Today’s Bible reading: 2 Chronicles 6:12-8:10; Romans 7:14-8:8; Psalm 18:1-15; Proverbs 19:24-25
Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles is a great example of what a prayer should be. He starts off by thanking God for keeping His promises (2 Chronicles 6:15). He then asks God to keep His other promises (2 Chronicles 6:16). God wants us to count on the promises He has made – that is part of faith.
According to Solomon our prayers should be earnest and humble (2 Chronicles 6:21). Too often we pray as if God owes us something. Rather we should pray with a humble spirit of gratitude for all God has already done for us.
With so many negative things happening to the United States in the past decade or so, we constantly hear people wondering why such things happen. Well, this chapter tells us. It is God who sends defeat upon a country at the hands of its enemies (2 Chronicles 6:24). It is God who sends drought and weather-related events (2 Chronicles 6:26, 28).
These verses also tell us why God sends these things. He does it because of our sin. He’s not trying to get us back, He’s trying to win us back by reminding us that He exists. But we blame international policy or global warming for these problems.
But there is still hope, albeit, in my opinion, a very faint one. God made a promise to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 in which He vowed to forgive their sins and restore them if they would approach Him with humility, turn from their sin, and seek Him. This was a promise made specifically to Israel (“people who are called by My name”). But the principle is still applicable today.
While God does not make any promise to forgive and restore the United States if we humbly seek Him and turn from our sin, it is clear that He won’t if we don’t. But if we do then maybe God will forgive us (and, boy, do we need to be forgiven) and restore us to the glory that we once had so many decades ago.
God makes another promise in 2 Chronicles 7:19-20, but this one is tied to Israel’s disobedience. If they disobeyed and served other gods, He would uproot them from their land and make them a mockery to the surrounding nations. This is exactly the road Israel took and, unfortunately, this is the same road I see the United States taking. We ignore the true God. We have many other gods that we spend much more time with: television, sports, sex, career, etc. I fear that our enemies will one day soon conquer us and the United States will be the punchline of a humiliating joke for centuries.
The constant struggle of a Christian is eloquently described by Paul in Romans 7 today. People who ignore God don’t know or care if what they do is wrong. But when a person is born-again he or she becomes aware of their sin. The problem is, no one can break free from it – not even the great apostle Paul (Romans 7:15-23).
Notice that Christians are given a new mind (Romans 7:23). We are in agreement with God’s law whereas previously we were not. But inside our bodies there is still a sinful power that is fighting against this new mindset.
As someone who has been a Christian for over 20 years I can tell you that this is a war that is waged daily and will never cease until the day I die. Some battles I win. Some I lose. But…
… there is hope! Despite being a child of God who struggles with sin, God will never condemn me (Romans 8:1). This justifiably famous verse is a great comfort to believers when we sin. We often condemn ourselves. Satan always condemns us. The world calls us hypocrites. But God, who already forgave, still calls us His sons and daughters.
If someone is not at least convicted by their sin then they most likely are not saved and don’t have the Holy Spirit living inside them (Romans 8:5). The very fact that it bothers someone when they sin is at least some proof that they are saved.
When David was in trouble God helped him (Psalm 18). But notice that God didn’t just saunter in at His leisure. He came running with His all His power and might (Psalm 18:7-14). Christians are God’s children (John 1:12). And God will not hesitate to fight for us against any person or spirit that tries to harm us.
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