If My People :: By Grant Phillips

In this article I will be sharing with you parts of 2 Chronicles 7:12ff. Verse 14 is often quoted, but do we really hear what God is saying in this verse, and do we even bother to read what surrounds this particular verse?

Some will think I am taking this passage completely out of context, but am I really? I do not think so. I am convinced that it is very appropriate for us today. Some actually do not feel the Old Testament is of much relevance to us today, but “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Also see Malachi 3:6.

The apostle Paul said by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that not just the New Testament, but also the Old Testament was written for our benefit.

“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4, emphasis mine).

“Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:11, emphasis mine).

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, emphasis mine).

It is understood that the message is specifically about the temple that Solomon built and the nation of Israel, and was a message from God to the Jewish people. The question arises, “Can any of this be applicable to us as well?” Can we see a parallel to us? Can we fit this into our circumstances and hear what God has to say to us as well? The answer to all three questions is, “Yes.” Even though Israel was a theocracy and we are not, the answer to all three questions remains the same.

In 2 Chronicles 7, Solomon has finished the temple (v. 11). Beginning at verse 12, the Lord appeared to Solomon at night with a response to his prayer. As we look at these Scriptures, I will be interjecting this country specifically.

Verse 12

“Then the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice.'”

God said He had chosen Solomon’s finished temple as a place of worship. Now, I am certainly not trying to make this country as important and holy as the temple of Solomon, but “holy” does mean “set apart for God’s purpose.” There is no doubt that God set this country apart in the beginning to serve Him. Our forefathers were primarily Christians who came here to have a place to freely worship the Lord Jesus Christ. That being said, much has been expected of us, just as much was expected of Israel. Despite our many shortcomings, God’s handprints are all over this country.

Verse 13

“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people,”

This verse is an edict from God saying that if Israel sinned against Him, He would send punishment to bring them to their senses. Israel did sin. They went after false gods, and God punished them mightily. Since this country was set apart to be a beacon for God, punishment will befall us also when we turn our backs upon Him. If God would bring down severe judgment upon the ‘apple of His eye,’ what would make us exempt? We are not exempt. Instead, we laugh at the one holding the whip.

Verse 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

God told Israel via Solomon, and He is telling us that if we turn back to Him, He will heal our land. Looking closer at this verse, please notice:

Who are “My people” in this verse? Israel definitely, but are not all who are saved by the blood of Jesus, God’s people? Abraham, who was not a Jew, was saved by faith, as was Lot. Moses, Ruth, Rahab and David were saved by faith. Every Jew and Gentile saved by the blood of Jesus the Messiah is classified as “My people.”

On the other hand, many who came to Solomon’s temple and Moses’ tabernacle were not “My people” because they did not come to God by faith in Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Many today, and throughout the ages, who claim they are Christians are not “My people” for the same reason.

Therefore, every person in Solomon’s day who came by the blood to worship was considered as “My people,” and every person today who comes to God by the blood of Jesus is considered as “My people.”

God was speaking to His people when He responded to Solomon, and that message is also ours to heed. I have no doubt that as God was speaking to Solomon, He was looking down the corridor of time to us and saying, “Pay attention. This is for you too.”

I’ve used this illustration before, but I’ll use it again of two siblings. When one sibling gets a tongue- lashing from their parent, don’t think for a minute the words from the parent don’t also apply to the other sibling. They most certainly do apply to both, and what was said to God’s people in the Old Testament also applies to us in the New Testament era.

God’s people can and do sin against the very God who saved them. Not only do we sin, but we can sin in the most horrendous ways possible. Much of the rebelling against God in this country is by those who are not God’s people, but God isn’t speaking to them. He is speaking to His people, because His people have become spineless and worldly.

“…if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).

God said He would do three things for us, but we have to do four things first. The things He said He would do are:

  1. “I will HEAR from Heaven,”
  2. “and will FORGIVE their sin”
  3. “and HEAL their land.”

What does He expect from us? He lists four items, which are:

  1. “HUMBLE themselves”
  2. “and PRAY”
  3. “and SEEK my face”
  4. “and TURN FROM their wicked ways.”

If the true Christians in this country, as a nation, would HUMBLE ourselves, PRAY, SEEK His face and TURN FROM our wicked ways, I really believe God would HEAR us, FORGIVE us and HEAL our land. If we don’t do this, we guarantee our own judgment. We will have no one to blame but ourselves.

I’m sure many will object and say, “But it’s those who don’t believe in Him and hate Jesus who are destroying this country.” That reminds me of the child saying to the parent just before the spanking, “But what about them!” He isn’t speaking to them. He is speaking to us, you and me. He is telling us that we (My people) are neck deep in sin and we are not humbling ourselves before Him. We are not praying. We are not seeking Him. We are not turning from our wicked ways.

Notice what He says in the next verse.

Verse 15

“Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.”

First we humble ourselves, and then we pray. He says He is awake, simply meaning that He is alert. He is waiting. He is focused on our prayers. Are we seeking His face? Also, very importantly, are we turning from our wicked ways?

