“if my people who are called by my name 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.” 2 Chron 7:14. ESV
During the ‘Pause time’ at CCD the above verse has been quoted to encourage us to seek God & pray. I have to admit that I have struggled with this verse & the possible implications in it. But the major one is contained in the phrase “turn from their wicked ways” which to me seemed to be at odds with grace & Father’s forgiveness. However, whilst reading a book on Jonah by Greg Haslam, I needed to reassess my understanding of that phrase and the potential of “humbling ourselves” before God.
I don’t think we have any obvious murderers or criminals in CCD but we might think and feel that perhaps “wicked ways” apply to others in the church who may have clandestine secrets in, but it is most definitely not me!
There are two massive promises in this verse “forgiveness” for us personally and corporately AND “healing for our land” – our city (and beyond).What would Dundee look like if no longer the butt of jokes about poverty, cultural deprivation, drugs and drink. Insults like a ‘city of pot boilers’ a reminder of poorer days and cotton barons greed, replaced by fairness and favour for all? Free from economic deprivation and sickness – even Corona virus! Regeneration projects are welcome and helpful but true and lasting “Regeneration” will only come through our God, through us.
Yes! our tiny band of believers in CCD – “US”, could be the catalyst for change in our great city. The qualifications are humility and repentance – in 1 Peter 5:6 it says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”
The ‘timing’ is always God’s but He will only act when we place ourselves in a place to receive mercy, forgiveness and grace. So what’s the big deal? I don’t steal, cheat, lie! But don’t we, often on a regular even daily basis we probably do. We can be economic with the truth (lying), obtain goods or services we are not entitled to (stealing), secretly criticise and complain about others, with a ‘smile’, in the church, work, neighbours, friends, etc (cheating them of their reputation).
Thankfully Father has given us a way out of our sin and it’s called repentance – “turning around and acting in the opposite spirit”. I can guarantee that CCD would be totally transformed, even in lockdown, and that we would be a “sinless” community, very attractive to others, a real catalyst for change. How can I be certain because Scripture says so “I will heal their land”. So, as we approach the end of the “Pause” let’s not be passive in our prayers, waiting for divine intervention to magically change everything but actively and intentionally putting our hearts and lives right with Father God that we might reap a reward from Him, that ultimately will transform our City.
Eph 4:17-32 is probably a good place to start! Let’s see the “IF” become a reality. Let’s loose the power of God over Dundee to become a place of renown, justice, peace, righteous and prosperity for all. The Kingdom of God in word & deed. God is ready to “listen” and “act” if we simply position ourselves humbly and prayerfully before Him. And let’s see what He will do!!
Mark Batterson says in his book “If” – the power of IF, let’s put it into practise!!
Contribution from Geof Cole