God is not cool with being last.
Yesterday, during National Day of Prayer, we should have put him first.
I was talking with a friend early morning when he asked what my plans were for the day. With all that is occurring in the world health environment, I said that since we were asked to be social distancing ourselves, my entire day was going to consist of multiple online services and lots of prayer - I had nothing better to do anyway.
Well, as I thought about that, I realized how true that is.
Nothing better to do than realize we are not in control, our God is.
Nothing better to do than pray to a known God about an unknown future.
Nothing better to do to ease anxiety than be in his presence.
Nothing better to do to move the heart of God than turning to course correct.
"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
Ok, first I have to talk about the context of this verse. This was a promise made to ancient Israel. However, many Christians in the United States have taken this verse as a rallying cry for America. The United States does not have the same covenant relationship with God that ancient Israel enjoyed. Israel's covenant was unique and exclusive. We can't co-opt the terms of this covenant and apply them to us. Certainly, prayer and repentance for troubled nation is always appropriate but when ancient Israel sought the Lord, they did so en masse - as a whole nation. It may be that God in His grace will bless our nation if some of us pray, but no guarantee. We are however guaranteed personal salvation in Christ, so for those of us who are saved - we should pray for revival.
What does our entire nation need to do for God to spare us? With every promise in the bible, there is a premise; there are conditions and requirements. When God makes a promise, he says, “I’ll do my part, and you do your part.” Four things our country needs to do:
HUMBLE OURSELVES -
C.S. Lewis describes humility not as thinking less of ourselves, but as thinking of ourselves less.
1. Challenge our motives - is what you are trying to accomplish for your glory...or God's? It’s not always wrong to want to make a good impression or attain success, but when we make the majority of our choices based on pleasing people or ourselves, we may have a pride problem.
2. Evaluate our responses to disappointments - self-pity is pride demanding to defend itself.
Rather than give in to it, we should choose to embrace the opportunity to learn humility and take comfort knowing Christ was also overlooked, rejected, and misunderstood.
PRAY - talk to God, praise God, enjoy God, thank God, ask God, cry to God. How often? Without ceasing (Thessalonians).
SEEK - I wrote about seeking the face of God here. God desires facetime. The Hebrew word for “face” in the Old Testament is often translated “presence.” When we seek the face of God, we are seeking His presence.
TURN - In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church's integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior. It is revival without reformation, without repentance." There is no genuine repentance without faith, and no genuine faith without repentance.
What did God promise us if we do these four things? He will hear from Heaven, he will forgive our sins and he will heal our land. It doesn't say he'd consider it, he might, he may, perhaps he could, maybe he would - God says he will. So grab some friends and start praying for revival of this nation that we may come to him en masse. During this tumultuous time of quarantining and social distancing - do you have anything better to do?