1 Chronicles 7:12-22 (NKJV): Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, Why has the Lorddone thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’ ”
I’d like to lift up a familiar verse, verse 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This verse is probably the most well-known and best-loved verse in Second Chronicles in the account of God’s second appearance to Solomon in 1 Kings 9:1-9, and this passage also records God’s second appearance to Solomon.
In 1 Kings 9:1-9 message this passage is not mentioned. However, this verse, verse 14, perhaps more than any other verse in all scripture, mentions the stipulations for Israel to experience God’s blessings. A two-fold condition, with a threefold result, is extended to God’s chosen people (those called by His name).
If they will humble themselves (turn from their sin) and seekHis face in prayer, then God will hear, forgive, and heal.
Humble is defined as in Strong’s concordance #8213: To make low, depress, sink, lower, debase, set in a lower place, lay low, descend, humble, abase, bring down, or make low. Two examples in scripture that speaks of the importance of being humble is the irony of Proverbs 29:23, “A man or woman’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” In Psalm 113:6, God, who dwells on high, humbles Himself to watch what is occurring in heaven and on Earth.
One of my mother’s mottos: “The humbled child tastes the grace of God. Stay humbled.”
In 2 Chronicles, chapter 6, Solomon asked God to make provisions for the people when they sinned. God answered with four conditions for forgiveness (1) humble yourselves by admitting your sins, (2) pray to God, asking for forgiveness, (3) seek God continually, and (4) turn from sinful behavior. True repentance is more than talk – it is changed behavior. Whether we sin individually or as a group or Church members, or as a nation - - - the United States of America - - - following these steps will lead to forgiveness. God will answer our sincere, earnest prayers.
When God tells us to turn from our sin He is telling us to repent. Repentance is a decision that results in a change of mind, which in turn leads to a change of purpose and action. When you truly repent from a certain action you truly sorry for what you did and you will not do that particular action any more. Repentance is described more with reference to action than to feelings. We should turn away from unrighteousness and turn to or return to God so that there may be a radical change in our lives.
When we are in need, there may be no one with whom we can talk, or we may be afraid to share our need with another person. God assures King Solomon that he will not lack assistance when he come to God in humility, seeking help. God promised to listen to every prayer prayed or offered in the right attitude. God is always available.
God explicitly placed certain conditions in place for Solomon to meet if he wanted the kingdom to continue. If King Solomon followed God, he and his descents would prosper. If Solomon did not, he and the nation would be destroyed. Obedience brings blessings. Disobedience brings curses and God’s judgment.
The presence of God’s glory in the temple and the coming of fire from heaven to consume the sacrifices assured King Solomon that his prayer had been heard and was accepted by God.
But that would eventually change. God gave Solomon His Word, “the word of the Lord endures forever.” (1 Peter 1:25).
The Lord appeared to Solomon and spoke the word that he needed to hear. God assured King Solomon that He had heard his prayerand would answer it. His eyes would be on the temple King Solomon had built and dedicated, and His ears would be alert to hear the prayers of His people.
The people and their king had dedicated the house or temple to the Lord, but now God would sanctify the temple and make it His own. It’s amazing how this temple was not considered God’s until it was sanctified and dedicated unto the Lord God. God’s name was on the house. God’s eyes were watching and His ears were listening.
The eyes of the Lord are watching everything that is going on and the ears of the Lord are listening to everything that’s being said. Therefore, we have to be careful of what we think, what’s in our hearts, what we say and what we do.
As we continue to go through this pandemic called COVID-19 caused by the coronavirus, there is still so much uncertainty. These are unprecedented times. We are going to have to make life changing decisions as to whether or not we’re going to give God all of us and surrender all to God or continue to straddle the fence and disobey God. In reality there is no straddling the fence; either you’re obeying God or disobeying God.
It’s almost like the children of Israel who found themselves wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.
They found themselves at a turning point where they needed to make a decisive change. All or nothing. The challenges on this journey called life confronts us all and no one can cancel his or her appointment with the trouble because the trouble you run from over here will follow you over there.
We are either just coming out of a story or troublesome situation, in the midst of a troublesome, life-altering situation, or just coming out praying that we passed the test with God and that we do not have to take that test again.
We have to repent of whatever caused us to go into that troublesome situation and commit never to go back to it. We have to lift our eyes to the hills from which all of our help comes, all of our help comes from the Lord.
In conclusion: We must repent and give God all of us, everything. Do you want to be blessed or cursed?