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Putting an Old Testament lesson into modern day perspective

Columbia Biblical Studies: Friday, May 23
Columbia Biblical Studies: Friday, May 23
George Grimm Howell

Today’s bible study is 2 Chronicles 7:14: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

This is a difficult biblical verse to understand on several levels. The first is defining who is speaking. The second is turning from wicked ways and, finally, what will be done to heal the land? Often Old Testament verses are more difficult to understand and appreciate than those of the New Testament.

MacArthur’s Bible Commentary helps us to understand this and to put it into modern day perspective by explaining that unlike ancient Israel, America is not a covenant nation. God has made no promise to our physical ancestors that guarantee our national status. If Israel had to fulfill the conditions for divine blessing, even though God had covenanted with them as His chosen people, America certainly has no inviolable claim on the blessing of God. As long as unbelief and disobedience to the Word of God color the soul of our nation, we cannot expect the blessing of God.

That is why the spiritual state of the churches in our nation is the key to the blessing of the nation as a whole. If God is going to bless America, it will not be for the sake of the nation itself. He blesses the nation, and has always done so, for the sake of his people. If we who are called by His name are not fulfilling the conditions for divine blessing, there is no hope whatsoever for the rest of the nation.

On the other hand, if the church is fit to receive God’s blessing, the whole nation will be the beneficiary of that, because the Word of God will be proclaimed with power, God will add to His church, and spiritual blessings of all kinds will result. And those are the truest blessings of all.

Lord, help us to beneficiaries of God’s blessing through our belief and our love of God. O gracious father, forgive us our weaknesses and strengthen our faith that we may stand more firmly, believe more strongly, and understand your will more clearly. Help us, O God, to receive spiritual blessings, those which are the greatest blessings of all.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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