Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land. - 2 Chronicles 7:14
The Wailing Wall in Jerusalem is one of the saddest places on earth. Day after day faithful Jews stand before its imposing ruin, pouring out their souls to the Lord, asking him to send the promised Messiah. Quite apart from the sadness of their failure to recognize that Jesus is Messiah, the wall itself, the sole remnant of Israel’s majestic temple, speaks a solemn sadness of its own. It speaks silently of former glories long gone, of broken covenants and shattered dreams, of sin and judgment, and of false hopes.
When Solomon had finally completed the temple and his own palace, the Lord appeared to him one night. He told Solomon that if the people of Israel ever turned away from the Lord, he would send a series of increasingly alarming calamities (7:19-22). If the people refused to respond to the Lord and abandoned him, in the end they would be uprooted from the land and the temple would be destroyed. Then people would pass by for generations to come and wonder at the devastation of such a magnificent edifice. The people of Israel did turn away from the Lord, God’s promise of judgment was fulfilled, and the temple is no more—the Wailing Wall alone remains. Every day it stands in mute testimony to the consequences of Israel’s refusal to honor the Lord.
But the Lord did not only promise judgment on sin. He also offered a way to forgiveness and cleansing. The purpose of the promised calamities was not just to punish God’s people for their disobedience. God designed the disasters to precipitate repentance. If at any time the people would turn back to God in humility and true repentance, God would restore his blessings to them (7:14). This kind of repentance would not just consist of tearful promises, but of genuine sorrow, heartfelt grief, thorough forsaking of sin, and earnest calling on the Lord. This kind of repentance would release the promised blessings, not only for the repentant individuals but also for the communities of which they were a part.
Similar principles apply today. Willful sin is an affront to God, and it bears grave consequences. These consequences constitute divine judgment, which should lead to repentance and restoration. Many people recognize the need for a reversal of moral trends in their communities but fail to recognize the part God’s people must play. For there to be reversal in the community, there must be revival in the church. For revival in the church to happen, there must be renewal in the Christian. Reversal, revival, and renewal all stand waiting in line—for repentance!
For Further Study: 2 Chronicles 7:11-22
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