2Chronicles 7:14 "I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
When this week is over, we will learn how Judge Neil Gorsuch becomes the next Supreme Court Justice of the Unites States. It is looking more and more likely that Democrats will filibuster and force Republicans to enact, for the first time in history, the “nuclear option” that ensures Gorsuch’s position on SCOTUS.
Anyone watching the 20 hours of questioning Gorsuch endured at the Supreme Court nomination hearings witnessed just how broken our government is. The Democrats remain bitter over the Republican’s refusal to consider their candidate, Justice Garland, during the election last year. And Republicans vow, now that they have control, to push Gorsuch through by changing the Senate rules on nominating a Supreme Court Justice. The issue with our elected officials is simple: they are not capable of working together.
Are the people we elected and sent to Washington a good representation of American culture? Is the infighting, lying, and grandstanding of our politicians a picture of mainstream America? If it is, then we have no grounds to ask God to hear our prayers and forgive our sin and heal our land. Because you can’t seek God’s blessing on our country while openly violating his conditions for receiving His blessing.
We have been studying the four conditions God set forth in 2Chronicles 7:14 for anyone desiring God to intervene on behalf of a nation: 1) humble yourself, 2) pray, 3) seek God’s face, and 4) turn from your wicked ways. Now, if we meet His conditions, He promises to first hear His people when they call out to Him, and then forgive their sin and finally heal their land. So before God will bring forgiveness and healing, He first has to hear His people when they call on Him. Doesn’t God hear us when we pray to Him?
God definitely says there are times He separates Himself from people and chooses to not listen. In 730BC, the prophet Isaiah said this to Israel: “The Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:1-2). But is sin the cause for the separation? In this week’s verse, God says He is willing to forgive our sin. So it’s not sin that causes God’s departure.
King David gives us more insight into what causes God to withdraw from people who reach out to Him: “If I regard sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear.” (Psalm 66:16). This word ‘regard’ means “to cherish, to cling to, to worship”. It’s the same word the prophet Jonah used to describe people hooked on idol worship: “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Lovingkindness.” (Jonah 2:8).
So the root cause for why God chooses not to hear us when we call out to Him isn’t our sin. It’s our insistence on worshipping ourselves. We teach our teenagers the merits of self-image, self-promotion and self-respect, neglecting any instruction on self-control according to God’s standards. Why expect God to bless us as a nation when we as a culture are focused on blessing ourselves? It’s absurd and hypocritical.
Dennis Prager, a syndicated radio host, sheds more light on the root cause of God’s separation from us: “For Judaism and Christianity, God and the Bible are above the self. Western civilization was built on the idea that the individual and society are morally accountable to God and to the moral demands of that book. That was the view, incidentally, of every one of the Founders including deists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. This is entirely unacceptable to the left. As Marx and Engels said, “Man is God, and God is man.” Therefore, society must rid itself of the sacred, i.e., God and the Bible. Then each of us takes the place of God and the Bible. Morality is then no longer a God-given objective fact; it becomes a human-created subjective opinion. And one no longer needs to consult an external source to know right and wrong, only one’s heart. We are then no longer accountable to God for transgressions, only to ourselves.”
History keeps repeating itself: what separated God from Israel after He freed them from Egyptian slavery is the same thing that separates God from America today: the focus on self, the lack of humility before God. If we want God to hear us, His four conditions in 2Chronicles 7:14 must be met. But there is great news – He has satisfied all those conditions for us! When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, He paid the penalty for our separation from God. Now, God promises to listen to anyone who trusts in Jesus Christ as their Savior.
As we enter into this Easter season, we need to focus on what God, not us, has achieved on our behalf, to provide the way for us to be heard by Him and be forgiven and healed: His Son, Jesus Christ.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.