Many Christians love to passionately quote 2 Chronicles 7:14 when talking about current events. We have often been frustrated by politics and the news over the past year. Many fear persecution in our future, even in this great country—an idea which would have been outrageous just 30 or 40 years ago. We are discouraged by the dramatic swing away from the Bible in the culture and politics, and we turn to Scripture for wisdom and hope. While the Bible contains all the encouragement and hope we need, we must be careful how we interpret God’s promises and what we hope for.
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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Ahhhhhh. What comfort!
So, as Christians, we are God’s people, right? We read this verse and think, “the ball is our court. If we do the right thing, God will heal our land.”
I thought this way too for a while, then I read the whole chapter. Solomon had built a temple for the Lord, and he and the people held a dedication of the altar, sacrificing over 120,000 sheep and 22,000 oxen, over seven days, and a feast of seven days, then a solemn assembly. Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said He had chosen this place for Himself as a place of sacrifice. He promised that if He were to discipline Israel with drought, locust, or plague, and if His people repented, He would forgive them and heal their land. This is the context of the famous 14th verse.
How does this apply to Christians in America?
We have been grafted into the family of God (Romans 11). We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9). But the new covenant is not exactly like the covenant God had with Israel. He is not promising us a physical land on this earth. And, while the USA was founded on Christian ideals, God is not in a covenant directly with this nation.
Many Jews did not recognize Jesus as the Messiah because they were looking for someone to deliver them from Roman control. Political reform was not His mission. Why would we think it is His mission today? Many Christians all over the world are persecuted for their beliefs. Are we saying they are not humble, seeking His face, or else He would heal their lands? No, Jesus was very clear that Christians would suffer in this life.
Jesus promises to be with us, even to the ends of the earth (Matthew 28). He promises to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (I John 1). He promises eternal life with Him and many other blessings, far beyond what we deserve or can imagine. But He does not promise an easy life here, with political freedom. As Americans, we feel freedom is our birthright. So of course, we feel let down or cheated if our freedoms are threatened. But God did not promise those freedoms—they are spelled out on a manmade document.
I pray that the United States will remain free and that the culture will turn back to God, but I am doing my best to prepare myself and my children to always confess Christ no matter what it may cost us.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though something strange were happening to you, but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that at the revelation of His glory you may also rejoice and be overjoyed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory, and of God, rests upon you. Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 1 Peter 4:12-16