One of the Most Misapplied Old Testament Bible Verses
By Mike Sares
"... 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 will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2Chronicles )
So often I hear this verse used in reference to the U.S.A., quoted by well-meaning Christians who sense our society's moral decline. Well, perhaps it could apply—I mean, God can do whatever He wants. Originally, though, the context was for the land of ancient Israel (the preceding verse is about droughts, locusts and plagues).
For Christians, I think this promise becomes metaphorical. Christians were never given a piece of real estate by God as the Jews were given Israel. We are God's people, sure enough; but, what is "our land"? Could it be the church—that piece of Jesus' Kingdom which we inhabit right now? If God's people humble themselves, pray, seek God's face, and turn from their wicked ways—then might God heal the drought of love in the church? Might God destroy the "locusts of laziness" that are robbing us of fruitful labor in ministry? Might He heal us of the plague of self-centeredness? It's tempting to point fingers at the society around us and urge it to repent (for, indeed, it needs to), but this verse actually asks us to do the repenting. In return, God (who has forgiven our sins through the cross of Jesus Christ) will heal the churches we currently call home.