If My People...
platform this guy would have to run on for re-election. From man's perspective,
he would be a shoo-in. Can't you just hear them chanting at the nominating
convention? Four more years! Four more years! And can't you just see the
posters all over Israel? Wouldn't you like to run on this record? Rating:
100% National deficit = $00.00
100% Unemployment = 0
100% Inflation rate = 0
100% Balance of trade? Perfect!
100% Standard of Living? Beyond human understanding.
100% International reputation? The nations are in awe.
100% Foreign Policy? War has become a thing of the
100% Percentage of administration's objectives met?
has been completed. The palace has been completed. The nations are at peace.
The economy is off the charts. Not only would we re-elect Solomon, we would put
his picture on all the bills, his image on all the coins, and his statue in
every park. There would be no way he could keep from being
You see, from
the world's perspective, here was the perfect man. His personal wisdom was an
international item. Kings and princes, as well as queens, laden with gifts from
afar, traveled to Israel just to bask in the fallout of his incredible mind.
Not only that, but now his religious convictions, once seemingly narrow and
unbending to the masses, had been “broadened” to reflect the mood of the nation
(and his many wives). No doubt, he had been acclaimed man of the year by
the National Council of Pagan Religions for his broad minded inclusion
of non-Jewish shrines and altars in the religious scheme of things.
“this guy will rule forever...” Wrong.
days are numbered.
You ask, “but
Israel is a theocracy, not a democracy. It is a peculiar people, a Holy Nation,
a nation called out from among the nations to be different... a nation called
out to BE GOD'S!! And though Solomon was riding the crest of man's
success, according to God's Gallup Poll, he has just lost the next election.
Not only that, but his successor would reap a harvest of defeats just because
of the compromises our man of the hour has made.
Solomon had decided to be all things to all people; though God
had called him to be one thing to all people: God's man, obeying God's Word,
energized by God's power period. When Solomon did that, he was invincible. When
he ceased doing that, Jehovah God in Heaven closed the book on his
administration, and withdrew the hedge he had built about his people, a hedge
that had kept the enemies of Israel encased in the armor of God's resistance.
In our last
study, we saw the fruits of Solomon's compromises. They were not political in
nature; they were spiritual in nature. And a Holy God took them personally, as
well He should have. Now the axe is about to fall and the nation is about to
feel the crushing onslaught of enemy armies once again. Only this time, they
will experience the cries of defeat, a sound not heard in Israel since a man
named Saul won the "Hypocrite of the Year" award while pretending to
be God's man.
Grew Old,” he turned his heart after other gods, the Scriptures tell us, and he
broke the heart of the One True God in the process. Now history proceeds, and
the Scripture proceeds to paint for us the fruits of rebellion as a dynasty
crumbles under the weight of idolatry.
It seems to
me that before we can close the book on this chapter of Israel's history,
however, and seal the Legend of Solomon with the binding of understanding, we
must take one last look at Solomon's walk with God and Solomon's final talk
with God, and search for at least a clue to a way of escape. We will search for
a solution, both personally and nationally, to the crushing dilemma of living
in defeat as a result of wrong choices of the past.
I- The Facts
In the last lesson, our objective was to see the
sad results of God's man taking five steps to spiritual suicide, taking a whole
nation down the road to ruin as he went. The facts are simple: Solomon sold out
to the enemy at the very height of his success story. While the plaudits of men
were still wringing in his ears, the respect of the nations still evident at
every turn, and the project he so longed to see completed was coming to its
grand conclusion, Solomon subtly sold out to Satan.
silver and gold, allowing his whole perspective of life to be altered by a
temporal value system. He multiplied horses and chariots, allowing his attitude
of total dependence on Jehovah to be transferred to an attitude of trusting in
the flesh. He multiplied to himself wives, foreign wives, the wives of those
nations roundabout, about whom God had warned 'thou shalt not intermarry with
them', allowing his heart to be drawn away from His God. Finally, he multiplied
gods to himself, daring to add the gods of this world to the one true God,
until he actually found himself worshiping in the enemy camp. Of course,
God had no choice but to do what he had promised He would do. He prepared to
remove the mantle of authority from Solomon's shoulders, and remove the barrier
of godly protection from His people, allowing the enemy to invade their homes
and destroy their freedoms.
