And I Will Heal Their Land
We have to live in this world with all it’s flaws.
Recently, I completed a course with the United Methodist Church, on Lay Servant Ministries, Leading Worship. As our final assignment, I had to develop and complete worship service from Entrance to Sending Forth.
Today I want to focus on the Scripture I chose for the pastor to create his sermon from. (In a real service the pastor would choose his own, but this was a course exercise.)
The passage is from II Chronicles 7:14 and goes:
If My People, who 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.
There is so much anger, venom, and general discontent in our country these days it is difficult to see the roses for the thorns. The shootings, the protests, the intimidation of those with differing perspectives, I don’t know about you but it makes me want to withdraw to a remote island and live like a hermit. We can’t do that, though. We have to live in this world with all it’s flaws.
I often see the above Scripture quoted in memes on social media. It is as if simply posting or sharing the meme will change things. Let me tell you it won’t. Let’s dissect it a bit.
First off, it is for “My People, who are called by my name.” This isn’t the general population of the world. This message is for the followers of Christ. It is for the believers, those who have at some point experienced a personal relationship with the Lord.
Next, it requires the believer to humble themselves. The use of the word “shall” means you must. It isn’t an option. The specific action of God that comes later in the verse demands we humble ourselves. Trust me, being humble isn’t easy for most of us. Humbling ourselves isn’t all this verse requires.
In addition to humbling ourselves before God, we must pray. In our prayers we are asking God to do the things. In this case, the things we are praying for are forgiveness of our sin AND the healing of our land. Next, we must seek the Face of God.
When you seek the Face of God, you are having a conversation. It is more than just the request in prayer. You want to “see” His Face. You want Him to see your face. Just like when you need to have that face-to-face conversation with any other loved one.
However, humans cannot actually see His Face with our eyes. Even Moses only saw the Lord via the burning bush. But he stood before the Lord’s presence and had a conversation. He asked him pointed questions. He received responses.
It is not enough to simply lie prostrate before Him, mumble some words, and dart off to watch the next episode of Ozark. You have to talk with Him. You have to have a conversation, speak and listen. Build that relationship.
Finally, we must turn from our wicked ways. We must sincerely stop wickedness. We must stop the murders, the theft, the destruction, and the hatred. We must stop lying, and stop cheating. In short, we must straighten up and fly right.
Then will He hear from Heaven, and will (not might) forgive our sin, and heal our land.
This isn’t hard to do. It is hard to want to do. We are an independent lot. We think we can do so many things on our own, by our own rules, and our own strength. The condition of this world is the result of that behavior. It is the result of the lie the serpent told Eve, “You don’t need God.”