II Chronicles 7:14
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.
Revival. We talk about it. We read about it. Preachers preach about it. And still we wonder. Have we ever experienced it? On a personal level, I hope you have. As a church family, I know we can. I believe this verse tells us how we can. I know some of you are thinking, “Wait a minute, this verse is Old Testament. It is written to Israel, not us. Can we apply this verse to our modern lives and our current circumstances?” Maybe you have heard a preacher say we cannot claim this verse for revival. Well, I hope you keep reading. There is a principle of Biblical interpretation that is very important, especially in the Old Testament. All Scripture is not written to us, but it is written for us. I cannot find anything in this verse that we should not do, or anything in this verse that God will not do.
- The People Yes, this is for Israel. God is speaking to Solomon after the dedication of the temple. But please notice who He mentions, “My people called by My name”. I am a child of God. I can take notice of this verse and do what it says. Not only do I belong to Him, the Lord wants to hear from me. He wants to bless me. He wants to use me. The application is obvious for us today. God wants to move upon us and through us in a mighty way. We are His people, and He is challenging us as we read this verse.
- The Prerequisite We have a responsibility to carry out if revival is to happen. We must do four things, actually. (1) We must humble ourselves. Revival and pride cannot coexist. Humility is the foundation of revival. (2) We must pray. Nothing is ever accomplished for God without prayer. No prayer, no revival. (3) We must seek His face. David desired God as a “hart panteth after the water brooks”. Do we desire Him? (4) We must turn from our wicked ways. God’s people sin and revival cannot happen if we hold on to our sin. We must confess it and forsake it.
- The Promise God gives us a threefold promise. He will hear us. This goes along with our duty to pray. God promises to hear our prayers. He will forgive us. In the Old Testament and the New, concerning Israel and the church, this principle is always true. God focuses on the spiritual first, not the physical or the material. Forgiveness comes first. God wants us to be right with Him, then He will work on making things right around us. Revival is about our relationship with God. Sin must be forgiven in order for us to have a proper relationship with Him. He will heal us. Our land needs to be healed right now, that is for sure. I believe God wants us to be a happy and a healthy people. We can ask Him to make it so. It is interesting to me that this is the last part of the promise. Forgiveness comes after hearing and healing comes after forgiveness. Happiness and health are not signs of revival. Neither are wealth and prosperity. Revival is evident when God’s people are communicating with Him and are close to Him.
The next verse mentions something else, The Place. Solomon built the Lord a house of worship. We do not worship at a temple, but God gave us a place, the church. Just as God focused His eyes and ears on the temple back then, He is focused on us, the church, today. Currently, our gatherings may be fractured and disjointed, but that does not stop us from being together in Him. We are the church, not the building. And church, God has His eyes and ears focused on you. He wants to send you revival.
photo credit: Tammy Brown