2 Chronicles 7:14

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Having been raised during the 1980’s and the rise of the Religious Right, I’ve heard many sermons misusing 2 Chronicles 7:14 calling the United States to revival. I came across a website that misuses 2 Chronicles saying, “Most Bible teachers will tell you that there are no formulas with God, yet here recorded in 2 Chronicles is one of the most amazing passages of scripture that contains a formula for revival. This verse is a conditional statement: there are four conditions.  If the four conditions are met there are three promises that God will bestow on His people.”[1] Because of the wording of this passage, there are those who see God’s people as the church. One preacher writes, “When an unbeliever sees disasters come upon him, can he cry out and be heard from God? He can and should cry out to God, but he has no assurance that God will hear him. Clearly this promise does not belong to them. We can see this by the term ‘My people’ God uses. If this is not convincing enough, He again says, “Who are called by My Name.” These words do not apply to the unbeliever but to God’s people.”[2] Using this passage incorrectly can lead to thinking this passage is a universal truth; however, reading in the context it’s written reveals something entirely different.

To interpret scripture correctly, it is not only important to consider the literary context of the passage itself, but to consider its historical context. [3] Reading the historical context of 2 Chronicles 7:14, we see Solomon has assumed the throne of Israel and has built the temple for the Lord.[4] In chapter 6 (verses 12-42), Solomon prays a prayer of dedication. He prays that the Lord would be attentive to his prayers and the prayers of his people that are offered in the temple being dedicated.[5] Years after the dedication prayer, God appears to Solomon in his palace and makes the promise found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. This passage is a promise given to Solomon and to the nation of Israel.[6]

The passage 2 Chronicles 7:14 provided hope, encouragement, and support for Solomon and the nation of Israel and not to modern readers. Reading the surrounding chapters and the history points to this fact. For modern readers, passages like Acts 3:19-20 (Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you.) provide hope, encouragement, and support.

 

 

 

[1] “A Call To Revival – 2 Chronicles 7:14 ,” Hope Ministries, accessed March 31,2014 http://www.hopeministries.biz/Teachings/CallToRevival.htm

[2] Paul J. Bucknell, “Revival: God’s Promise (Part I),” foundationsforfreedom.net, n.d. http://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/References/OT/Historical/1-2Chronicles/2Chronicles07.14Revival1.html

[3] Eric J. Bargerhuff, The Most Misused Verses of the Bible. (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers, 2012), 72.

[4] Ibid, 73.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, 75.

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