I was talking to my neighbor the other day and he began to tell me that he had just bought a new hearing aide. Said it cost $4,000, "but it's state of the art", he said. Said all his hearing problems are over! Being fascinated with technology as I am, I asked.... "Well that's great. What kind is it?" He said.... "Twelve-thirty."
As with my neighbor's difficulty hearing ....our spiritual blindness and spiritual deafness are surely two conditions with the same cause. As we lead into a week of national Thanksgiving, and we wonder if, and how, we can be more thankful than we were last year ....I would contend that a promise that God made, even knowing of our consistently inconsistent condition, is certainly worth repeating. I believe it gives us reason to seek His voice and His face.
Mankind often wonders whether or not God hears us. I wonder how often God asks if "we" are even listening? Highly spiritual speak says we just don't know how to listen. Practically speaking ....I think we just choose when we really care. And when we do care ...we seem to need that God repeat Himself.
"if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
God's chosen in history
In 1492, while Columbus sailed to what would become the Americas, Jews were expelled from Spain; once again driven to exile. But this exile propelled what would be a homecoming to their true homeland.
This homecoming, and claim to ownership by covenant of God would never be without great struggle. On Nov. 29, 1947 a resolution was established for Jacob's nation, God's chosen people, to once again occupy "Israel" as a state. Even before her establishment on May 14, 1948 battle ensued; primarily from Muslims; 98% of which occupy Palestine (Sunni Muslims).
Jacob, in the Old Testament, was called Israel after his struggle with the angel of the Lord. In struggle Israel has remained, but greater than the struggle lies a promise to God's chosen people. While this promise appears conditional it is far more perpetual. God simply awaits His chosen's return to Him.
This perpetual promise is extended to you and I today. Whatever judgments, whatever curses ...God's faithful love endures forever, and any struggle is intended to draw us back to Him.
I'll list, here, some truths which this oft referenced portion of scripture speak to us today; our own country as well God's people.
"if my people ..."
Paul said... "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)
By way of beautiful adoption, anyone who will "confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in his heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved." You and I are "His people" if we choose to join His family.
"...who are called by my name..."
When God "calls" people listen.
The Hebrew word for "call" is 'qara'
"God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." (Genesis 1:5) When God calls a duck a duck .....it's a duck.
"...humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,..",
We want to challenge God, and ask "why" this trial, or "why" do I need to change my life. Consider how God humbled Himself.... "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8)
"... then I will hear from heaven..."
When scripture indicates that God "will hear from Heaven" we need to understand that He doesn't have a committee awaiting our judgment. The Hebrew word used as "hear" in our passage is shama, which means to give ear to, to give attention to. He IS the Judge. Yet He promises that He will hear us from His Kingdom ....if we'll but cry out to Him. His promise to His chosen, when escaping bondage in Egypt, demonstrate.
"Then the LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites." (Exodus 3:7-8)
"... and turn from their wicked ways,..."
Scripture is clear about the reality of our sin. "as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;" (Romans 3:10) "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," (Romans 3:23-24)
"...and heal their land..."
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.O r which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:7-11)
Our land is in need of healing. We masque that reality. The world wants you to believe that we have certain entitlements which are not, and never were, ordained by our Father. The only way our country will heal is if each individual, who God greatly desires to redeem, will humble themselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways then He will hear from heaven and will forgive our sin and heal our land.