“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 7:14 NIV
Dear Heavenly Father – Please help us understand and practice the principles you are sharing with us today. Help give us the ability to obey and protect us from anything hindering your work in our lives. Again we plead for you to open our eyes to see, open our ears to hear and open our understanding. – Amen
Isn’t everyone, everywhere, pulling this verse out of the Bible and sharing it right now? I hear them saying – look at this mess we are in; the fix is simple – just pray and God will make it all better and we can go back to the way it was [we were comfortable there]. I keep saying – this isn’t the right verse for what you want. I keep saying this isn’t the right verse for our present situation. Our present situation is entangled with a few Bible prophesies – and Jesus said, “Prophesy must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).
We are drawing ever closer – and the entire world, the land of Israel, and whatever nation you are in – together, we are all moving slowly forward, unable to go back. I am not a prophet and I hope my big picture understanding is wrong. I see the awakening, revival, and prodigals returning and that we have just started to see everywhere (it doesn’t take a prophet to look around and observe this). And this is not going to be a united people in the sense of it being a nation that comes together – more like the Lord’s Kingdom all over the globe – united in spirit, not a united land.
At the same time I see that the world has everything in place for a One World Government, a cashless society, and the mark of the beast. (Again, not prophetic – they are not being quiet about it so that we can actually observe it.) The dividing of Israel, everything prepared and ready for the rebuilding of the temple, and the signs in the holy land – again, if you pay attention to the news, nothing is happening in the dark. None of it takes a prophet to observe. But you ought to know prophesy (and keep in the scriptures) to understand it.
In light of all of that – prayer and repentance will not heal any land at this point. But it will build the Kingdom of Heaven; and prayer and repentance is our only hope. The promise of a healed land is not our hope, but the principle in this verse is mighty and important to the Kingdom of God. Some people call it The Church but with so many churches in deep compromise – I prefer to refer to my brothers and sisters in Christ as the Kingdom – as that is what we are building and working on. (Both are biblically sound names for the body of Christ.)
I am too longwinded I am sorry – my point is simply that I am not studying this verse for the promise that people currently wish this verse was promising. Actually – as we look at this verse – I want to study the principle and the actions we are to take (regardless of our situation and timeline).
“humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways”
Humility. This verse is in the 7th chapter of 2 Chronicles – which is all about King Solomon dedicating The Temple to God. This was not an occasion to wear sackcloth, or rip your clothing, or make yourself humble. This was a 7 day long party and then some – praising and worshiping God. It says it concluded on the 23rd day of the 7th month – interesting, because the 10th day of the 7th month is the Day of Atonement (the day of humility- I’ll get back to that). So, why at the end of a glory filled week of celebrating God – does this verse show up? Why when everything is going great does God speak this to Solomon? It is almost out of place if it means what people right now think it means. Or maybe God it saying it to teach a principle. Humility. (The whole chapter is attached below for your reference)
“This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;” Leviticus 16:29 NAS
The holiday referred to in this verse is The Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur – Day of Fasting. Even the children are taught to fast on that day. Why fasting? Well – look at the words: “humble your souls”. I do not even need to get into the original Hebrew for you to know that since the origins of Yom Kippur – humbling yourself and fasting mean the same thing. But if we were to get into the original Hebrew, we could find the word humble yourself in passages all over the Bible all meaning fasting. Not just fasting – but a call for a city or nation or group of people to do it united and together – to put on sackcloth, to wear clothing of mourning, or to rip their garments, to wash themselves and anoint themselves with oil – sometimes from sun up to sun down, sometimes for days, sometimes without water and sometimes with water, and sometimes even the animal participated.
“I humbled my soul with fasting” Psalm 35:13 NAS
Fasting is not just denying your flesh something it needs and enjoys (and sometimes overindulges in). Fasting is a display to God of your humility. We must humble ourselves. God does not give humility it is something we must learn and do.
“2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. 3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. 4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:2-10 KJV
Tell me, does verse 2-5 describe the world we live in? Then, what does this say is the answer?
Verse 6 says GRACE!!! Praise the Lord – because if not for that abundance of grace where would we be?! But grace is given to the humble. And what have we learned today about humility? It means fasting.
Let us take a quick look at how and why James instructs us to fast. Verse 7 says submit to God. OK God, I give up – let’s do this your way. Then still in verse 7 – resist the devil. I don’t know about you, but I know that the devil knows all my weakest temptations. Let’s use ice cream as an example since it is summer and I do like to overindulge in it. It is a temptation I would struggle to say no to if presented with a situation where I would have to say no. A situation like, um, fasting. Doh! But fasting is a great way to learn and practice resisting the devil and forcing our flesh to come under obedience to God’s will.
Verse 8 – shows that when we are in the process of fasting we should draw our self to God and he will come to us. The blessing of God’s presence alone should be enough to compel us to make a practice of fasting. And verse 8 also explains an important part of this principle.
Cleansing – repentance – atonement: each of these examples (and many others in the Bible) tie in humility or fasting with repentance and atonement. Fasting is of no effect until you also spend that time deciding to search your heart and change. Dear Lord, forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us. -Amen
Verse 9 – shows us more about how to fast. Take time away from others and “be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” Humility is not a joyful celebration. It is a serious time of being with the Lord. If for some reason you cannot hide away while you fast then Jesus says:
“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:17-18 NIV
But “WHEN YOU FAST”, not if you fast. Jesus fasted. All the disciples fasted. All of the early church fasted regularly. Fasting, prayer and unity was how the Holy Spirit fell on Pentecost. Fasting and prayer was how they sent each of the apostles out. Fasting is what Jesus did to begin His ministry. Fasting is something God’s chosen people have been doing since Moses (Exodus 34) did not eat for 40 days and nights while he was receiving the Law from God.
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10 KJV
So let me challenge you to not just abstain from food when you fast – but when you fast find some time during your fast to humble yourself in front of God and let Him lift you up. Fasting and humility are a part of having a relationship with God, through Christ Jesus. They ‘giveth grace unto the humble.’ (James 4:6 KJV) And our relationship is a relationship of grace!
If you don’t already, and today you would like to, have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ Love one another
~ Watch and Pray ~
Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. 3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying,
“He is good;
his love endures forever.”
4 Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord. 5 And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God. 6 The priests took their positions, as did the Levites with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the Lord and which were used when he gave thanks, saying, “His love endures forever.” Opposite the Levites, the priests blew their trumpets, and all the Israelites were standing.
7 Solomon consecrated the middle part of the courtyard in front of the temple of the Lord, and there he offered burnt offerings and the fat of the fellowship offerings, because the bronze altar he had made could not hold the burnt offerings, the grain offerings and the fat portions.
8 So Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days, and all Israel with him—a vast assembly, people from Lebo Hamath to the Wadi of Egypt. 9 On the eighth day they held an assembly, for they had celebrated the dedication of the altar for seven days and the festival for seven days more. 10 On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel.
The Lord Appears to Solomon
11 When Solomon had finished the temple of the Lord and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the Lord and in his own palace, 12 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.
13 “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, 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 “As for you, if you walk before me faithfully as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws, 18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor to rule over Israel.’
19 “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, 20 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. 21 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?’ 22 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 NIV