Bud Ahlheim of Pulpit & Pen tackles the 2 Chronicles 7:14 controversy. According to Ahlheim, this verse is ripped out of context and applied to Christians living in America because God refers to “my people.”
“We wield it as a promise,” says Ahlheim, “imbue with perceived power, and expect from it a divinely-induced revival.” Exactly. But is this a correct application of 2 Chronicles 7:14?
In is piece, Bud examines 2 Chronicles 7:14 and demonstrates the way in which the verse is taken out of context and is used it in a way that the original author did not mean for it to be used. He writes:
Thursday, May 5 has been designated as the National Day of Prayer. America has annually observed such a day of supplication since Harry S Truman signed the designatory bill into law in 1952. On Thursday, millions of American Christians will gather together or will individually pause to specifically pray for America. That’s good.
While we’re admonished by the Apostle Paul to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) he also wrote the following words to Timothy about the specificity of our prayers:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Indeed, that “is good.” We should be regularly praying for our leaders. You probably don’t even need to turn on the nightly news to figure out why.
But here’s where so many Christians – including pastors and Christian leaders – veer off the Scripturally-prescribed path of nationalistic prayer. They jerk a verse out of Scripture, out of context, and wrongly apply it to our pleas to God for America. We wield it as a promise, imbue with perceived power, and expect from it a divinely-induced revival. You know the verse.
2 Chronicles 7:14 has to be the most oft-referenced Old Testament text when this day rolls around. As biblically-illiterate as most typical believers are, this verse is probably their second most favorite Old Testament Scripture, following behind, perhaps, Isaiah 9:6 (“For unto us a child is born …”) when it’s used during the Christmas season. The average pew-sitter tends to disregard the Old Testament, to the great demise of their own edification.
Instead, many believers leave that chunk of pages at the front of their Bibles lying dormant as they furiously flip in their verse-plucking endeavors to their favorite inspiring New Testament texts. We prefer something like, say, Philippians 4:13, which, as with the Chronicles verse, is also equally ripped out of context and wrongly applied. But it makes us feel inspired, empowered, and hopeful. That’s okay, right? Umm, no.
Faith is based on truth, not feelings. Scripture conveys truth. If you get the meaning wrong – and there is ONLY one meaning – those inspirational “feelings” you get may just leave you wondering, “Why wasn’t I actually able to ‘do all things’ like it said?” when the subsequent “promised” results aren’t forthcoming. To get the meaning wrong means to get the truth wrong.
The same thing happens with this ubiquitous National Day of Prayer verse. We’ve been praying for over 60 years on this allotted day for God to “heal our land” and it just doesn’t seem to be working. Are there not enough of us praying? Are we not sincere enough? God’s not “healing our land.” Things are getting worse. What’s the deal?
Could it be … we’ve got it wrong? Yes. Yes, we do. Continue reading