grew old, the Scripture says, “his heart was not perfect towards his God, and
he began to worship the gods of this world.” Those are the facts. God was
angry, God was grieved, and God had no choice but to discipline his king and
But we musn't
leave Solomon with such a haunting symphony of hopelessness ringing in our
ears. God has judged His man and His people, and the consequences of
disobedience loom on the horizon in the form of storm clouds so dark we wonder
if ever the light will shine again. Satan would have us lose sight of the way
of escape that a loving God has always left to lead us back into
brilliance of His perfect will.
was about to be under judgment. But a gracious God still would be waiting to
open the heavens with showers of mercy the moment His children came to their
senses. God wants to be sure that His people understand that there is a way
of escape, so He appeared to Solomon one night and gave Him a message to give
to His chosen ones; a message you and I would do well to listen carefully to in
conversation is recorded in II Chronicles, chapter 7, beginning in verse 12.
Never has God more clearly described the issues and the answers to national and
personal rebellion than here. It was as though He were saying to Solomon;
"I have given you a choice... you are going to make the wrong choice, and
you are going to suffer the consequences. Let me assure you, however, there
is a way of escape." We will divide this look at God's marvelous road
back into two parts. Part one will be the trauma. Part two will be the triumph.
A) The Trauma
The trauma is
described in verses 12 and 13. The background of the passage ought to be
familiar to you. Solomon has just finished the temple, has had his moving
prayer of dedication, and God has responded by making His presence known. Verse
one of chapter seven begins this way:
1 Now when Solomon had made an
end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering
and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house.
2 And the priests could not
enter into the house of the LORD because the glory of the LORD had filled the
3 And when all the
children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon
the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the
pavement; and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For He is good; for His
mercy endureth forever.
At this point
in time, Solomon and all the people sacrificed to the LORD and celebrated until
the eighth day, when they all returned to their homes filled with joy and
gladness. This takes us back to where we were, and it is at this point where
God makes His final visit to Solomon. Verse 12 says this:
12 And the LORD appeared to
Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen
this place to myself for an house of sacrifice.
He is about
to repeat the limited conditions of His covenant once again, but first He makes
this amazing statement to Solomon:
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;
takes the paintbrush of stark reality and with one great sweep of His mighty
hand, He portrays with seemingly gruesome honesty, the background for the three
great kinds of traumas that can infest a person or a nation.
1- He says
what “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain”?
2- He asks
what “If I command the locusts to invade the land”?
3- He asks
what “If I send pestilence among my people”?
three haunting questions. And as always in Scripture, neither the sequence nor
the conditions themselves are without importance. God is here describing three
distinct kinds of tragedies that can overtake an individual or a group of
people or a nation, that will cause them to realize they are under the judgment
of God and seek reconciliation. He lists three different situations, similar
sounding on the surface, but decidedly distinct in both their cause and their manifestation.
First of all,
God asks the question, “What if I shut up heaven so that there is no rain?”
That's a question Elijah had to reckon with; and that's a question Joseph had
to reckon with. God is saying, “What if I choose to withhold blessings you
construe to be natural?” “What if your expectations of life turn out sour
because what you consider to be a blessing that God owes all of His
creation, He is actually withholding from you?” "What if something as
commonplace as rain ceases to be? What will you do?"
He even approaches the answer, He asks another question just as devastating. He
says, “What if I command the locusts to devour the land?” "What if I allow
the presence of visible affliction to destroy that which is all around you? What
if the “things” you hold so dear begin to crumble? What if the source of your
income disintegrates? What if God takes away from you as an individual, as a
church, as a people, as a nation, the very things you have construed to
be signs of His blessings? What would you do then?"
order now, God adds another theoretical blow to Solomon's mind. “What if I send
pestilence among my people?” In other words: "What if I not only withhold
blessings you construe to be deserved, and I not only allow the things you
cling to to perish as you watch, what if I go one step further? What if I
actually allow my judgment to touch you?" What if I send a
destructive blow that destroys you or your people, and possibly ends in death?
