FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 20, number 1, January 7, 2021
“and My people who are called by My name humble themselves.“-2 Chronicles 7:14
In light of the Georgia Senatorial run off election of January 5 in which leftist radicals Raphael Warnock and John Ossoff narrowly won, thus giving the Democrats the majority in both the House and the Senate (actually the Republicans still hold a majority, 50 to 48, but two Independents, Bernie Sanders and Angus King, almost always vote with the Democrats, and the tie vote is broken by the Vice President who will be Kamala Harris) now what? What are Bible believing Christians to do who believe in the sanctity of life, limited government, lower taxes, and many other issues more consistent with the Scriptures than what the Democrats offer? The radical wing of the Democratic Party most probably will pass a significant income tax hike, work to pass at least some parts of the so called Green New Deal which will seek to phase out fossil fuels and fracking in the U.S. This alone will cost many thousands of jobs in the U.S. and make us once again dependent on foreign oil. The Democrats, along with globalist Republicans, will walk back President Trump’s “America first policy” which brought many industrial jobs back to the U.S. Consequently, at the very least, the “little man” will once again become disenfranchised. It always works that way. The poor and the working class are the first to be hurt by policy coming out of Washington.
So, what are we to do? Always, we must begin with Scripture and what better place to begin than seriously to consider the promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Please note the structure of these marvelous promises. This is vital for our understanding if we are likewise to take full advantage of what God is saying here. Yahweh is promising three things—He would hear from heaven, He would pardon their sins, and He would heal their land (remove their affliction). Furthermore, Yahweh lends further clarification to these three promises. He makes two designations as to the recipients of His promises. He calls them “My people.” They are the covenant people of God, those whom He has chosen, the apple of His eye. And they are the ones who call upon His name for help and deliverance, “who are called by My name.” And then He makes clear the four necessary conditions for these three promises to be fulfilled. One, if they humble themselves. Two, if they pray. Three, if they seek the face of God. And four, if they turn from their wicked ways.
Today I want you to take a look at the first necessary ingredient for revival. It is most appropriate in light of our present distress, and that is humiliation, “. . .and My people who are called by My name humble themselves. . .” Clearly the promise Yahweh the Lord is making is to Solomon and the covenant people of God. This promise does not apply to just anyone, any family, any religious entity, or any nation which is not “My people.” The New Covenant context then are those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, those who make up the church of the true and living God. This command is not directly to a nation of unbelievers. Instead it is to believers in a nation who are therefore the church of the living God.
There is both a passive and active dimension to humiliation. On the one hand the passive dimension is seen in the trials and hardships God brings on His people. “If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people,” (2 Chron.7:13). God is the author of calamity (Is.45:6,7, Amos 3:6). These hardships are meant to be “wake-up calls” which awaken us from the deathly slumber leading us to perdition. On the other hand there is also an active dimension to humiliation. In the passive dimension God brings hardship upon us. In the active dimension we choose to humble ourselves.
In the passive dimension of humiliation our motivation for deliverance is self-preservation. We don’t want to lose our “stuff.” We want to maintain our standard of living. We love our peace, prosperity, and security so we say to God, “Okay God, how do we fix this?” Husbands, I bet you have had a situation or two when your wife has been pretty upset with you, pointing out how you have neglected her and your response is classic self-preservation, “What do I need to do right now to fix this problem?” We see this illustrated in the story of the prodigal son. He had come to see his need. He had squandered everything. He was living with the pigs and eating their food. He was simply looking for relief so he went back to his father, hoping merely to be a servant.
While God can use passive humiliation to awaken us to our sin and potential misery the much better way to go is active humiliation. Without this we can expect no intervention from God. Active humiliation is when you choose to humble yourself. This is no longer about feeling bad because your wife is upset with you or because your negligence just cost you your job. No, active humiliation is an act of sanctification, an exercise we choose to do to grow in gospel holiness of life. In active humiliation there is an inward hope based solely on God’s goodness to His people. The prodigal son had a hope that his father would receive him. John Preston points out four pairs of ingredients which make possible active humiliation. There is a hope of mercy coupled with a sense of misery. There is a sense of our own emptiness with all sufficiency in God. There is an awareness of our own sin and of Christ’s own righteousness imputed to us. And there is a sense of our love for God while also knowing man’s hatred and unkindness toward Him. The humiliation which leads to God hearing us, forgiving us, and healing us is motivated by the love of God for us, not by sheer fear of losing what we have.
So, what are we to do? God has humbled us. He is about to unleash hardship on many of us. It is not an exaggeration to say that we very well may have just lost our republic, at least for the time being. There is nothing standing in the way of the radical socialist Democrats desire to push their agenda and drastically change our way of living. This is not the 1960 Democratic Party of JFK. So, what are we to do? We must actively, volitionally, and willingly humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. And when I say “We” I mean the church. I have long said that the problems in our nation must be placed at the feet of preachers and the people in their churches. Preachers have generally, with some exceptions of course, failed to preach the hard message of Mark 8:34-38. Consequently we have many in our congregations who are at ease in Zion. We seem to be more concerned about how our retirement account is doing than the fact that many in our communities are running headlong into perdition. Preachers have failed to be the conscience of the nation, calling political office holders, CEO’s, and the general populace to account for their actions, reminding them that we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and give account. The church has succumbed to the harlot of Revelation and given herself over to accommodation to the world. The salt has lost its savor. It is good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled under the feet of men. The gold has become dim. We have left our first love. Preachers have gone the way of Cain. For pay they have rushed headlong into error of Balaam. They are perishing in the rebellion of Korah.
It is time for the church, being led by our preachers, to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. What does that look like? It means that we not just see but feel deeply our sinful neglect of denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily and following Jesus. It means that we confess our tendency to be ashamed of Jesus, of being unwilling to say the hard things to the power brokers in our churches, lest they leave the church with their money or worse yet, run us off from our jobs. It means that we are willing to lose our lives for the sake of Jesus. I don’t simply mean being martyred. Yes that could happen but still this is unlikely in our country at this time. I do mean, however, being willing to be a fool for Jesus sake, to bear reproach and falsehood with Him, to be called a spectacle to the world, a fool, an idiot, simple minded, unlearned and stupid, the scum of the earth and the dregs of all things.
Active humiliation before God connotes hope. It is clearly the first step in seeing the Lord hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our land. So, though things very well may be bleak in the near future, we must always remember “But God.” God can do above and beyond anything we ask or think. We must, however, play ball God’s way and that begins with active humiliation, contrition, remorse, and confession of our great sins before Almighty God. There is no other remedy. Will you humble yourself before God? Will you ask Him to show you your sin as you have never seen it before? And then repent. Make restitution if necessary. Then we must continue with the Biblical formula in 2 Chronicles 7:14 which is to pray, seek His face, and turn from our evil ways. We will look at these steps next week.
1 The Golden Sceptre Held Forth to the Humble, John Preston (1587 to 1628), page 73.
2 And He summoned the crowd together with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it benefit a person to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what could a person give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels,” (Mark 8:34-38).
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