The ancient King Solomon was known for wisdom, wealth, writings, and his ruling over a unified Israel. One day, he made a good request unto the Lord. He asked for God to teach His people the way in which they should walk. Solomon understood that it is not enough to exhort people to do good—we all must be taught. And this is how God responded: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). In this verse, we see God demands four things of His people in order for them to be set back on the pathway to spiritual and national renewal. While we cannot change our national leaders, we, ourselves, the covenant ones, can—and must do—these four things that are within our immediate control.
First, God’s people must humble themselves. Humility may be defined as a freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all we have and are comes from God. There is no such thing as a self-made man or a self-made woman. Behind all of life is God. The humble heart never fails to recognize this and then to trust God for everything.
Second, God’s people must pray. Prayer is simply having communion with God. As Christians we recognize our complete dependence upon the Lord and confess that through our supplications. We believe in God’s love and concern to the point that we bring all of our cares to Him, just as we are instructed to do.
Then third, God’s people must seek His face. This means to worship with a purpose. We must have a noble aim in coming to church. Deuteronomy 4:29 explains. “But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Fourth, God’s people must turn from their wicked ways. The word for “wickedness” is first found in Genesis 13:13. “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.” This same word is also found in Genesis 38:7. “And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD slew him.” Here we see the sin of this man was so severe that he suffered sudden death.
The point of these verses is to show that the wickedness of the saints is just as wicked and offensive as the sin of sodomy and the sin that brings sudden death. We often excuse or minimize our actions by convincing ourselves that our sins are not as bad as some of the more egregious examples we can think of. The reality, however, is that our sins were enough to crucify Christ at Calvary and are enough to merit eternal separation from God. Our sins are equally abominable to a thrice-holy God.
Indeed, there are two significant illustrations of sin in the Bible: that of a dog returning to its vomit and that of a pig wallowing in the mud. What a sickening sight that is. The people of God must see their own sins in that light once again.
When these four elements happen, then God promises three things:
1.) God promises He will hear from heaven.
2.) God promises He will forgive sins.
3.) God promises He will heal the land.
Even as we continue to serve God and trust Him throughout divine judgment for neglecting and forsaking so much light, the Lord is a merciful God who offers a pathway to spiritual renewal. It is not difficult to believe that God may yet forgive our sins while bringing healing to our nation if we do as He instructs.