What then? In other words, Solomon, take the three logical steps to judgment.
The first would be not getting what you think you deserve. The second
would be losing that which you have come to enjoy. But the third is the
most awesome of all. That would be actually experiencing that which would
touch your own body, your own life, even that which would cause you to lose
thoughts... yet God had a reason for printing such a bleak picture in such
indelible ink. Israel was to experience all three. And all three would
be the result of the idolatry and rebellion of Solomon and his people. Now
several thoughts clamor for our attention as we embark on this study. One is
that obviously not all such occasions are the result of sin. Some are occasion
to glorify God. Sometimes, as with Elijah, God actually withheld natural
blessings in order to demonstrate supernatural power. Sometimes, as
with Paul, God will actually take away all that you are accustomed to enjoying,
in order to magnify the spiritual in relation to the physical. And
sometimes God will even touch the body and take the body, as in the case of
Stephen to glorify His power and magnify His grace in situations the
world cannot handle. No, God was not saying all withholding of
blessings, or all destruction of things, or all sickness or death was the
result of sin. What He was saying, however, as we shall see, is that when
it is, and you will know when it is, God has a marvelous solution.
is clear, that while these conditions and these solutions have obvious personal
applications, this portrait and these consequences are basically national in
nature. It was, as we shall see, not a series of promises made only to
Israel, though many Old Testament promises are. This was a corporate problem
with a corporate solution that could only be invoked by a particular group of
people. In this case, those people were God's people.
ought to be clear that nothing can come into our lives without God's permissive
will. God's message to Solomon was: “What if I...” or better still... “What if,
I in order to get your attention, I...”
Now that we
have seen the scenario, must we not ask, “Is there no solution?” Now that we
have seen the trauma, must we not seek to uncover the triumph? Is this
desperate plight of God's people a permanent condition? Is there no way of
escape? What about the children of Israel in years to come when they finally
would recognize that their plight was the result of their rebellion? Could they
return from whence they came? Could they enter again into the will of God?
verse gives the answer to that question. A loving God has only described the
disease so He can prescribe the cure. God has said, “IF these things happen...
and then IF”. (Look at verse 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.
threefold problem has a fivefold solution that offers a threefold blessing. Now
remember, nothing God says is inconsequential. Nothing. Therefore,
each part of this promise is vital. And remember, the fact that this
passage is familiar to you does not mean that you can take it lightly. It is
familiar because it is often quoted. It is often quoted because it is of
We will take
it one phrase at a time; one step at a time.
First of all,
God says, suppose as a nation or as a body you find yourself suffering from one
or more of the trials described in verse 13, and you know those trials are
the result of disobedience. What can you do?
There will be
five conditions that you must meet. Then there will be three things that God
will do. Let's take them one at a time.
You must be a qualified prayer.
To be a
qualified prayer you must be one of God's own. “Solomon”, God was saying,
"Here is the first prerequisite. If my people, which are called by
my name... “ Perhaps one of the most interesting truths found in
Scripture is the truth that the God of Eternity, the creator of Heaven and
Earth, the one who spoke the worlds into being, at a specified time in history,
called out a people unto Himself. That is, He selected one nation from among
all the nations, and literally adopted them into His eternal family, making
them a peculiar, distinct, set apart spiritual entity, each individual
distinctly His anointed, and the nation corporate, His called-out body to
represent Himself to the world.
people... Of all the people on the earth, only the Jews God called “my
people”. Jehovah Himself again and again referred to Israel as "my
people". In Exodus 3:7 God spoke and said “I have seen the
affliction of MY PEOPLE.” In Exodus 5:1, 7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 10:4, 9:17,
12:31, over and over Jehovah commanded Pharaoh to let my people go. In
the Book of Isaiah alone, over 24 times Jehovah refers to the
Israelites as “my people”.
records “comfort ye, comfort ye my people”
quotes God saying, “I was angry with my people”
In Jeremiah 2
He laments “my people have forgotten me”
adds, “I will give them a heart to know me and they shall be my people.”
