 Chronicles 7:14 as God’s promise to them that He would turn things around if they would only humble themselves and seek His face more. The New Testament, even Jesus Himself, says that we will be persecuted for godly living (John 15:20, Matthew 10:22, 2 Timothy 3:12-13).
3. We can’t claim the promise without claiming the punishment. Look again at verse 13. It specifies that the agricultural hardships of drought, locust infestation, and pestilence are the ones that God promises to heal. It is a promise of literal healing of the land so that crops will grow unharmed, game will be plentiful, and people will be able to eat, not a promise of a metaphorical “healing” of a nation’s immorality.
If we claim that this “healing of the land” applies to us today, then we also have to claim that God will punish our disobedience with those very things He promises to heal (drought, locusts, and pestilence), because that’s what these verses are talking about.
4. The reason this passage sounds like it applies to us is because there are some principles in this verse that do apply to us. How do we know? Because they are supported by other clear and direct Scriptures:
Are we God’s people who are called by His name”? Yes (Acts 11:26)
Should we humble ourselves? Yes (1 Peter 5:6)
Should we pray and seek God’s face? Yes (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Should we turn from any wicked ways we practice? Yes (Acts 3:19)
Will God hear from Heaven if we do these things? Yes (1 John 5:14-15)
Does God promise to heal our land of bad morals or the agricultural problems He has punished our disobedience with if we do these things? No.
Asking God to fulfill His promises and thanking Him for those already fulfilled is a wonderful and worshipful way to pray. But, if we truly want to pray “in the name of Jesus” and pray rightly for God’s will to be done, we must use wisdom, discernment, and the tools God has given us to discover exactly what He has promised us.
For further reading:
Properly Praying the Promises by Michelle Lesley
What is the meaning of 2 Chronicles 7:14? at Got Questions?
The Most Shared Verses in Their Context (2 Chronicles 7:14) at Borrowed Light
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.
2 Chronicles 7:14. If my people shall humble themselves, and pray, &c. — Thus national repentance and reformation are required. God expects, that if his people, who are called by his name, have dishonoured his name by their iniquity, they should honour it by accepting the punishment of their iniquity. They must humble themselves under his hand, must pray for the removal of the judgment, must seek his face and favour: and yet all this will not be sufficient, unless they turn from their wicked ways, and return to him from whom they have revolted. National mercy is then promised, Then will I hear from heaven, &c. — God will first forgive their sin, which brought the judgment upon them, and then will heal their land, and redress their grievances.
What Does 1 Chronicles 7:14 Mean? ►
The sons of Manasseh were Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead.
1 Chronicles 7:14(NASB)
As Church-age believers we have the incredible privilege of access to the throne of grace for mercy to find help in time of need. Prayer for ourselves, our families, our leaders and nation.. and intercession for the lost is important – but it is also vital to understand the Bible in its correct historical context. And this verse is often quoted outside its true Biblical setting.
These were words spoken by the great king Solomon who built a magnificent Temple for Lord.. and in the company of God’s chosen people-Israel, he prayed that God would be faithful to keep the unconditional covenant that He made with his father, king David. God honoured his prayer and accepted the sacrifices that king Solomon offered.. fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple.
But Solomon had failed to reference the conditional covenant that God had made with Israel at Sinai.. through their great leader Moses, where blessings would result from Israel’s obedience and faithfulness.. but curses would result from their disobedience and apostasy. And so we read that in a night-time vision, God appeared to His servant Solomon and gave the king the following warning for Israel: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice: when I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people… then: if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land…
God also told Solomon that Israel’s disobedience would result in loss of their peace.. their freedom; their land and their Temple. Indeed the Lord continued to explain to Solomon: “but if you turn aside and forsake My statutes and My commandments, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land – the land that I have given them. And this Temple which I consecrated for My name, will be cast out of My sight – and I will make it an object of scorn among all nations.’
God told Solomon that He would honour the unconditional promises He made to both David and Abraham as well as the conditional covenant, which was made through Moses – but if the nation failed to honour their covenant promises to God, (made through Moses and re-established at Solomon’s Feast of Dedication) – then the nation of Israel would forfeit their peace, be uprooted from their land – and their Temple would be cast out of God’s sight.
It was to Israel that the promise of God’s never-ending and unconditional faithfulness to His people was confirmed.. at the Feast of Dedication. But it was also to Israel that God gave His warning of bitter calamity, which would befall the entire nation if they did not honour the conditional covenant that God originally made with Israel through Moses – and which God Himself confirmed during Solomon’s night-time visitation and warning.
When the Word of God is not read in context it is easy to misunderstand it true meaning and purpose. Certainly we should humble ourselves and pray – indeed Christians are exhorted in the New Testament to: humble yourselves before the mighty hand of God and to pray without ceasing. Certainly we should seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways in the power of the indwelling holy Spirit.. as we die to self daily and live to God, for His praise and glory.
