Believers often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, which contains a promise that begins, “If my people, who are called by my name . . . .” It’s a beautiful promise, but we shouldn’t forget the context of that promise. Soon after King Solomon had constructed the temple in Jerusalem, the Lord said to him:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land, or send a plague among my people, 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 I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. . . . But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by will be appalled . . .– 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, 19-21a (NIV)
Yes, God has promised to heal our land if we turn to Him, humble ourselves, and pray. But God also promised that if we are unfaithful to him, he will bring the disciplining hand of disaster upon us. Why is the threat of terrorism increasing?
I believe it’s because we have forsaken the Lord and embraced false gods.
We don’t like to admit that the calamities shaking our civilization might be the result of our own sin. We like to point fingers of blame at non-Believers and rail against abortion and sexual depravity. We do not operate abortion mills, pornography websites, or houses of prostitution. Our hands are clean— aren’t they?
But what if the depravity in secular culture is not so much the cause of our decline as a symptom of a deeper sickness? If the Church turned back from its apostasy, wouldn’t God heal our civilization of abortion and sexual depravity? And of the debt that will collapse our economy? And of the lies, influence peddling, and corruption of our public officials? And of the racial strife that divides our society? And of the violence that destroys our communities?
What should we repent of? What are the sins of the Church?
They are the same sins Israel committed in the Hebrew Scriptures—sins of spiritual adultery, of unfaithfulness to God and His Word. You may say, “But I love God. I go to church faithfully. How am I guilty of spiritual adultery?”
This is the same question unfaithful Israel asked before God’s judgment fell upon the nation. When the Israelites said, “God, we acknowledge you,” God replied through the prophet Hosea, “Israel has rejected what is good…. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction” (See Hosea 8:3-4).
How have we, as Believers in the 21st century, been unfaithful to God? We have replaced the pure Gospel of Yeshua (Jesus) with an array of false gospels: the Prosperity Gospel, the Social Gospel, the Emerging Church, the All-Paths-Lead-to-God Gospel, the Self-Help Motivational Gospel, and all the other alternatives to the Good News.
Yeshua gave the simplest formulation of His Gospel when He told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). If we, as Believers, return to the crystal-clear purity of God’s Word, God has promised to heal and bless our land.
Adapted from The Barbarians are Here: Preventing the Collapse of Western Civilization in Times of Terrorism by Dr. Michael Youssef (Worthy Publishing, 2017). Dr. Youssef is the founding pastor of the Church of the Apostles in Atlanta, Georgia, and the author of more than 30 books. Find him online at www.ltw.org and follow him on Twitter: @MichaelAYoussef.