repeats God's promise “I will be the God of all the families of Israel and they
shall be my people.”
message is a message for God's people, the Jews. Now you cannot simply take every
Old Testament promise made to the Jew and apply it to the church. Many
Old Testament promises were made specifically to the Jew and ended there. Some
were made to the Jewish nation in the latter days; some to only a certain
generation of Jews that lived at the time the promise was spoken.
promises, however, were written specifically to the “people of God”; the elect
of the family of God, and were meant to be claimed by the Jew until the time of
the gentiles was at hand, and once the age of the church was ushered in, these
promises were obviously given to each believer, or in some cases to all
In the case
of this promise, we know both from its context and its
application that it was written to whatever group could be accurately,
according to Scripture at any given time, referred to as the people of God.
9:22-26, Paul builds the bridge for us that allows the church to walk into the
sunlight of the promises written for God's people. Listen to Paul, speaking of
the opening of the family of God to the gentiles who trust in Christ:
22 What if God, although
willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much
patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
23 And He did so in order that
He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He
prepared beforehand for glory.
24 Even us, whom He also
called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
25 As He says also in Hosea.
“I will call those who were not my people, 'my people', and her who was not
26 And it shall be
that in the place where it was said to them, 'you are not my people' there they
shall be called sons of the Living God.
saying: “Now I have a new definition of who “my people” are. My
people are all people who name the name of Jesus. Paul writing about the church
in II Corinthians 6:16 added these words:
I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be
their God and they shall be my people.
So you and I
who have been born again into the family of God constitute those who are “his
people who are called by His name; the name that is above every name; the name
before which one day every knee will bow.”
was for Israel, and the promise is for us. But the promise is conditional...
oh, is it conditional. God is saying, when a nation or a people travel that
long, low road to idolatry until they literally vote God out of their national
conscience; until they begin to literally worship the gods of this world;
trusting in things, trusting in man's ability to save, trusting in treasure and
pleasure as their deliverers from the realities of sin and compromise. When
that happens... IF GOD'S PEOPLE (those called ones who bear His name, even the
name of His only begotten Son... IF GOD'S PEOPLE... or WHEN GOD'S PEOPLE meet
four basic requirements, heaven will touch earth!
horizon, so darkened by the clouds of judgment that hover over a rebellious
people will experience an eternal glow as the Glory of God breaks through the
haze of disobedience and floods a people once again with light and life and
hope. IF GOD'S PEOPLE... How can we not hang on every word that follows?
#1- IF YOU ARE GOD'S PEOPLE... that's you and me...
#2- HUMBLE YOURSELVES
And it is
time once again in history for God's people to humble themselves. To humble
yourself does not mean to disregard who you are and move about apologetically
as though being one of God's people were a passport to anonymity. No! No! No!
God's people have POWER. God's people have HOPE. God's people have DELIVERANCE!
We are the salt of the earth! Dare we apologize for that? We are the
light of the world! Dare we hide that light in embarrassment? No! That is
word translated “humble” in this passage has a literal meaning that affords a
better picture of what it is God has in mind. It means to be subdued; to be
brought low; to come under the subjection of another. It denotes the
bringing a proud or recalcitrant people or spirit into subjection. It is often
used in the military sense, of one being brought under the dominion or control
of another. It is a word that denotes one coming to the end of self and
throwing himself in reckless abandon at the feet of his God. It is an attitude
of deep remorse over sin; an attitude of deep regret over self-exaltation; an
attitude that cries out to God, “We are not the ones who can... we only belong
to the God who can.” It is the same word used in II Chronicles 34:27, where God
is speaking lovingly to His children.
27 Because thine heart was
tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words
against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself
before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard
thee also, saith the LORD.
was tender when they heard God's words. It was so tender that at the mention of
God's Holiness they perceived their wickedness and tore their clothes and wept
to be in the very presence of the Creator God of Eternity. That's humility.
Humility is absolute acknowledgment that apart from God ye can do nothing.
