Your love is enduring; through the winter rain
And beyond the horizon; with mercy for today
“Do you hear the people sing?”
Gathering crowds, cheering and honking in rainy Washington.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” — II Chronicles 7:14
It is often said that scripture is taken out of context or in some way doesn’t apply to us today. But God had many promises throughout the Bible and His promises are sure.
I have only a very casual interest in numerology but found something interesting referring to the scripture promise above. II Chronicles is the 14th book of the Bible. Then you have the 7th chapter and the 14th verse of the chapter. In total, you have five (5) sevens in that scripture reference.
So if you look at the Biblical significance of five, what do you find? The number is associated with grace, man, and the torah- having 5 books. Torah literally means: ‘instruction, doctrine, law,’ from yārāh ‘show, direct, instruct.’
Here are some links about the Biblical significance of the number 5:
You can also see that the number seven is analogous to completeness and spiritual perfection.
So, taken together, what do we see? The promise of II Chronicles 7:14 is a contract of grace with man to the seventh power of completion. God says if we do these things, i.e. humble ourselves and seek him, that he will come through in perfect grace. Seven times grace. That is a lot of grace.
It is less about who we are, and more about who HE is.
What can God do for a people?
Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.
Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD. – Ezekiel 36:22-38
Do we claim this promise?
Do we, who are called Christian, humble ourselves and pray?
Do we seek God with a perfect heart, and reject wickedness?
In many ways, it seems that we are at a tipping point.
Will God hear us, or is it too late?
Where does our help come from?
I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.
–Psalm 121 ESV
Here is a message that should motivate Christians. Below is the short version, full version in link below.
“And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14 (Young’s Literal translation)
General ideas from this post are co-opted from my pastor’s sermon, but it is in my own words and I’ve added a few ideas of my own🙂
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” –Matthew 7:13-14
Should we follow the crowd in gauging our opinions and reactions in life? Most people, it seems, will follow the crowd’s direction, even if their instincts tell them not to. Studies bear this out.
So, do we need to turn away from popular opinion?
God’s way is narrow, why would that be? Remember Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the Bible? (Or by their Hebrew names: Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah.) They didn’t just go through one test, meaning the test of whether they would bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s idol/statue, which meant a penalty of the fiery furnace. They also went through a test before that.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
Daniel and his three friends mentioned above determined not to eat the king’s meat, which was both dedicated to idols and was not the prescribed “clean” meats described in Leviticus 11. Had these young men not maintained their health eating the vegetarian diet they requested, they could have gotten themselves and their eunuch caretaker in trouble. However, in conquering this first test, they gained confidence that God would take care of them.
To win the “big test” it often starts with a series of smaller tests leading up to the big test. Maybe that is why the Bible is such a big book. Lots of people can talk about what is important in the Bible. But maybe we should simply spend more time reading it and applying it to our own lives. It is like a giant puzzle. You don’t put together a 1000-piece puzzle in one sitting. But the wisdom and mind of God is far more complex than that.
With our temporal existence and human limitations, how can we possibly hope to understand the mind and will of God?
We have to ask for such understanding.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. –Matthew 7:7-8
We see a lot of judgmentalism in today’s world from all directions. This is another way in which people follow the crowd. But there is no consistency. It is fun for people to pile on and give themselves the upper hand to look good. But do the people who are doing the judging keep God’s commandments – like God’s sabbath day, refraining from taking God’s name in vain, and eschewing modern idols like sports teams and players or carnal-minded music stars? No, you see the judging from all kinds of directions. Everyone seems to have their own “pet” sin that they protect. But they are quick to come down hard on someone who offends them for some reason, without any kind of evangelical or loving spirit.
How many Christians consider us transformed from death unto life upon becoming a Christian through baptism and faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice?
If we did, maybe we wouldn’t feel so judgmental. Maybe we would feel more like we should be in the “life-saving” business.
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. –Ephesians 2:1-10
Paul said (we) “were by nature the children of wrath” but God “quickened us together with Christ” and that we are saved by grace.
Still feeling judgmental?
God promises his Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him, and this is associated with baptism in which we die to self. Acts 10:45, Hebrews 6:4, Acts 2:38, Luke 24:49
And how does the Holy Spirit manifest in our lives?
In the below passage, there is a contrast of the fruits of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit. If you manifest one, you cannot manifest the other. This is a measuring stick for assessing ourselves, not for judging others.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. –Galatians 5:16-24
Daniel and the 3 Hebrew young men talked about at the beginning of this story weren’t interested in pointing a finger at anyone else. Nor were they interested in following the crowd, especially when it conflicted with God’s word. They were interested in pleasing God.
We have a clear direction from God.
“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” –Matthew 7:24-27
“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” –Galatians 6:3-5