Condition 1 of 4 of ‘How to Make America Great Again’
2Chronicles 7:14 “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves…”
Speaking this past week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Vice President Mike Pence explained the things President Trump has been doing in his first month in the office to “make America great again”: “Putting Americans back to work…rebuilding the military and putting our enemies on notice … supporting law enforcement and ending illegal immigration once and for all … rolling back big government and slashing through red tape ….and leading the fight to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Our Vice President’s history of solid conservative values, along with his reputation as a man of integrity and honesty, has made him a favorite among the American people who voted for Trump. But it has been his unashamed public confession of his faith in Jesus Christ and his continual reminder to the American people of the only one way to bring healing to our nation that has gotten the attention of so many believers.
As he ended his CPAC speech, Pence first asked that we pray for this administration. He then recited the bible verse that has become his signature message to the American people: “I put my left hand on the Bible that was actually used by the 40th president of the United States [Ronald Reagan]. What was uncanny about that moment was that I opened that Bible to the verse that he had it opened to. It happened to be the very same verse that I have often quoted as I campaigned across this country.”
There are over 31,000 verses in the Bible. The one Pence keeps repeating to Americans is 2 Chronicles 7:14 – “If My people, who are called by My name, will 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 will heal their land.” But 2Chronicles 7:14 is not for all Americans. It is only for those who claim to be ‘God’s people’, who are ‘called by His name’. It is intended for those who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
When I ask many Christians why they don’t read the Bible very much, they often tell me it’s too difficult to follow. Why, they challenge, can’t God just give us a simple formula for success? Well, here is your formula in 2Chronicles 7:14. In fact, in his book ‘Revive Us Again’, Dr. Walter C. Kaiser (Ph.D in Mediterranean Studies and distinguished Professor of the Old Testament) breaks down God’s four conditions in this verse that together are the formula for reviving a nation – which is what our Vice President means when he says “making America great again.” In our article this week, we will examine condition #1: humbling ourselves.
Dr. Kaiser expounds on condition #1 by first explaining how frequently God mentions it in His Bible: “So large is the topic of “humbling ourselves”… that there are more than a dozen Hebrew words translating this single word humble, with over eighty references. The one used in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is ‘kana’, meaning “to subdue”… the picture is one of “bending the knee” or bending the neck in deference to another.
God calls for his people to render to Him complete and voluntary subjection. The precedent for doing this is to be found in the example of our Lord [Jesus Christ] in Philippians 2:8, where Jesus ‘humbled Himself’. Those in America who claim to be ‘His people’, who follow our Lord, must be willing to deny themselves and take up his or her cross and follow Christ (see Matthew. 16:24).
Humbling ourselves, then, is a voluntary denial of every impulse we have to exalt ourselves instead of following the pattern set by the world. We must go into spiritual bankruptcy (‘Blessed are the poor in spirit’) if we are to have the mind-set and frame of thinking that was in our Lord Jesus (see Philippians 2:5).
The two revivals in 2 Chronicles (led by the kings Rehoboam and Josiah) indicate that more is intended by this condition #1 of ‘humbling ourselves’. Both kings had to come to the point of saying that if God did not extricate them from the trouble they were in, then no one or nothing else would be able to help them.”
The point Dr. Kaiser makes about these two Old Testament kings is the same point Vice President Pence is making to Americans who follow Jesus Christ, who are the ‘true church’. And Dr. Kaiser reminds us why humility is the first of the four conditions for revival – because God only reveals Himself to those who meet condition #1: “God dwells with those who are of a contrite and humble spirit, reviving their spirits and reviving the hearts of those who are contrite (see Isaiah 57:15).”
If we agree with our Vice President, and Dr. Kaiser, then revival begins in God’s house – the church – and when those watching see our desire to put others before ourselves, God Himself will be exalted in America.
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.