Today marks the 13th Anniversary of the September 11th attack on the United States. I was in 6th grade world history with Ms. Hart when we got the news, and all we did in Ms. McKee’s math class was watch the news. At the age of 11 I think this was the first time that I realized and processed what evil looked like. It was a tragic day, and a day we should not forget.
Around this time of year you will be seeing 2 Chronicles 7:14 posted a lot. It reads:
“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
Today, many Christians with good intentions will share this verse about the United States of America. If Americans will turn from their wickedness, and repent then God will hear our land. There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting God to heal our land or for our people to repent. However, we do need to ask if we are applying the verses appropriately. Let’s examine.
The best way to read the Bible is context. The Bible is a metanarrative telling the story of God’s redemptive plan for the world, and saving the lost. It can best be told through 4 key components. Creation, fall, rescue, and restoration. The Bible is not about me or you, but about God and it’s purpose is to glorify Him and it reveals what we has allowed us to know about Him. This book is certainly not about the United States of America or any of us. It tells a story, a story all of us need to know, live, and surrender to so that we might know and enjoy God forever.
The context here in 2 Chronicles is that God is speaking to an individual, Solomon. Solomon was the son of David who would build the temple. Solomon was the 3rd king of Israel, God’s chosen people as we see in the Old Testament. “My people” in this verse is speaking specifically about the people of Israel as God refers to them as His throughout the Old Testament. Today Christians are the children of God, but in this context there is no doubt that God is speaking about the Jews.
The phrase “their land” is speaking to an actual piece of land, the promised land, that was set aside for Israel. It is literally their land secured to them by God in covenant He made with the people. We can see that in the Old Testament too can’t we? The book of Judges and the two books of Kings. When evil was present in the leadership and people bad things happened. When the people turned to God he healed them and their land. It was an ever ongoing cycle of the people of God. “Their land” was not the land that we as Americans inhabit so it would not be correct, I believe, to hold onto this verse as a promise to America from God.
I am not an Israelite, nor am I Jewish for I am a Christian. I am indeed a child of God and cling to the promises He has given me. However, as a Christian we belong to the Church. The Church has no land because the Church is all over the world. We may look at the United States as a Christian nation, which I would argue that not to be the case, and misapply this verse to our beloved nation. I love the United States. Being an American has allowed me opportunities I may not have had other places. Still, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not saying that if we the United States do this then God will heal our country. There is no covenant between the United States and God. The covenant now is with those who believe and God; the covenant is with the Church.
Therefore, 2 Chronicles 7:14 cannot be applied to the United States. However, it can be applied to the Church. Not a physical land, but a physical people and God can heal us. He has already justified those who believe and we are experiencing sanctification. Even more so as we turn from wickedness, repent, and experience forgiveness. I will never forget 9/11 and my prayer today is to those who lost loved ones 13 years ago. It was a horrific tragedy brought forth by evil. I also pray for the Church today. That we be an ever present beacon of hope to our lost country, and world. That we make much of Jesus, and we see the Church grow and grow. My prayer is also for a revival in America, and the world. It starts with every believer. What are we doing today?