If my people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked way, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  II Chronicles 7:14
This is a powerful verse and a mighty promise from God, and it has been repeated in reference to our country countless times.  As I take yet another look at this verse in the wake of the tragedy of the destructions of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, and I want to share with you what I see.

First of all, there is a clarification..."If my people..."  We would like to look at the decline in our country of its moral fiber and blame the turmoil, the increase in crime, the recent terrorist attack, the decline in our economy and loss of jobs, and many more ills that plague our land and blame it on those that live a lifestyle contrary to what we see outlined in the Bible--the homosexual, those that promote abortions, the murderers, the government, the ACLU.  But this promise is so clear.  God is talking to "his people", the Christian, the Israelite, those that believe in Him and put their trust in Him, not to the unbeliever.  Do you get it?  Do you see that it didn't matter where Israel lived.  It didn't matter if they had their own land where they lived free, or were held captive in Egypt.  The promise was to them with a responsibility.

The responsibility was first to "Humble ourselves".  It is so easy to look at the other guy and say it's all his fault.  It is easy to say our country is not doing their job.  We're being persecuted.  We are hated when we stand up for what is right.  But it is so clear that we must first humble ourselves.  We have to come to the place where we realize we are no better than anyone else.  And just because we don't do some of the things other people do, we are no more acceptable in God's eyes, no better, no less sinful.  To be humble means to realize who and what we are in the eyes of an almighty, pure, perfect, holy God.  We are nothing.  The only reason we can stand in his presence today is because Christ's blood covers us.  When God looks at me, he sees Christ and the payment Christ made on the cross for my sin.  It isn't on my merits, not because of anything I've done that is so good, because he says my righteousness is as filthy rags.  Only because of the sacrifice of Jesus, can I have a relationship with the almighty God.  Who am I to accuse, point fingers at anyone else and blame them for what is happening to our country.  We must humble ourselves before God.

Once we humble ourselves, then God says we must pray and seek his face.  I've wondered many times what does it mean to "seek His face"?  I think it means that I don't just come to God with my agenda.  I come to him to know him.  I like to see the face of the one I'm speaking to, especially if speaking about important matters.  I want to see their expressions, their eyes, their body language.  Our voice and words are only part of communication.  But we don't see God as we see another human being.  I think seeking his face means learning about him and what he desires.  It means getting to know him and his heart.  We can only do that when we spend time with him both in prayer and in reading His words to us.  We can know him intimately, and that is what His desire is.  When we know him intimately, then we know more about what He wants to do in our lives and hearts.  We can see more clearly the things that keep us at a distance from Him that we need to change.  This is where the "turning from their wicked ways" comes in.  It is too easy to look at the outward sins, like murder, rape, sexual abuse, theft, adultery, homosexuality, to name a few, and overlook some critical matters of the heart, like hate, jealousy, bitterness, unresolved anger, lust, unforgiveness.  These are the things that can keep us from drawing close to God...keep us from "seeking his face".  But if this promise is to be ours and we are to do what our part to get to the end result, then we need to seek his face, thereby seeing those things in our life that are not pleasing to him and are not profitable to us.

Now, some people stop there and omit the next part of our responsibility.  He says "and turn from their wicked ways".  That means we can no longer continue doing those things that displease him, that keep us from having a healthy relationship with him, and keep us in bondage so to speak because the things he tells us to turn away from are self-destructive as well as destructive to others.    We must turn away from those things, whatever they are in our lives.  For me, it might be different than what you need to turn away from.  But still, I must do my part and turn away from whatever he tells me to turn away from, to stop participating in those things that are wicked, or hurtful to myself and others in my life.

Once I have completed my part, and when we have all completed our part, then and only then can we look to him to fulfill his part of the promise...."then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins (the sins of his people remember) and will heal their land."

I want to see our land healed.  I want to see us be united, to love one another, to accept one another.  I want to see our land once again prosper and be the great nation we once were and can be again.  It doesn't matter what my neighbor does or doesn't do.  It doesn't matter what my government does or doesn't do.  It doesn't matter what the ACLU does, or the various militant groups that have risen up over the years.  What matters is what I  and my fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord do.

Let's do our part to see this promise fulfilled in our land.  Let's quit blaming everyone else and look at ourselves.  If our land is not healed, we have no one to blame but ourselves.