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If My People...

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Then I Will Hear...

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  Then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

Now comes the good part: God’s promises for those who put 2nd Chronicles 7:14 into action.
Our tendency can be to glaze over “hearing” and “forgiving,” and zero in on “healing,” but each of these promises offers wonderful blessings.  

Being heard by God comes first.

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
James 4:3-4

In the process of humbling, praying, seeking, and turning, hopefully our motives and desires have been purified and refined to the point where we are now God’s friend.  If our nation continues on its current path to destruction; those of us who are His friends can be at peace, even during turmoil. We can lose everything as Job, Christ, or Paul did, yet if we have the Lord, we will find that He is more than enough.

Once we come to the place where “the stuff” means nothing and He is everything, we’re closer to living out the greatest commandment than ever before. God hears us because our requests come from a heart that’s submitted to and in love with Him.

If God hears you, it is because you are His friend. What an awesome gift.

Let’s examine God’s second promise by reading the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today."  So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a 'sinner.' " But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."  Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

What impacted Zacchaeus so powerfully that he became willing to give away half his possessions and promise to pay anyone he’d cheated fourfold? 

Although we don’t know the details of Jesus’ conversation with Zacchaeus, I believe that at some point Jesus spoke the same words to Zacchaeus that He did to the quadriplegic in Luke 5:20: “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”

In Jesus’ day, Jewish tax collectors were given the task of extracting revenue for the Roman Empire. As if the public’s disdain of paying taxes to a foreign occupier wasn’t enough, the tax collectors poured gasoline on the fire by adding a “processing fee” for themselves. Since Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector, he would have raked it in from those he supervised.

I can’t help wondering if Zacchaeus was miserable, even ashamed. Sin almost works in the beginning, but in time the burden gets heavy. Perhaps Zacchaeus wondered if he had gone so far that there was no chance for a new life, or anything that remotely looked like redemption.  

Then, the Son of God invites him to dinner! Instead of condemnation or a stern lecture, there’s acceptance and kindness. Jesus forgave Zacchaeus for all of his sins… just as He does for us:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 
Colossians 2:13-14

Zacchaeus must have hit the roof with joy; he had been released from the insurmountable weight of his sin by the Son of God.

We sometimes forget how precious God’s forgiveness is. Without it, there’s no hope; judgment, condemnation, and torment would be our eternal destiny. Instead, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross opened the door wide to a treasure trove of blessings, not the least of which is the joy of knowing God.

God’s forgiveness is a sign of His love (John 3:16). When a man who understands the depths of his depravity (as Zacchaeus must have) receives the love and acceptance of God, it revolutionizes his life.

Thus, the second promise of 2nd Chronicles 7:14 is a package that contains the love of God, hope, freedom from sin and shame, and the abundant life Christ promised (John 10:10).

Now we come to the third promise—the healing of our land.

I believe we’re in the last days; a period when Jesus said would include wars, famines, earthquakes, false prophets, an increase of wickedness, and “the love of many growing cold” (see Matthew 24). He also said that the gospel would be preached throughout the world right before the end. Today this is unfolding before our eyes.

I can only offer a guess of what the healing of our land might look like (disclaimer: I am not a prophet and make no pretense of speaking for God):

* Revival takes place in pockets of the church. Christians start making Jesus lord in waves.

* As more Christians spend less money on sin and themselves, “sin businesses” see their profits shrink. Some go out of business.

* As churches catch fire, more are led to Christ.

* As we submit ourselves to God in obedience and humility, He uses more of us for His purposes. Some are sent to a mission field. (“A mission field” could be local; it doesn’t have to be another country.)

* The church shines brighter than before and now becomes the lighthouse it is meant to be.

This could be a bigger part of God’s purpose, and might not look like we expect. Just as Gideon’s army was thinned down from 30,000 to 300, so the Lord might thin the church down to those who are serious about their relationship with Him. If we put forward a challenge to the church to take up the 2nd Chronicles 7:14 project, there will be those who balk at humbling, praying, seeking, and turning, and look for another comfort zone to curl up in. Who knows but that the Lord might be waiting for us to obey 2nd Chronicles 7:14 so He can forge those who truly love Him into a tool fit for His purposes?

In the last days, the heat is going to get turned up higher on those who follow Christ.

Now is the time to prepare for battle. 

Let's look at how your church can put the 2nd Chronicles 7:14 Project into action.

   
©Copyright 2013 Mike Genung
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