Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Monday, September 28, 2020
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Almost 10 1/2 years ago I posted this article but with the upcoming election I continue to see 2 Chronicles 7:14 being used out of context to claim we have promises of God to heal our country. So here it is again to demonstrate that this passage has nothing to do with Christians and the USA.
This morning I received another one of those e-mails misusing 2 Chronicles 7:14, with the claim that if we all humble ourselves, pray, repent and turn to God, He will heal our nation. Well, it sounds good and makes everyone feel good to pass this on, but is it true? Let’s look at the actual passage in the New King James Version:
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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Okay, let’s examine this passage and see if there is any application at all to the USA and our current national problems.
Chapter 7 is about the dedication of the new temple Solomon had built in Jerusalem. But it follows chapter 6, which includes a lengthy prayer by Solomon beseeching God to hear the nation when they sin if they turn back to God and repent. After all the ceremony, which took place over several days, God appeared to Solomon at night (7:12) and responded to his prayer. Now, let’s look again at our passage in context, starting at verse 13:
“When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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 heal their land.”
First and foremost verse 14 is predicated on verse 13 (which itself is a response to Solomon’s prayer). WHEN God brings a curse/discipline on Israel, IF Israel repents, etc, THEN God will bring back the blessings. This is a promise to fulfill the prayer request of Solomon.
So, the promise of vs. 14 will be God’s action when Israel properly responds to God’s discipline. Now an important thing to remember is that, from the beginning of the Mosaic covenant with Israel, there was a condition of obedience in order to be blessed. We can see this condition in passages such as Leviticus 26:3-46 where God gives an “if, then” promise: IF Israel is careful to obey God’s commands, THEN God will give them physical blessings. In Deuteronomy chapters 28-30 we find that if Israel obeys God, their blessings will include children, crops, increased livestock, peace in the land, prosperity, and establishment as God’s holy people. In those same chapters we learn that if Israel disobeyed God’s commands, then God would bring discipline - curses - upon them, which would result in a lack of children, poor crops, enemies triumphing over them, poverty, and they would be scattered.
So let’s look at vs 14 with a couple annotations by me: If My people [Israel] 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land [in accordance with My covenant promises].
We know that the Old Testament is indeed for our instruction (Romans 15:4), but not every promise in it applies to the Christian; many were directed to specific individuals and incidents. Yes, Christians are now God’s people (and Israel also still is), and as a general rule, we know that God blesses those who obey him and disciplines those who disobey. But the promise of 2 Chronicles was a specific promise to a specific nation based on a specific covenant and in response to a specific prayer. Christians can not claim any part of this promise.
The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is based on the covenant between God and Israel; it is not based on God and any other nation or people. When the passage talks about God’s people, it is not about anyone but Israel. The USA has never been God’s people; only the nation of Israel has borne that title. Christians are indeed God’s people, but not as a nation. The promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is NOT for Christians.
Christian men and women, please use discernment and quit using this passage for political purposes. This passage is not about America and God has given no such promises to us no matter how much Christians would like to think so.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Sunday, September 13, 2020
And, sad to say, the guest pastor we had today (filling in for our regular pastor who is on a trip) did exactly that — he talked about small gatherings due to COVID-19 and cited Matthew 18:20. The church is in trouble when even pastors abuse Scripture to make a point.
Saturday, September 12, 2020
God, from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.
The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 3, paragraph 1.
This is double-talk and contradiction. If God ordained everything which comes to pass then it is thereby necessary that he ordained sin!
Rick Warren, in his Purpose Driven Life, even states that everything about you -- sex, body shape, race, hair color, eye color, etc -- was ordained by God and that everything we are doing or saying was ordained by God.
You can’t on one hand say everything has been ordained by God and then on the other hand say God doesn’t ordain sin. You can’t say on one hand that God ordained everything we do or say and then on the other hand say we are responsible for everything we do or say.
Calvinism indeed makes humans nothing but pre-programmed puppets.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
In the text just cited [Jer. 7:1-29], it seems clear that God truly desired for his children to repent and turn from their self-destructive ways. That God sent prophets to them over and over suggests not only that he wanted them to repent but also that they were able to do so. The prophets themselves were a means of grace by which the truth confronted Israel and made repentance possible. God’s threatening to punish them for their refusal to repent implies that they were responsible precisely because the could have repented and yet freely chose not to do so.
Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell, Why I Am Not A Calvinist, pg.117
Sunday, September 6, 2020
Works consist of exertion with the hope of earning something from God; faith is the abandonment of every hope of establishing ourselves before God or coercing diving favor.
Jerry L. Walls and Joseph R. Dongell, Why I Am Not A Calvinist, pg.70