Healing the Land
God of grace and power, it is only through Your strength that I can follow Your commands. I desire to walk with You today.
2 Chronicles 7:1-22
Consider: All creation worships God. When we move in step with God, creation receives the benefit, so our worship spills over and joins creation.
The dedication of the Temple reaches its climax and the “vast assembly” (8) at last breaks up, the Israelites returning to their homes “joyful and glad in heart” (10). The chronicler moves from the clamor of the public celebrations to the privacy of the king’s bedchamber, where God assures Solomon that his prayer has been heard. This assurance is followed by warnings: first, that ethical compromise will result in the heavens being “shut up” (13) with disastrous consequences, and, second, that should the people turn to worship other gods the newly dedicated Temple will be reduced to a ruin and Israel will be uprooted “from my land, which I have given them” (19-21).
The promise in verse 14, that in times of trouble and famine God will respond to his people if they “humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,” has played a significant role in modern Christian history, in support of a theology of revival in the Evangelical and Pentecostal traditions. However, the final phrase in this text, promising the healing of their land, has largely gone unnoticed, despite the fact that the relationship between covenant faithfulness and the well-being of the natural world, including the fertility of the land, is repeatedly stressed in these chapters (2 Chron. 6:26-31; 36:21).
In the twenty-first century the promise of the healing of the land connects powerfully with a world suffering from the destruction of natural habitats, the exhaustion of natural resources and the pollution of soil, water and air--the consequences of overconsumption. God connects the devastation of the physical, created world to human sin, greed and selfishness, a biblical truth often overlooked in public debates. It also challenges Christians to broaden their spirituality and evangelism to embrace God’s concern for his creation, for the land.
Apply: Are there practical steps you could take to care for a piece of land? How might this be reflected in your spiritual life?
Lord, forgive me for the waste and disrespect I show the earth. Show me small and simple ways I can express my gratitude for the creation You have given me.