"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (II Chronicles 7:14)
I lost count of the number of well meaning e-mails and articles I’ve received over the years encouraging me to pray for our country based upon the teaching found in II Chronicles 7:14. Now, I know that we are encouraged to pray for those in authority over us and to pray without ceasing, and to pray that righteousness prevail and to pray about all things...however, those well meaning Christians are using the wrong scripture to emphasize this type of prayer. Am I "pickin’ nits" again? Perhaps! The II Chronicles passage was written to a specific group known as God’s people in contradistinction to other nations in the world and those people had a LAND, a promised land. Time and again this verse was played out in the life of Israel. They forsook the Lord, calamity occurred, they cried to the Lord and God raised up a deliverer and healed their land; promises fulfilled. (Judges 2:13,18; 3:7,9,12,15, etc, etc)
If II Chronicles is to be spiritually applied today by the Christian believer, the first thing I want to know is where is our land that God promised to heal? Bear in mind we have believers, i.e., brothers in Christ, all over the world. Do we have a common land on this planet that we can seek His face to heal? Of course, the answer is, NO! Israel was the only people that had been called the "people of God", i.e., "my people", AND had a LAND. Can the Israeli of today pray and expect a healing of their land as described in the II Chronicles passage? The answer is also, NO! Why? Because God’s Kingdom has been enlarged and expanded from the approximate 56,700 square miles encompassed by the "promised land" of the OT to the entire world of today, and ultimately to the "new Jerusalem and the new heavens and the new earth". "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) The present State of Israel occupies only approximately 8300 square miles of that original turf anyway...and before long it may be less. Through what nation is God now working, if not Israel? The answer, "the Israel of God" (Gal 6:16) Of whom does the Israel of God consist? Amazingly enough it consists of Jews......and Dutch and Irish and Germans and Croatians and Slovenians and Arabs and Chinese and Japanese and Americans, among many others. The Israel of God consists of "every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev 5:9); also described as a "wild olive tree" which has been grafted into that original olive tree and partakers with them of the rich root of that original (paraphrase of Rom 11:24); Peter calls it, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation.." (I Pet 2:9a)
Should we then not pray for our nation, no matter where our nation is? Of course, we should not only pray for our nation but we should also work outwardly the salvation that has been worked inwardly in us and to promote in every possible way that His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Just remember though, this isn’t the promised land. We, like Abraham of old, are seeking a city that hath foundations whose builder and maker is God. (Heb 11:10) Meantime, the wheat and the tares are going to grow together. (Matt 13:24-30) Ours is to be the seasoning salt and the illuminating light set on a high hill in a darkened land. We are in the world, but not of it. He just may heal our land, wherever it is, but it won’t be because He promised that to us in II Chronicles 7:14.