2 Chronicles 7:14 America’s Prayer?

Posted on October 11, 2012

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The practice of isolating Scripture verses often causes us to apply some usage of that verse which is totally out of context, and not supported by Scripture. One such verse that is very often misused today is 2 Chronicles 7:14. This has become a very common verse in America, which is used as a call for national repentance for national healing (of which there is certainly a grave need). However, there are many problems with that particular usage of this verse, and the first thing we need to do is put it in the proper context. In 2 Chronicles chapter six, Solomon makes an earnest plea to God on behalf of Israel.

2 Chronicles 6:17–42 (NKJV)

17 And now, O Lord God of Israel, let Your word come true, which You have spoken to Your servant David. 18 “But will God indeed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built! 19 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O Lord my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You: 20 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple day and night, toward the place where You said You would put Your name, that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. 21 And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive. 22 “If anyone sins against his neighbor, and is forced to take an oath, and comes and takes an oath before Your altar in this temple, 23 then hear from heaven, and act, and judge Your servants, bringing retribution on the wicked by bringing his way on his own head, and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness. 24 “Or if Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and their fathers. 26 “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance. 28 “When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 29 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: 30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men), 31 that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You gave to our fathers. 32 “Moreover, concerning a foreigner, who is not of Your people Israel, but has come from a far country for the sake of Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm, when they come and pray in this temple; 33 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to You, that all peoples of the earth may know Your name and fear You, as do Your people Israel, and that they may know that this temple which I have built is called by Your name. 34 “When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, 35 then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 36 “When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to a land far or near; 37 yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of their captivity, saying, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, and have committed wickedness’; 38 and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, where they have been carried captive, and pray toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen, and toward the temple which I have built for Your name: 39 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive Your people who have sinned against You. 40 Now, my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and let Your ears be attentive to the prayer made in this place. 41 “Now therefore, Arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. Let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, And let Your saints rejoice in goodness. 42 “O Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your Anointed; Remember the mercies of Your servant David.”

In chapter seven, we see God’s answer to Solomon’s prayer.

2 Chronicles 7:12–22 (NKJV)

12 Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: “I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. 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, 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. 16 For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. 17 As for you, if you walk before Me as your father David walked, and do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, 18 then I will establish the throne of your kingdom, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man as ruler in Israel.’ 19 “But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods, and worship them, 20 then I will uproot them from My land which I have given them; and this house which I have sanctified for My name I will cast out of My sight, and will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. 21 “And as for this house, which is exalted, everyone who passes by it will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land and this house?’ 22 Then they will answer, ‘Because they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and embraced other gods, and worshiped them and served them; therefore He has brought all this calamity on them.’ ”

Notice that Solomon’s prayer was specifically for Israel, and God’s response was specifically for Israel. The phrase “my people” refers to a group of people (a nation), not to individuals. This is evidenced not only by the context, but by the use of the Hebrew word “am,” which itself, refers to a group of people in its most common usage. On this note, there are some important points to be made.

First, there is only one nation that ever has been or ever will be called by God’s name, and that is Israel. Israel is the only nation to ever have a covenant relationship with God. Therefore, that rules out any application to America.

Second, Israel has a land grant, given by God. That means they have a “land” to heal. In contrast, the church cannot be the group of people referred to in this verse, because the church has no land grant and no specfic national identity, therefore we have no “land” to heal. Once again, this rules out both the church and America as recipients of this promise. The end result is that any application of this verse to America is unwarranted, and unsupported by Scripture.

Does this mean that America is a hopeless case? Let’s take a look at what we know from Scripture.

Lack of anything resembling the United States in end times prophecy indicates that the U.S. will no longer be a major world power by the time the tribulation begins. Some nations will survive the tribulation, and for all we know, America could be one of them. However, at the end of the tribulation, some nations will rise against Israel. We see this in Ezekiel chapters 38-39. Apparently, America will not be one of those nations. Even so, It is apparent that Israel will stand alone, she will have no earthly allies, not even America. By the end of the tribulation, all of the nations have earned God’s wrath, and will be judged. This will include America, if it is still around. In the end, only one nation on earth will be restored, and that will be Israel.

Revelation 19:11–16 (NKJV)

11 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

We know that these nations will exist in some form during the millennium, because Christ will rule them with a rod of Iron. We also know that the nations will be deceived by satan and gathered for battle one last time at the conclusion of the millennium, at which time they will be devoured with fire.

Revelation 20:7-9

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

After this, come the new heaven and the new earth. The new earth will be crowned with the new Jerusalem, a continuation of Israel. The bottom line is, America is headed toward judgment. It will happen at some point. There will be no redemption or restoration of the United States. Having said that, we don’t know God’s timetable. Because of that, we don’t know what will happen in the meantime. It’s certainly possible that there may be some times of prosperity ahead, but if so, its only temporary. In fact, there is no mention of anything resembling the United States in the end times prophecies. This would lead me to conclude that the United States, at best, will be a minor player on the world stage.

So, while we can’t use 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a promise for America, or for any nation other than Israel, we should still pray. We can pray for revival in the church, so that more people will be spared the tribulation and added to God’s kingdom. We should pray for our leaders so that we may have peace during our time here.

1 Timothy 2:1–2 (NKJV)

1 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.

We definitely need to be in prayer, but 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not for America, and we will not see it fulfilled in America. The only way to make 2 Chronicles 7:14 apply to America, would be to accept a replacement type theology, in which either America or the church are viewed as the modern day Israel. The problems with that type of careless and non-literal Bible interpretation are innumerable. On the other hand, we see in this verse a beautiful picture of repentance and restoration. While 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not really meant for personal application either, it does paint a beautiful picture. One only needs to look to 1 John 1:9 to see a similar promise to us.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)

9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What a wonderful God we serve!

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