… 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. – 2Chr. 7:14 NIV
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In the first part of this devotion, it was revealed that the Almighty God in anger and love does prevent the Christian from getting appropriate reward from an investment, does create situations that makes it impossible to account for some expenditures and does afflict His people with sickness, but all these He does to bring the Christian back to Himself when he or she is going astray. Once the Christian has acknowledged his/her transgressions, the Lord is willing to forgive and restore such.
This exactly was what the Almighty God Himself recommended in the second part of one of the promises he made to King Solomon which is the foundation scripture of today’s devotion. Admitting that He was capable of doing all that has been listed earlier, he recommends that the way to ease off such treatments or experiences will be for the Christian to:
1. Humble him/her self. In the context of this event of experiencing a negative action from the Lord, to be humble will mean to look at oneself with the thought that one is not as perfect as one may rate oneself. One who is not humble in this instance will seek to blame everyone else for something that is basically his/her fault, or begin to challenge the Almighty God in an attempt to justify him/her self by claiming unfounded righteousness. The Almighty God recommends that if one really considers him/her self to be His person and people associate such a person with the name of the Lord, then such should look inwards rather than arrogantly believing that he/she cannot be the root of his/her own problem. Your journey to receiving that restoration starts with your humility. Be humble!
2. Pray to the Lord. If you are humble, you will then be able to see the area of your life that you are operating, counter to the Will of God. It will be expected that you will begin to plead with the Lord for forgiveness rather than again looking for who to blame as the reason for transgressing. The Almighty God wants Christians to always own up and accept responsibility for errors committed. One who is not ready to change is the one that keeps looking for whom to blame for acts that he/she did. Pray to the Lord, accept that you are culpable and ask for forgiveness and He will forgive you if your repentance is genuine.
3. To seek the face of the Lord. Pleading for forgiveness is not the same as seeking for mercy of the Lord. It is one thing to be forgiven which is due to the grace enjoyed in Christ Jesus but restoration cannot be automatic, just because you received mercy. Though it is very possible to receive restoration in such situations, it will have to be asked for from a position where you can be heard – Isa. 55:6. That definitely will not be when you are yet to receive forgiveness. It is only after being forgiven that a request for mercy can be presented and possibly granted. Meanwhile, one equally gets only what one asks for from the Lord – Matt. 7:7-10. The one that does not ask will not receive and it is not possible to ask for beans and receive rice. One gets only what one asks for in prayer.
4. To turn away from the wickedness that may have been identified. God sees every act of man that runs contrary to his instructions as wickedness and He expects that the one that is humble, praying to Him and seeking His face in prayer will actually take a physical step that will indicate the genuineness of the decision. It is not, for example, possible to seek forgiveness from the Lord for taking possession of someone else’s property, get punished by the Lord for that act, come back to Him with a supposed humble heart, seek His face in prayer pleading with him to restore your losses, when you still intend to hold on to what you are possessing illegally. That will only mean a failed attempt to deceive the Lord. Not only must the illegally possessed item be returned, there will also be the need for restitution for the supposed act that the penitent one is claiming to be remorseful for, for the steps taken to be worthy of being considered as sufficient to warrant restoration. Physical steps of turning around must accompany every act of repentance for restoration to be in consideration – Acts 3:19.
He promised, not only to hear from heaven if such acts are found genuine and forgive whatever may be the identified wickedness but will also heal the land of such a Christian. The use of the word “will” makes the promise very re-assuring because it is an indication that restoration will be instant if the four steps above are successfully implemented. Save yourself from further stress by doing very deep introspection of your ways. Take your focus away from those who claim to be behind your tribulations as they really do not deserve all the attention and attributes that they are getting from you. Do the needful and you can be sure that your land will be healed, sicknesses will disappear and experiences of unexplainable expenditures will be history in your life. May that be your testimony very soon in Jesus name. Amen.