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, I will hear from Heaven and heal their land.
This verse is quite popular this week, especially. For quite some time, it has been on many Christians' hearts. A person can go to almost any website for Christians, at least evangelical, conservative Christians and he will see this verse. It is a great verse with splendid steps to follow.
I have a question about this verse. Well, first, this was written to the nation of Judah. Can we say it applies to us? Yes, I think the principle does. What can be wrong with humbling ourselves? Praying? Seeking God's face?
Then pops the next question. What are our wicked ways? Remember this verse is for those who are called by God's name- Christian, little Christs. The name was first an insult to the early believers. So, we Christians, who don't do blatantly evil things, right? What do we turn from? What are wicked ways?
I welcome discussion
First we go back to Jesus, who talked to the original people called by His father's name. The Pharisees were the best of those people, at least in obeying the law. The law, we later find out in Romans, written by the chief of these Pharisees, cannot save anyone. No matter how well a person can follow the rules. Is this correct? Is this how you read it?
Jesus had the harshest criticism for the head honchos. What did He say? He brought the law down to heart level. It was more than what someone did or didn't do. Anger became murder. Lust became adultery.
I prayed about the wicked ways this morning, because this verse has been thrown at me. I felt almost viciously. Civility, even among Christians, is taking a back seat to our country. And believe me, I am concerned about the direction our country is going. Then I was reminded, it has been bad before, as I read about England during the 1770's last night in If You Can Keep It, by Eric Metaxas: “There was open disregard and even public disdain for public and private morality in Great Britain. In a word, it was fashionable to be immoral, especially among the upper classes. Public drunkenness, even on the very floor of parliament, was common. The wealthy were typically drunk on claret, while the poor slowly killed themselves with gin, as the famous Hogarth print Gin Alley illustrates. Politicians openly traded money for votes; indeed, this was so normal that it was entirely expected. It was a time of open debauchery in every sphere of the culture; such behaviors were flaunted. For one index of the cultural climate, we may recall during this period in London, 25 percent of all single women were prostitutes; their average age was sixteen.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917) wrote. “If ever there was a time God's children should cry day and night to Him, it is now.”
King Solomon quietly wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
OK, so Christians are against sin is a well-known fact. They do seem to be blurring the edges of sin, but again that is nothing new. What are we to turn from? Is it actions?
I prayed. It is a heart matter. Always at the heart of all good deeds is motive. Proof is the saying if a man says he's humble, he isn't. Even as I read about a call to prayer and fasting for this nation's Christians, the warning is not
What is wicked?
Unforgiving spirit, I thought firstly. Also, the Lord, in the dessert, held the mumbling and grumbling in their tents against the children of Israel. He disciplined them quite regularly with that one. How about pride and a judgmental spirit?
Finally, I thought, anything against the Fruit of the Spirit. What is the Fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The opposite is indifference, pessimism, strife, demanding, meanness, badness, unbelief, brutality, anger or fear. I heard once that the Fruit is singular. Our wickedness then is also one rottenness.
How does the Fruit become rotten? I theorized many years ago, our busyness distracts us from first hearing the Holy Spirit. We are not quiet in our spirit, so we think only of ourselves and our agendas. We could say, selfishness is wickedness.
Our wicked ways then, stem from not listening to God. We don’t read our Bible daily and then some more. We don’t pray often, seeking God for moment to moment decisions. As we crowd God out with our constant activity, we lose who we are in Christ. We don’t lose salvation, but there it is again, we lose Joy. And when we lose bits of the fruit, we lose it all. Our wickedness is a heart matter that leads us away from God.