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Turn from our wicked ways?

In II Chronicles 7:13-22, we see a list of requirements God gave to His people Israel; for Him to hear their prayers, forgive their sin, and bring them healing as a nation. These conditions for His help, and their reviving was dependent upon God’s people returning in obedience to God, their sovereign King.

I believe that if we, the people of God living here on this earth today, will hear and obey this same list of requirements; that we too can enjoy personal, community, and national revival. But will we hear and obey?

I believe that our God will chasten and correct us to the point of wanting to return to Him, if we don’t freely choose to. In other words, I believe He’ll make us want to fully return to Him; and want to let go of this corrupt old world. Let’s read, and heed the Holy Scriptures. “If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence (plague or disease) among My people; If My people, which are called by My name shall 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.”

We’ll come back to the last verse shortly. God will have His way with His bride, the church. Ephesians 5:25-27 tells us, “Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

It’s evident and obvious that the church isn’t close to this virtuous character, and of chaste behavior toward her Lord right now. But, God will chasten, correct, and cleanse us; in order to perfect us; for our own good, and for His good pleasure.

You may ask, “How will God correct us?” Has anyone been observing the current events around our country, and around the globe lately? Our Scripture portion gave evidence of His correction through drought, crop failure, destroyed harvest, and plagues or disease.

Consider also these Scriptures dealing with the Lord using hurricanes (tempest), floods, tornadoes (whirlwind), earthquakes, wildfires, stormy wind, and hail, to turn us again to Him. (Job 37:9-13, 38:22-23, Psalm 46:1-3, 83:15-16, 148:8, Amos 4:6-9). And how about the C-virus or any of its variants? Hebrews 12:11-13 says, “Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: none the less, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness…Therefore…make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” Hosea 6:1-2, “ Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. After two days will He revive us.”

Doesn’t it seem odd that God would say, “My people, which are called by My name” need to “turn from their wicked ways.” This isn’t just about the Jews and the Old Testament. It applies also to so many professing New Testament Christians since the early days of the church.

Consider the letter to believers in James 4:8-9, “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.” And again, Jesus’ strong messages of warning and call to repentance to the seven churches in Revelation chapters 2–3. Jesus said in Matthew 6:22-24, ”No man can serve two masters…Ye cannot serve God and mammon (the wealth of this world).”

God will not allow us to straddle this fence. We must choose, Him or the world. I John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (To try to have both is spiritual adultery) And the world passes away, and the lusts there of; but he that does the will of God abides forever.”

Please read all this appeal to the church in II Corinthians 6:14-7:1, “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? … And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them; and I will walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

There are many idols in our times now, even as there were in those days. We even call them by that name: sports idols, movie, TV and music idols… Anything and anyone who receives our affections or adoration in competition with, or in place of the one true God is a false god; is an idol. Romans 12:1-2 pleads with us to “present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…And be not conformed to this world (pressed and shaped to it’s mold): but be transformed” (by God). With His indwelling Spirit, we have full access to this beautiful change in character! The answer is to be in Christ. (II Cor. 5:17). The motive is our love for Him, Who is to be chosen above all else.

By our humbling ourselves, and praying, and seeking God’s face, and turning from the ways that God calls wicked, He then replies, “Now Mine eyes shall be open, and Mine ears attentive unto the prayer that is made in this place” (II Chronicles 7:15). Psalm 84:1-13, …”Turn us, O God of our salvation… Wilt Thou not revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?”



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