A pastor friend told me that due to COVID-19 precautions, his church is using an internet venue to pray together on Wednesday evenings. He said over the last few weeks the prayers have turned from normal petitions to repentance. That stirred my heart! While we pray for relief from the plague of COVID-19, let’s remember to deal with the plague of our own hearts.
After Solomon built the temple, Israel celebrated and Solomon prayed publicly. His forward-looking emphasis was regarding God’s people crying out and God delivering. We are probably most familiar with this through God’s response to Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, . . . then will I . . . .”
Many rightly regard this as a great revival promise. Although the narrative deals with the nation of Israel, the inspired wording does not say, “If Israel;” it says, “If my people who are called by my name.” This precision makes this promise available to God’s people in any age, even in a corporate application.
Besides this marvelous inspired clarity, New Testament passages like 1 Corinthians 10 and Hebrews 3-4 take Old Testament narratives that focus on Israel as a nation and apply them to individuals. This precedent lays down an inspired principle of interpretation: the way God dealt with the nation of Israel in the Old Testament is the way He deals with individual believers in any age.
Beyond all this, the parallel passage to 2 Chronicles 6-7 is 1 Kings 8 where both corporate and individual applications are included in the Old Testament text. 1 Kings 8:38-39 (with the individual application italicized) says, “What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;).”
As we pray for the needs of our nation and world in the midst of a worldwide plague, let’s pray about the plague of our own hearts. What needs to be ousted? What grieves the Spirit? What plague is hindering? Let’s get honest and trust the Lord for inside out deliverance. Let’s let this pandemic lead us into personal revival.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
John Van Gelderen