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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.This verse is a part of God's response to Solomon during the dedication of the temple. It describes what will be required of a people who have turned their backs on God, and are suffering the consequences of that action, to be restored to fellowship with God. Israel had plenty of opportunity to put this to the test, but seldom actually carried through with it.2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV
Revival is a word that means different things to different people. But it has to do with reviving, taking something, or someone, who has weakened or died and restoring life to them. Churches I have been involved in over the years have occasionally had revival services, but they were really more about evangelism, reaching the lost, than revival, restoring life to the church.
I believe this message from God to Solomon was about revival, restoring life to a people that had wandered away from God, their source of life, and had become occupied with many other things, i.e. idols. God knew that would happen, and provided them with a recipe for how to get back with God, back to where they would truly be alive.
I am afraid that the church today, at least that small portion that I am familiar with, is guilty of wandering away from the relationship with our head, Christ, that God intended us to have. The church, at least as I know it, has not fallen into great sin. We haven't turned to other gods. We haven't abandoned assembling together. But we often seem to be more of a social organization that the people of God.
Do we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength? Listen in on conversations around your church when you gather next time. How often, apart from Sunday school, are people talking about God rather than work, family, job or the Seahawks? Try to initiate a conversation about a spiritual topic and see how far it goes. When we gather to worship, are we falling on our faces before him, or enjoying the show? Are we united together in one heart and mind, or are we satisfied with just getting along OK?
Now you may be OK with that condition. But I am not. I want more than that. I want to have God at the front of my thoughts and conversations, loving him more than anything. I want to be able to come and truly worship him, together with others of a like heart and mind. And I want to experience the unity within the body that Jesus prays for us to experience.
While praying this morning, God laid this verse from 2 Chronicles on my heart. And this has become my prayer, that God's people, his church, myself foremost, would:
- humble ourselves before God.
- spend time with him in prayer; not just making requests, but getting to know him and seeking his direction.
- develop quality face time with God.
- and turn away from anything that gets in the way of having an authentic encounter with God.
If we do that, I am convinced that the promise God made to Solomon is still applicable to us today. That God would hear us, forgive us, and heal his church.
Do you have that hunger for more? Do you want to experience what God can do with a church that is devoted to him? Then join me in humbling yourself before God, spending time with him, and turning from anything that would prevent his using you. Don't wait for 'them' to get their act together. Dare to lead the way; and see if others might follow; and the church be transformed.