With the tenth anniversary of September 11th approaching, the reminiscing minds of this nation will once again be considering the idea of God’s blessing and God’s protection on the United States of America. Does God really protect nations from harm? Does He bless entire nations? Does He ever remove His hand of provision or protection if a nation turns from Him? All very significant questions to those of us who believe in the God of the Bible.
2 Chronicles 7:14 is a very popular scripture any time God and Country are discussed together:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
What an incredible promise – that God Almighty would “heal” our land if we would humble ourselves before Him and fall in line with His revealed will for our individual lives as well as our corporate life. A God of forgiveness and blessing. Not many Bible believing Christians would argue with the conditional reality of this passage. IF we humble ourselves, seek God, and repent, He WILL forgive and heal. Conditional restoration. A blessing we are rarely slow to enact in times of national degradation.
But do we believe the opposite is true?… that God would directly punish a nation who does NOT humble herself before Him and seek Him continually? Simply taking this passage in its own context, with nothing else considered, we can find some eye-opening truths…
NOTE: Before proceeding, it is important to notice that this scripture is God’s direct reply to King Solomon’s specific prayer requests in Chapter 6. You should go back and read it sometime, with 7:14 in mind.
1. God is in direct control of the natural elements of this world, and He does use that control to discipline His children. In verse 13, just before the above quoted passage, we read that (a) God can and does “close the sky,” withholding the rain needed for a land, (b) that the “grasshoppers” are agents of destruction obedient to His command, and that (c) “pestilence” in any form can be “sent” by Him. Do not be fooled by those who believe God to be either nonexistent or inactive in our world. He is in control. He is capable of using His creation to accomplish His purposes, and He often does. Reading back in King Solomon’s initial request to God (6:20-28), famine, pestilence, and plague were identified as being sent by God as punishment for personal and national sin. King Solomon, the wisest of all to ever live, saw these disasters as a punishment from God for disobedience – as being used by God to discipline His beloved children.
2. God’s promise of blessing on a nation is conditional – dependent upon her obedience to Him. Going only a few verses past 2 Chronicles 7:14, we find these words:
“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, doing everything I have commanded you, and if you keep my statutes and ordinances, I will establish your royal throne, as I promised your father David: You will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. However, if you turn away and abandon My statutes and My commands that I have set before you and if you go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from the soil that I gave them, and this temple that I have sanctified for My name I will banish from My presence.” – 2 Chronicles 7:17-20.
The promises for blessing that God made to Israel as a nation were directly dependent upon their obedience to Him. As soon as they turned away and began to follow other Gods, God would punish them by what? – – – by “uprooting” them and making the central figure of their relationship with Him into an object of scorn and ridicule. Is it so difficult to believe that a nation founded on Godly principles and who continually experienced the mighty hand of His providence in their establishment would turn away from Him over the years? Once again, King Solomon, the wisest to ever live, pegged this tendency in 6:36-39. He knew that it is human nature to sin. And he knew that it is God’s nature to discipline.
Why are we so quick to evoke the God of the 2 Chronicles 7:14 conditional promise, but so timid to speak of this same God’s 2 Chronicles 7:17 conditional promise? If we recognize God’s promise of restoration as conditional upon our humility, praying, and turning, then why do we not recognize God’s promise of destruction and displacement as conditional upon our turning from Him in disobedience?
The Bottom Line: If the United States of America is going to experience the restoration/healing that only God can provide, it will be be a direct result of our becoming humble before Him, seeking Him, and changing our mind about our sinful ways (repentance). If the United States of America is to once again experience the blessings of Almighty God, it will be conditional upon our continual obedience to Him. We read that God sends “grasshoppers,” “pestilence,” and “famine.” Does He also send natural disaster, debt, and terror? Sure, those things are also a direct result of the Fall of Man – a direct result of sin’s introduction into the perfect world God created, just as pestilence, plague, and famine were… but does God use them, these modern-day struggles as tools of discipline for His children? What do you think?
Grace and peace,