Certainly we should intercede for our world leaders, governments, nations and lost souls – indeed we are urged to make entreaties to the Lord through prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, on behalf of all men – and Paul specifically mentioned kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity – and certainly we should
What is the meaning of 2 Chronicles 7:14?
“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, ESV).
The key to understanding any verse of Scripture is context. There is the immediate context—the verses before and after it, as well as the larger context of Scripture—how the verse fits into the overall story. There is also the historical and cultural context—how the verse was understood by its original audience in light of their history and culture. Because context is so important, a verse whose meaning and application seem straightforward when quoted in isolation may mean something significantly different when it is taken in context.
When approaching 2 Chronicles 7:14, one must first consider the immediate context. After Solomon dedicated the temple, the Lord appeared to him and gave him some warnings and reassurances. “The Lord appeared to him at night and said: ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.’ 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 7:12–14).
The immediate context of 2 Chronicles 7:14 shows that the verse is tied up with Israel and the temple and the fact that from time to time God might send judgment upon the land in the form of drought, locusts, or pestilence.
A few verses later God says this: “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. This temple will become a heap of rubble. 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 ancestors, 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’” (2 Chronicles 7:19–22).
No doubt Solomon would have recognized this warning as a reiteration of Deuteronomy 28. God had entered into a covenant with Israel and promised to take care of them and cause them to prosper as long as they obeyed Him. He also promised to bring curses upon them if they failed to obey. Because of the covenant relationship, there was a direct correspondence between their obedience and their prosperity, and their disobedience and their hardship. Deuteronomy 28 spells out the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience. Again, divine blessing and divine punishment on Israel were conditional on their obedience or disobedience.
We see this blessing and cursing under the Law play out in the book of Judges. Judges chapter 2 is often referred to as “The Cycle of the Judges.” Israel would fall into sin. God would send another nation to judge them. Israel would repent and call upon the Lord. The Lord would raise up a judge to deliver them. They would serve the Lord for a while and then fall back into sin again. And the cycle would continue.
In 2 Chronicles 7, the Lord simply reminds Solomon of the previous agreement. If Israel obeys, they will be blessed. If they disobey, they will be judged. The judgment is meant to bring Israel to repentance, and God assures Solomon that, if they will be humble, pray, and repent, then God will deliver them from the judgment.
In context, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a promise to ancient Israel (and perhaps even modern-day Israel) that, if they will repent and return to the Lord, He will rescue them. However, many Christians in the United States have taken this verse as a rallying cry for America. (Perhaps Christians in other countries have done so as well.) In this interpretation, Christians are the people who are called by God’s name. If Christians will humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face, and repent, then God will heal their land—often a moral and political healing is in view as well as economic healing. The question is whether or not this is a proper interpretation/application.
The first problem that the modern-day, “Westernized” interpretation encounters is that the United States does not have the same covenant relationship with God that ancient Israel enjoyed. The covenant with Israel was unique and exclusive. The terms that applied to Israel simply did not apply to any other nation, and it is improper for these terms to be co-opted and applied to a different nation.
Some might object that Christians are still called by God’s name and in some ways have inherited the covenant with Israel—and this may be true to some extent. Certainly, if a nation is in trouble, a prayerful and repentant response by Christians in that nation is always appropriate. However, there is another issue that is often overlooked.
When ancient Israel repented and sought the Lord, they were doing so en masse. The nation as a whole repented. Obviously, not every single Israelite repented and prayed, but still it was national repentance. There was never any indication that a small minority of the nation (a righteous remnant) could repent and pray and that the fate of the entire nation would change. God promised deliverance when the entire nation repented.
When 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applied to Christians in the U.S. or any other modern nation, it is usually with the understanding that the Christians in that nation—the true believers in Jesus Christ who have been born again by the Spirit of God—will comprise the righteous remnant. God never promised that if a righteous remnant repents and prays for their nation, that the nation will be saved. Perhaps if national repentance occurred, then God would spare a modern nation as He spared Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah (see Jonah 3)—but that is a different issue.
Having said that, it is never wrong to confess our sins and pray—in fact, it is our duty as believers to continuously confess and forsake our sins so that they will not hinder us (Hebrews 12:1) and to pray for our nation and those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1–2). It may be that God in His grace will bless our nation as a result—but there is no guarantee of national deliverance. Even if God did use our efforts to bring about national repentance and revival, there is no guarantee that the nation would be politically or economically saved. As believers, we are guaranteed personal salvation in Christ (Romans 8:1), and we are also guaranteed that God will use us to accomplish His purposes, whatever they may be. It is our duty as believers to live holy lives, seek God, pray, and share the gospel knowing that all who believe will be saved, but the Bible does not guarantee the political, cultural, or economic salvation of our nation.