“At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NLT)
Wait a minute! Did that verse just say that God might keep it from raining, send grasshoppers to eat our crops, or even send a plague? Why would a good God send bad things our way?
This verse comes under the larger topic of discipline. A good God would never put his blessing on spiritual rebellion or sin. In fact, God shows us that he loves us by confronting us in our sin and rebellion (Hebrews 12:7-8). When God sends his discipline, it is always because something needs to change! Usually, under these circumstances, we are praying for God to take the discipline away and praying for our circumstances to change. But God is working on us so that our hearts will change.
If something needs to change in your heart, you won’t find a better verse to guide you into real change than today’s passage:
- Humble yourself… that means we quit justifying, making excuses, and arguing with God about our sin and rebellion. He is God, and we are not.
- Pray… that means we get our focus and communication with Him back to priority status. We adore, confess, thank and ask Him to be our supply in all things.
- Seek His face… this means we quit running from God about our sin and start running to Him so He can do something about it. Just like a kid will want to not look a parent in the face during discipline, neither do we want to face up to God.
- Turn from wicked ways… Whatever it is that brings discipline needs to change. There are sins that we commit, but there are also sins we do by what we choose NOT to do. Both are rebellion and both are sin. We have to turn (repent) from these wicked ways and replace them with obedient ways.
God promises that if we will do these things He will hear us, forgive us, and restore us. A change in our heart will bring a change in our circumstances of discipline.
Talk to God today about discipline. Quit asking God for problems to go away and consider if your problems are God at work in you to discipline you into fullness of relationship with Him. If you discover this is the reason for your circumstances, walk through the four things above with God. Let Him change your heart first and then your circumstances.