“If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” - 2 Chronicles 7:14
Today’s verse from the Old Testament is the continuation of a thought from a previous verse that is conditional. God says, “I can decide to destroy this land, but if,” … “my people will humble themselves, pray, seek My face and repent, then I will forgive them and heal their land.” Some people see God as a cosmic dictator or killjoy who is only out to deprive humanity of fun to control us. But this idea is not the least bit true. God is a loving Father who wants what’s best for His children. Good parenting requires timely and healthy discipline. This discipline gives its return mostly in the form of a successful and fruitful servant-filled life. God will discipline His children, but He will also restore health and vibrancy to a life decimated by sin; but only when we repent. Repentance involves admitting sin and turning from sin in an opposite direction. Being sorry is not necessarily repentance. Sorrow that leads to godly decisions and seeking God and His direction is a sign of true sorrow over sin.
While it may seem overly extreme, true repentance will take extreme new choices. Foregoing sin and having godly self-control will result in a person seeking the face of God and turning from sinful practices. This is why Paul told the believers at Corinth:
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…” - 2 Corinthians 7:9-10
Paul understood that, though conviction is painful, it leads to freedom in turning from our sin and experiencing forgiveness. Later in the chapter he would celebrate the zeal and passion the believers at Corinth had come to know. This is the natural result from a genuine repentance. Ask the Lord to forgive you for specific sins. Do not be too general. Aim at the bullseye of the target of a specific sin. Tell God what you have done, agree with Him that it is sin, and turn from that sin. He will heal what you need healed.
In conclusion, take some time to read and reflect on the following questions:
- What’s keeping you back from seeking forgiveness from the Lord? See Isaiah 55:6-7
- Is there unrepentant sin in your life? See Psalm 66:18
- In your life personally, what obedience is needed in response to this passage? See Psalm 143:10