This is probably one of my favorite passages in scripture. And probably one of the most important if we desire to see healing in our land.
Solomon had prayed that if God allowed disaster to come upon Israel because of their sin, that if the people repented, that he would forgive and restore them.
And this was God’s response.
I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. (12-16)
I’m living in a country (Japan) where less than one percent of the population is Christian. If there is a land that needs healing, it’s this one. And God tells us what needs to happen if healing is going to happen.
First, God says, “If my people who are called by my name…”
That’s where healing must start. Not with the politicians. Not with judges or lawmakers. But with God’s people, who are called by his name. And that’s what we are if we are Christians. So if healing is to come to our nation, it starts with us. What does God call us to do?
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray.” We need to realize that healing is not going to come through our our own wisdom, planning, or efforts. Healing can only come through the power of God. And so we need to humble ourselves, and pray not that God would bless what we’re trying to do, but that we’re willing to join in with what he’s doing.
“…and seek my face.” So often, God’s people are so focused on seeking other things, they forget to seek God’s face. I admit that I do that too. I don’t spend nearly enough time praying, and seeking his face. I don’t spend nearly enough time listening to his voice. But if we, God’s people, are not seeking his face, and instead are seeking only our own wants and desires, we will never see healing for our land. What’s more, we won’t understand why healing doesn’t come. We will have effectively blinded ourselves to what God wants to do through us to bring healing.
“…and turn from their wicked ways.” Can we ask God to heal our land, if we ourselves are walking in sin? Can we ask God to use us, if we are giving ourselves in service not to him, but to sin? If we want to see healing in our land and see people turn to God, we ourselves must turn from our own sin, and seek his forgiveness in our lives. It’s so easy to condemn others’ sins. But how often do we see our own, and turn from it?
And so now God tells us,
Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
As his people, as his temple, God’s is looking at us, listening, and waiting. He has chosen and set us apart for himself. His eyes and heart are always there with us. But he is waiting. He’s waiting for his people not to complain about how bad the world is. Or moan about how few people are Christians. He’s waiting for us, who are called by his name to humble themselves, pray, seek his face, and turn from their wicked ways.
Only when we do that will see healing for our land.
Lord, I come before you now. Lord, I have no answers for how to turn this nation around. I humbly admit that I just don’t know. So I turn to you and ask what you want me to do. Lord, help me to seek you each day. To seek your will, that I might know what you would have me do. Lord, help me to turn away from sin in my life that I might be a clean vessel that you can use. Please bring healing to this land. In Jesus name, amen.