The church in
nearly every generation has reached a “Solomon” stage, a stage at which true
humility has been replaced by religious activity and self-serving religious
competition. We begin to be impressed with our contribution to the kingdom. We
begin to be awed by how many people we have, by how much money we have, by how
much power we have. Subtly, “things” begin to mean more to us than they ought
to... even in the church. Subtly, we begin to put our confidence in what we
can do for God, rather than in what God can do for us. Subtly, we begin to
build altars to the gods of this world... buildings, programs, people are
exalted until they are enshrined. Until those who would seek to know the King,
find men begging for money to build more shrines; promising things they cannot
do to make God palatable. The Church becomes arrogant, self satisfied,
self-seeking, self-serving... and all in the name of Jesus.
history has proved that the Church, like Solomon, simply cannot stand
prosperity. As soon as God blesses His people (which He delights in doing) they
begin to wallow in their own importance and lose their power...a power that is
fueled and ignited by an incredibly rare but valuable spark called “humility”.
It is time for we as God's own to humble ourselves. It's time for the church to
fall on its knees in absolute awe at who God is until it sees itself as it
is... absolutely nothing apart from Him. It is time for the Body of Christ to
be reminded once again that so long as we remain arrogant or self-sufficient, God
can do nothing for us, and nothing with us!
humbling ourselves is but the adoption of an attitude that precedes an activity.
For the activity to be acceptable, the attitude must be acceptable. The
attitude is humility... abandonment at the feet of a Holy God by a sinful
#3- The activity, once that
attitude has been assumed.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall
humble themselves... and pray.
translated “pray” here is a Hebrew word that is used 84 times in the Old
Testament, and can literally be rendered in any of the following ways:
1- To invoke
God as judge
2- To break
oneself; to be contrite (before God)
3- To settle
an account; to act as a mediator
4- To seek a
proper assessment of a matter
So we might
summarize the definition this way:
Position: Before God
Purpose: To invoke
God as Judge
Expectation: To seek the
answer to a problem, and seek to settle an issue by intercession.
then, is removing yourself from the bench as judge or from the throne as king,
falling on your face, helpless in the presence of the one who is the King
and the Judge.
Prayer is the
act of consciously appearing before the True Judge in that condition of
dependence, broken in spirit, acknowledging that He and He alone is LORD, and in
that spirit to ask Him to settle an issue or solve a problem.
definition, we don't pray much.
definition, there isn't much corporate prayer.
definition, there isn't much national prayer.
is not sinful man instructing a Holy God as to the state of His universe and
giving Him direction as to the best way to handle it. Prayer is not man
bringing God into harmony with man's will. Prayer is not the church ordering
God to do certain things, even if those things seem to be in harmony with what
God can or should do. Prayer is the church on its knees before God in a
spirit of deep contrition, seeking to determine what the mind of God is so
that we, the church, can come into harmony with HIS WILL.
When we as
believers, individually and corporately, recognize that we have strayed from
the absolute course of discipleship God outlined for us in Scripture; when we
come to see that we, like Solomon, have sold out to the gods of this world, and
in a state of deep grief over having missed the mark fall on our faces before a
Holy God and plead to be supernaturally cleansed and restored to that place of
absolute harmony with His purposes, seeking not to conform Him to our will, but
us to His... Beloved, then, we will have prayed.
#4- Pray and seek my face...
If my people, which are called by my name, shall
humble themselves, and pray... and seek my face...
“seek” used here means, “the earnest searching after something one believes to
exist. It denotes fervent, intense, diligent investigation. It is something
that would carry the highest priority... not to “seek” in the sense of casually
glancing around to see if something or someone was there. It means to “seek” as
one would seek for hidden treasure, or search for a lost child. It is a
self-abandoning search for someone or something so precious and priceless
nothing must prevent their finding it.
The word used
for “face” is a word the root of which is used 2100 times in the Old Testament.
It is that which identifies someone as distinct by reflecting the character or
the heart of that person. It also carries with it the connotation of a
face-to-face encounter, or a heart to heart meeting, as opposed to a casual
conversation. The Scripture tells us in Ps 4:6 that God's face “shines”. We read
in Jeremiah 3:12 that God's face “falls in anger”. We read in Psalm 13:1 of an
occasion where God “hides his face”. God's face is that which reflects his
character to man, even as your face is the billboard that advertises to the
world you meet who you really are.
