Does 2 Chronicles 7:14 Apply to the Christian Today?
Reading: 2 Chronicles 7
2 Chronicles 7:14 is often applied to America and our desperate need for “healing” from God. Undoubtedly our country is in desperate need of healing today, and God hears and answers prayer—a promise found all over the New Testament. So pray, pray, pray! However, when read in context, it is fair to ask, “Does this text really apply to America?” And even, “Does this really apply to the Christian today?”
(13) “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, (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, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (15) Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. (16) I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there. (2 Chronicles 7:13-16)
This promise was given at the dedication of the temple in response to Solomon’s prayer (2 Chronicles 7:12), it spoke of prayer offered in this place (the temple which Solomon built), and my people was a reference to Israel (this is prior to the divided kingdoms), and their land was the land of Israel. Is it fair, then, to turn my people into the church, and their land into America, and this place into wherever we happen to be?
Who are my people, what is their land, and this place?
In 2 Chronicles 7:1-3, after Solomon’s prayer for dedicating the temple, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house/temple. There are three well known references in the Old Testament to fire coming down from heaven. Two of those are relevant to our purposes here.
First, at Mt. Sinai when God came down in fire and wrote the law on stone tablets (Exodus 19:18; Deuteronomy 9:10). Second, here at the dedication of the temple. However, as you may know, Solomon’s temple had been torn down, and the rebuilt temple (after the return to the land from Babylonian captivity), was never filled with the glory of the Lord as it was in Solomon’s day. So how could God’s people offer prayers in that place and have expectation that God’s promise would be fulfilled?
There is also a New Testament reference to fire coming down in Acts 2:1-4. The disciples gathered together daily in prayer (Acts 1:14), and did so again on the day of Pentecost. Fire came down from heaven, divided, and came to rest on each one. This is the fulfillment of the promise of the Father, the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). Just as God came down in fire at Sinai and wrote the law on stone tablets, now the Spirit is coming down to rest on each believer as the Father has promised to write the law in their hearts and on their minds (Jeremiah 31:33). Those who walk in the Spirit will fulfill the righteous requirements of the law (love of God and neighbor) (Romans 8:4).
The sacrifice of Jesus having been made, the promised Holy Spirit can come and fill the house (Galatians 3:13-14). The disciples were gathered together in a room of the temple that day (Luke 24:53)1, the temple was indeed filled with the glory of the Lord as the Holy Spirit filled the temple—the church of the Living God (Ephesians 2:21-22). The rebuilt temple has been filled with the glory of the Lord!
The people are the seed of Abraham through Jesus Christ; the land is now the realm of the Spirit, not the flesh; and the place is the Church (the whole church) which is the temple of the Living God.
Not If 2 Chronicles 7:14 Applies to the Christian, but How
2 Chronicles 7:14 does apply to the Christian today—indeed in an ultimate sense it was written for the Christian. God has indeed promised that He will hear and answer our prayers. There even seems to be an emphasis in scripture on the power of gathered prayer—prayer offered in this place which is now the temple, the assembled people of God. The early church was devoted to prayer and had times of prayer together (ref. Acts 2:42; 3:1; 4:24; 12:12)
But, does it apply to America? Do we have a promise that God will “heal our land”? Not in the same sense that it applied to Israel. However, we are called to pray for all people that God would for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. So we should pray accordingly for America and Zimbabwe, indeed for all men with this in mind. And if God’s people call on His name, He will hear their prayer and answer.
Seek God’s face for His eyes and heart are on His church who is gathered before Him in prayer in the name of His Son Jesus! God will hear from heaven and answer our prayer!
Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,
1There is some debate as to whether the disciples were in the upper room (the house) or the temple (the house) on the day of Pentecost. I believe we can firmly say they were in a room of the temple because, 1) the scripture tells us where they went to pray every day… the temple; 2) house was commonly used to refer to the temple; 3) 120 wouldn’t fit in the upper room, and 4) had they been in the upper room they would have been across town from where all the people were gathered on Pentecost, hence no one would have gathered around after hearing them speak in tongues. Never mind all the implications of how this fulfills Old Testament prophecies since it was at the temple. I suspect the only upper room experience the disciples had was eating and sleeping. See also Acts 5:12.