Books authored by Dr. James Dyet. Purchase on

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Examining 2 Chronicles 7:14

Hardly a day passes that I don’t receive a call to pray for our nation based on 2 Chronicles 7:14. I appreciate the concern and the call to pray, but the people this verse addressed, the situation it described, and the promise it offered do not apply to Christians.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 God addressed the Israelites who joined King Solomon in the dedication of the temple. In the extended context He promised to bless His people, the Israelites, if they obeyed His commandments and observed His statutes and judgments (verses 17-18). But He also issued a warning. If His people, the Israelites, turned away from Him, failed to keep His statutes and commandments, and became idolatrous, He would devastate their land (Israel). Drought, an infestation of locusts, and pestilence would be His messengers of judgment (verse 13). Also, according to verse 20, He would uproot His people, the Israelites, from the land (Israel).  
Furthermore, the promise we find in 2 Chronicles 7:14 was conditional. God would restore His people, the Israelites, and their land, Israel, if they would do three things: (1) pray; (2) seek His face; and (3) turn from their wicked ways.
Clearly, 2 Chronicles 7:14 was not addressed to Christians in the United States, and the situation calling for an appropriate response was a physical devastation of the land.
I find it disappointing that Christians fail to interpret 2 Chronicles 7:14 in context when they call for prayer on behalf of the United States. I also find it interesting that they focus on the need to pray but fail to mention the need to “turn from their wicked ways.” Carving up Scripture by taking only what one wants is really an act of butchering Scripture, isn’t it?
Please don’t get me wrong. We Christians should pray for our nation. It needs a spiritual overhaul, but let’s base our reason to pray on instructions given to Christians in the New Testament. Here is one of those instructions: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority” (1 Timothy 2:1, 2a). It must not have been easy to pray for hostile, ungodly first-century Roman political rulers, but the reason to pray was clear: “that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (v. 2b).
 So, let us pray!