So to seek
God's face is to remain before Him in absolute awe until you discern more of
His character than you knew before, so that you can respond by reflecting that
character in ever increasing splendor. It is so desiring to do His will that
you will stay before His face in absolute surrender until you know without a
doubt what His will is. It is staying in your garden of Gethsemane as long
as need be until your face reflects His face, and thus your character is but a
reflection of His. It is knowing God. And nothing short of that
level of encounter with the King will ultimately change our lives or change the
course of history. Beloved, knowing God has not become the grand
priority of the church in this generation. While we have more technology, more
psychology, and more theology than any generation before us, we seem to lack
one thing above all else. As a people, we simply do not know God.
Therefore, our technology is sterile, our psychology is humanistic, and our
theology is confused. No wonder we are seeing such an influx of the world's
mentality into the church.
If my people, which are called by my name, shall
humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face... and... (here is the
clincher)... and... turn from their wicked ways... THEN.
“turn” or “return” used here is the 12th most frequently used verb in the Old
Testament. It is used over 1,000 times...over 100 in the book of Jeremiah
alone. It is basically the act of consciously altering one's direction so that
whatever course they might have been on that was repugnant to God is immediately
rejected, and the course of that life instead becomes a path that leads directly
into the arms of God. To turn from evil is to stop practicing it. To
turn from evil is to renounce it. To turn from evil is to see it as God sees
it, and thus not be able to look upon it and God at the same time. So
here are God's prerequisites:
If my people, those who are my called apart ones,
those who bear my precious Son's name, shall see themselves for who they are:
wretched, desperate, needful, helpless apart from me," God says, "and
in that state of subjection shall call to me... not instructing me, but rather
beseeching me to give them my plan for their lives, and if, as they beseech my
will they behold my face... they reflect upon who I am until they become AS I
AM, and if, as they see me for who I am, they begin to see sin as it is... and
repudiate it, become repulsed by it, and flee from it to me... if that happens,
God is saying, true revival will (not may, but will) take place.
What is true
revival? It is characterized by three things. Then He will hear from
heaven and forgive their sins, and heal their land. The church will
have the ear of God. The church will have the Holiness of God. The church will
have the blessings of God. There will be such answered prayer a whole nation;
yea a whole world will begin to respond to the things of the Spirit because the
Spirit of God will have taken control of the Body of God. God will hear from
Heaven and Heaven and Earth will tremble.
there will be such a return to holiness the church will stand apart once again
as forgiven sinners rather than as self-righteous do-gooders. Once again we
will begin to see sin for what it is; we will begin to see sin as God sees it;
and we will hate it in us, in the church, and in the world. But we will have
power, or we will be forgiven and know it. A moral cleansing in the midst of an
immoral world. Clean lights in a world that is covered by a haze of filth and
characterized by a standard of morality so degenerate we cannot even stand to
look upon it, much less enjoy it.
there will be a healing of our land. Physically, morally, spiritually,
emotionally, the disease of sin will be arrested by the powerful penicillin of
righteousness and those things which have come about as a result of that sin
will be eradicated leaving a wholeness and a holiness not experienced for
sweet smell of the rain of God's mercy will overcome us and overtake us once
again. The locusts of satanic control that have so eaten into the fiber of our
very being will be swept in one magnetic motion into the incinerator of God's
blazing power. The pestilence that has corrupted and infected the Body of God's
people will be driven from us by the powerful antibiotic of Holiness, and once
again the world will be able to look at us and... SEE HIM!
will return to its place at the center of life, making history rather than
responding to it. Christians will once again be characterized by the godliness
of their lives rather than by the peculiarity of their theology. The church
will become known once more for what it GIVES AWAY rather than for what it is
ASKING FOR. We will no longer be holding on to the ropes that surround the ship
of life fearing, lest we fall into the raging deep, it will be said of us, as
it was said of our spiritual ancestors... “these are those who have turned
the world upside down.”
message God gave to Solomon that darkened night just after He had so astounded
the nation with His presence at the dedication of the temple. The message was:
"Solomon you have a choice... and thus the nation has a choice. You are
going to choose wrongly. You already have, and the nation you serve will suffer
with you. But Solomon, there is a way of escape!"
