Today we are continuing along in Chronicles, jumping into the second book, II Chronicles 7. This one is a pretty packed-full chapter starting out with God showing up in a consuming fire, His glory filling the newly dedicated temple, and ending with a stern warning to Israel regarding rejection of Him and the resultant consequences.
Pausing, at verse 14, I’ll tell you that I have had a song stuck in my head ever since reading this one.
“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”
If you can’t guess the song, I am assuming you have not heard the song “If My People”, and would encourage you to check it out if you are not familiar. While it stresses the old vocal cords (at least the version in the trusty brown hymnal) unless you are a canary, it is beautiful both in music and message in my opinion. Though at times I think this verse is misused and tossed around out of context with various patriotic images, it provides such beautiful reminders taken in context. We are called by God. Called to humility, prayer, and seeking of His will and ways. Called to repentance when we fall and returning to our Father when we’ve strayed. We can always repent, call on His name, turn back to Him, and we are given Israel as an example time and time again.
This chapter also reminds us of the very important covenant God made with David. A ruler in Israel. A royal throne to be continued. And despite the years of mistakes and consequences to come after God’s reminders to Solomon, He did not forget his covenant. And this is what makes the Old Testament so essential to understand the way God works and the New Testament stories. Jesus didn’t just show up one day and claim he was God’s son. Years of history, promises, and prophecies such as the ones in this chapter lead up to the gift of the Messiah and the promise of an eternal kingdom without pain, sin, or tears.
“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, to do according to everything that I have commanded you, and keep My statutes and My ordinances, then I will establish your royal throne as I covenanted with your father David, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to be ruler in Israel.” (2 Chronicles 7:17-18)
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- What four attitudes and actions are God’s people to do for God to hear, forgive and heal their land? (2 Chronicles 7:14). Why each of the four? What grade would you receive in each of the four? How can you improve in each?
- And on the flip side, what options are available for the people (verse 19)? If the people act in this way, what will God do (verses 20-22)? Those were rather specific consequences, which indeed came to pass centuries later. What consequences might God consider for these actions in our day?
- How would you describe true repentance? When have you experienced this in the past? Is there anything you currently need to repent of? If you aren’t sure, ask God to show you, then repent.
- How can you help the people of God remember the important lessons of this chapter?