Verse 17

“As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments,”

Now, obviously, we do not fall under the same promise God gave David as spoken in the next verse … verse 18. However, I believe if we go back to the same mindset of our forefathers and put God first in all we do, our days will be long as a nation. On the other hand, if we continue as we are, the remaining verses spell out our judgment as well.

Verse 19

“But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them,”

Verse 20

“then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples.”

Verse 21

“And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and this house?'”

Verse 22

“Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.'”

Again, references to the temple, Egypt, etc., do not apply to us, but the judgment handed down to Israel can just as easily befall the United States of America.

I acknowledge that those responsible for removing any and everything associated with the one and only true God of Heaven are those who do not know Him and who hate Him. Unfortunately, many true Christians have sat back and not only allowed it to happen, but have also jumped in the pool alongside them. Is it any wonder that it is difficult these days to tell who is a true Christian and who is not?

Many Christians have joined the swine (Luke 15:16) in the far-off country and need to come home to the Father. Some will be offended by this statement, but it must be true. If it were not true, we would not be at the brink of severe judgment we are facing in this land. We must all humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways if there is any hope of the Lord hearing us, saving us and healing our land.

Grant Phillips

Email: Phillip5769@twc.com

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html

What Shall I Do? :: By Grant Phillips

How many of us are like the little fellow in the picture above? We don’t want to ‘make any waves.’ We don’t want to offend anyone. We want to be accepted by all, and we want to follow Christ. We don’t do anything that would put us in a negative light. So we compromise. To ‘compromise’ is just a socially acceptable way of ‘straddling the fence.’

To compromise sounds so honorable. It scratches our itch and makes us feel so good about ourselves. Shouldn’t we all compromise and just try to get along?

Compromising is fine for children who are being taught to share. It is fine for employers and unions who are working at reaching an agreement. It is fine in other instances, but there are some things in life that just cannot be compromised. For example: the loyalty of a married couple to stay faithful to each other; the loyalty of a friend to not repeat what has been told confidentially, etc.

The greatest issues come with our relationship to God, if we are His child. Jesus makes it very clear.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

“He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30).

The word “mammon” in Matthew 6:24 refers to riches, specifically money, but anything else can apply. We could say: You cannot serve God and a job, politics, entertainment, pleasure, education, etc., etc.

How often do Christians straddle the fence in our family life, at the job, and even at church? I once had a good friend (he’s with the Lord now) who always went with the crowd on anything at the church business meeting so as not to offend anyone. Often, Christians see things happening in the church that are not in accordance with God’s word, but say nothing. They just straddle the fence. In other words, by straddling the fence, they compromise their integrity and their obedience to God.

Maybe on the job, someone tells an off-color joke. What do we do? Do we at least walk away, or do we laugh at the joke? A friend may ask us to lie for them to help them get out of a fix. Do we?

We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We don’t want to make anyone mad. We don’t want to offend in any way, but we sure don’t mind offending God, do we?

Just think how many Christians have acquiesced to society’s demand that homosexuality is okay … not only okay, but approved by God. How many pastors have accepted this lie? How many pastors have turned a blind eye to people living together and not married? For that matter, how many pastors even mention ‘sin’ or ‘hell’ from the pulpit? That’s called straddling the fence, folks. They have compromised themselves to Satan’s will and defied the God they SAY they know.

For a good example of straddling the fence, the 21st century church could look in God’s mirror, and He would show us Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22). This is the predominant church of today that has eaten from Satan’s banquet table for so long, it has no values left.

Then there is the true Church of Philadelphia Jesus commends (Revelation 3:7-13). This is the Church that goes against the tide. It stands for the Truth, and its fruit is integrity. This is the Church that is called the bride of Christ and is waiting for His promised return.

“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

When I think of straddling the fence, I always think of what Joshua said to the people of his day. There was no compromising with Joshua.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

And let us not forget Elijah. His remarks are one of the clearest in the Bible against fence-huggers.

“And Elijah came to all the people, and said, ‘How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).

I’ll close with one other example, and that is Lot. We all know the story of Lot and his family and how God moved them to safety before He destroyed Sodom, Gomorrah and the surrounding cities. Peter said Lot was a righteous person.

“and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7-8).

Lot was a man of God; and he, of course, was a righteous man, not because of his own righteousness, but because of the righteousness of God.

I just want to point out that Lot was a fence-hugger and he suffered for it. He obviously compromised many of his Godly beliefs living in Sodom. His wife was so weak in her faith (if she had any), she was turned into a pillar of salt. He lost his home, his sons-in-law, his wife, and later impregnated his two daughters because of his drunkenness. He was still a man of God, but He made some really bad decisions, just like many of us do.

If we choose, we can appoint today to be the day that we no longer hug the fence and compromise what God holds as Truth.

Grant Phillips

Email: Phillip5769@twc.com

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html