For 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 Solomon, I will hear from Heaven, and forgive their sins, and heal
saying: "Any time my people come back into harmony with my plan and my
purposes, and thus become once again, infused with my power, at any time
that happens heaven will touch earth again, God will be exalted again.
Sin will be judged again. Lives will come aglow again, and the whole world will
stand in awe again, as the Shekinah Glory of God in the form of His Holy Spirit
flows through lives and floods this weary, sin-torn world again with light
happens, the church won't have to advertise for visitors. The church won't have
to spend its millions building buildings to attract the world. The church will
simply have to be the light it has become. And like a lighthouse
rotating its lifesaving beams to any and all who might be perishing in a sea of
darkness, it will draw men and women who are seeking; and it will seek men and
women who are dying. That is the nature of light.
The church of
the LORD Jesus Christ was never meant to be a self-contained “comfort zone” to
which its elite, select membership escape to avoid the realities of the world.
The church was meant to be a dynamic explosive, placed in the midst of that
world to be the channel through which that world sees God. When the church is
on its knees, humbled before God, seeking His face, penitent over sin, pleading
for renewal, its power makes the nuclear bomb likened to a cap pistol.
To say that
we live in a world where heaven is shut up and the locusts are invading the
land, and pestilence is infecting mankind, is a gross understatement to be
sure. We live in Solomon's day. And even in the church there is ringing from
the belfries of the very citadels of our hope the sound of futility and fear
rather than anthems of victory and triumph.
I believe God
is saying to us; “Wake up Christians, you are not here to reflect the mood of
the world, you are here to restore my mind to the world. Yes, mankind is
drowning in its own sin.”
BUT. IF My
people, (that's us) who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and
pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways...
will hear from heaven. I still will forgive their sins. And I still will
heal their land.
I will do!” (says God looking at us).
people... those who are mine
says, will only resign
to yielding wholly to me
trusting... oh, what they'll see
they'll learn yet humbly to pray
heart, oh, what a new day
Will dawn as
they rise and turn from their sin
new power; cleansed from within
I'll hear them; New life I will give
them with mercy; I long to forgive
once again the might of my hand
compassion I'll heal all their land
If only my
people, says God once again
unto me and repent of their sin
I will love
them and heal them; I mean what I say
IF only... IF
only... my people will pray
FOR ADDITIONAL STUDY
1- Do a study
of the times in Israel's history when God allowed the heavens to dry up s that
there was no rain.
similarities do you find? What do you think are the key reasons God allows
“natural blessings” to cease flowing into the life of an individual or a
2- Take a
concordance and look up the words “humble” and “humility”. Using the contest in
which they are found, and the definitions in this study, do a topical study of
this vital character quality. Here are some keys:
Biblical characters who exhibited this quality.
What did they
all have in common? What did their ministries have in common?
Biblical characters who did not exhibit this quality. Look for common causes
and effects. Remember: “These things were written for our admonition.”
C- Look for
synonyms for “humility” and add those verses to your list.
D- List the
Biblical commands concerning humility.
E- Do a check
list on your own life, seeking confirming counsel from others concerning how
humble you really are. Set a goal to learn to approach God with humility.
3- Go back
and review what is meant by “seeking God's face”. How much of your life has
been spent studying the character of God and beholding his face?
4- Take one
quality of God’s character (such as His omnipotence, or His omniscience, or His
perfect love) and take that quality for one month as a project, both to learn
about and worship Him for. Make it a topic of discussion and praise in your
praying for national and international revival. Ask God to make you willing to
meet the requirements of II Chronicles 7.
Verses To Study
II Samuel 7:8
Called By My Name
I Kings 8:16-17
I Peter 5:5
II Chronicles 6:21,30
I John 1:9