I wanted to call this post “Bumper Sticker Promises” but seeing as we’re not going anywhere right now, “Refrigerator Magnet Promises” seemed a little more apt. Though now that I’m thinking about it, “Social Media Promises” probably would’ve been even better. But oh well, I’ve already committed to the refrigerator magnet imagry.
There are certain promises of God that we see on Christian t-shirts, trinkets, bumper stickers, and social media. These are usually the feel-good verses that we want to hear. These are the warm and fuzzy promises—you’re never going to see “In this world, you will have trouble” framed on someone’s wall or in their Twitter profile.
For the past few days, we’ve been camped out in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God issues a loving warning to those he has called telling them that if they humbly pray and seek his face, then he will move on their behalf.
“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.” 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV)
This verse ends with three distinct promises that I think are all worthy of refrigerator magnet status:
- I will hear from heaven.
- I will forgive their sin.
- I will heal their land.
Those are incredible!
God Hears Us
I like the order of the promises in this verse—the good stuff starts with God. First, he hears us. We can’t forgive our sins or heal our land on our own. Sure, we change our behavior and start doing things differently, but that’s a bandaid when God wants to do some deep restorative work in us.
Can we just take a moment to acknowledge how amazing it is that the God of the entire universe hears us when we pray? He formed everything and he still makes time for us. He’s not too busy chilling with a VIP in heaven or thwarting something terrible from happening in another continent—he makes time for you. He hears you when we call out to him.
When we humble ourselves, pray, seek a relationship with him, and turn away from our sins, he notices. He doesn’t see us in order to judge us; he’s not grading us or keeping score. He’s not comparing us to our siblings or our friends or that really competitive coworker. He hears us and rejoices with us. It brings him joy when we choose to follow him instead of following ourselves.
How does the fact that God hears you make you feel?
God Forgives Our Sin
The next promise in this verse moves to us. God doesn’t go straight for the big stuff: healing an entire land is a big deal. If we, as his people, don’t experience forgiveness in our own lives, the land will quickly revert right back to the state it was before. He knows the value of one life and spends that intimate time with us, forgiving, healing, and redeeming that which has been lost, given away, or stolen.
Wherever God is, forgiveness and healing follow.
In the Bible, people who encountered God weren’t able to stay the same. Some of them leaned in and experienced the freedom and hope that he was offering. Others pulled away, clinging to whatever they valued more. But both groups of people were changed. And the same is true for us.
As we pursue a relationship with God instead of focusing on ourselves, we change. We experience the forgiveness of our sins (thank you Jesus!) and greater levels of freedom. When we truly seek him, he changes us.
How does forgiveness change how you live?
God Heals Our Land
The Lord hears us when we cry out to him, willingly dispensing forgiveness and healing. The last part of this verse moves us from a micro-miracle to a macro-miracle. God is both personal and intimate and able to see the big picture. He understands the world he created and the humanity that populates it better than we ever could. And his actions are always for our good and his glory.
I see this verse not only as a promise, but as an incredible invitation to partner with God in the redemptive work he’s doing in the world. As we experience more and more freedom and forgiveness, we will respond like Paul did saying, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) And I believe that as more of us pursue Christ and experience that daily forgiveness, our lives, communities, and land will begin to change.
What do you think “healing our land” means?
Let’s continue to pray, seek, and turn humbly, knowing that our good God does the miraculous and keeps his promises. Let’s expectantly do our part today!
What do these promises mean to you?
How have you seen these promises of God in your life?