Several years ago my son wanted to earn some money when we came home for the holidays. A giant walnut tree dominates our backyard. So, being a city boy who doesn’t know country living, I offered my son 25 cents for every walnut he picked up—thinking there were no more than 50-100 walnuts and this would allow him to make up to $25. He grabbed a bucket and started going for it. It wasn’t long before he crossed 100 walnuts. Then 200, then “Daddy, I’m up to 400!” At this point I contemplated changing his wages, but I didn’t want to be like Laban. He kept working, crossing 600, 700, and finally finishing at 800 walnuts! I owed him $200! But I had to come through on my “if…then” offer.
Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 6 appealed to the “If…then” theme emphasized in the books of the Law (Lev. 26:40-42; Deut. 4:29; 30:1-30). God’s response in 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 indicates that God’s chastening is for the purpose of awakening. God’s “If…then” offer is clear: “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.”
In this patriotic time of year it is time to take God up on His “If…then” offer. This amazing verse delineates three phases of a faith-response to God’s “If…then” offer.
1. Entrance into God’s “If…Then” Offer (“If my people, which are called by my name, shall”)
God, in the first person, starts with a target audience. The text does not say “Israel.” The precision of verbal inspiration enlarges the promise to include God’s people in any dispensation. Then God gives a target offer. A specific condition is followed by a specific promise. God makes clear that if you will fulfill the specific condition, then He will fulfill the specific promise. Our sovereign God says revival is a promised response. Will you let God’s “If…then” offer grip you to the point of entering into His offer?
2. Expressions of God’s “If…Then” Offer
The condition God gives involves four expressions of faith. If the condition was anything beyond faith, we would not be able to fulfill it. Faith (God-dependence) is something man does, not God. However, faith is not a work; it is dependence on the Worker (Rom. 4:5).
First, brokenness is the faith of agreeing with God (“humble themselves”). This involves both honesty regarding sin and the need for cleansing, as well as honesty regarding self and the need for enabling. In the 1960s, when Evelyn Christensen and two other ladies began to pray weekly for their church to see revival, they started on the basis of Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” After “six miserable weeks” of confessing subtle sins, the Spirit released them to pray for their church. The next Sunday God moved mightily, beginning a season of refreshing that lasted for six months, reviving the church and bringing in a great harvest of souls.
Second, heart-cry is the faith of crying out to God (“and pray”). God used John Hyde (“Praying Hyde”) and others to support the Punjab Prayer Union in India. Those involved in this prayer union took seriously the challenge to cry out to God for the outpouring of His Spirit. This prayer union began at the time of the first Sialkot Convention. The Sialkot Conventions took place from 1904-1910. It is a fact of history that the conventions experienced powerful outpourings of the Spirit, especially in 1905 and 1906.
Third, pursuit is the faith of pursuing God (“and seek my face [presence]”). The focus of revival, whether on the individual life level or the corporate atmosphere level, is God—Him, not it. When God breathed on a Christian group on a college campus, one young lady called her mom at 1:30 am and exclaimed, “He is here! The Holy Spirit is here!”
Fourth, surrender is the faith of giving up whatever hinders (“and turn from their wicked ways”). Because you want God’s presence, you do not want sin’s presence. God is of utmost importance. Anything that grieves the Spirit must be let go.
3. Expectation of God’s “If…Then” Offer (“then will I”)
God initiates with His divine offer, “If…then.” When you enter into His offer, taking grace to express faith according to the conditions He spells out, then you must expect God to do His part in His perfect will and way. God’s promise is clear.
First, God will respond (“hear from heaven”). God has always been ready to respond, but now He is able to righteously respond.
Second, God will release (“and will forgive their sin”). God prefers to revive rather than to judge. In 2 Chronicles, at least ten Judean kings on fourteen different occasions applied and experienced God’s “If…then” offer of 2 Chronicles 7:14.
Third, God will revive (“and will heal their land”). History abounds with examples.
In this patriotic time of year may we be encouraged to take God seriously on His “If…then” offer!
John Van Gelderen
About This Blog
Hello, I’m John Van Gelderen. I am an evangelist and the president of Revival Focus Ministries, an organization for the cause of revival in hearts, homes, churches, and beyond, and for evangelizing. This blog is focused on experiencing Jesus. I believe in order to really live, you must access and experience the very life of Jesus Christ.