If My People Will Humble Themselves --Dan Lightfoot 1477
2 Chr. 7
One of Israel's great moments… (OT stresses great moments)
2 Chr. 7:1-10 -- temple dedicated. *7:11-22 -- prayer heard & answered.
A. Read: 7:1-10--
1. Isn't that victory? Obedience? Purity? Praise? Glory? & bro't peace!
2. And that's the end of it? Right? No, it's only the start. --
a. We'd have said, "That's great. Now, let's get back to normal."
b. But God said, "We've only just begun!"
B. 7:11-16 -- That's good stuff!
1. It's good to plan… Let's get our stuff done! It's good. It'll even prepare me for doing more of what God wants done.
2. So, build the temple. & then know that there is other work to do. There is a more significant work that He has called us to.
3. Let's qualify ourselves for the greater task… Let's know the victory that comes from getting something done for the lord. …. the obedience that gets it done. ...the praise after it's done. … the purity that results. … the peace that comes from fulfillment. But let's know that there is still much ahead of us to be done.
4. And God went on to tell Solomon, "Son, you have done well. Now, I have a lot more in store for you." (you read it)
5. Always remember: God has a job for you. A place for you. A quest for you. A challenge for you. Something that only you can do.
a. So, when you read this word, take it personally!
b. This is where redemption and revival and renewal begin -- where you are sitting -- & where I am standing!
c. And here is what it will take…
I. Answer the Call
7:14 -- "if My people who are called by My name…"
A. I have been chosen! God gives me His name….
B. Jesus calls us…
1. Called by the gospel -- 2 Thessa. 2:14
2. Called into His marvelous kingdom -- Col. 1:12-13
3. Partakers of a heavenly calling-- Heb. 3:1
4. Look it up in your concordance & glory in your calling.
II. Humble Yourself
"if My people who are called by My name humble themselves…"
A. Recognizing my calling will humble me.
1. "Should such a man as I be where I am?" "...blessed as I am?" etc.
2. NO! That's why He had to make me a new man.
3. That's why there had to be a calling that bro't about a new birth.
4. … & a valley of affliction in which I saw the Lord face to face.
5. That's the story of Job. Leprous for months (7:5).
a. Said he knew a lot about God. Wife said, "Curse God and die."
b. Friends said he had to be one of the worst sinners in the world. & he agreed for awhile. Then he searched his soul.
c. God talked to him out of the whirlwind, "Job, who are you to question me, son? When you can control the morning & place the stars in orbit, I'll talk about my work in your life. 'Til then, who are you to question me?"
d. And Job said, (with hand over mouth), "mumble, mumble…" "I lay my hand on my mouth. I will speak no more." (40:4)
e. & Job repented, 42:5-- "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye see Thee. Therefore I repent in dust and ashes."
1] Where? In the valley of sorrows. The furnace of affliction.
B. "...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,"
1. Matt. 5:2-12.
2. And Luke says (6:26) "But woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets."
a. If the church of my Lord ever humbles itself, it will preach to the humble -- & that will bring persecution.
b. As long as we're proud, we'll preach to the proud. ...the upper middle income… and, all the while, the poor are waiting to hear.
3. "and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,"
C. If we humble ourselves, what will we do?
"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray..."
A. What did Jesus say His Father's house would be called?
1. A house of preaching? ...workshops? ...programs?
2. A house of prayer (Mk. 11:17) -- I know of none that is so known.
B. When we depend on money, we get what money can buy; & that's something. ...education… numbers… talent...
1. But when we depend on prayer, we depend on what God can do for us; and that's everything.
2. He is Good. And His love endures forever.
C. If we humble ourselves and pray -- we will be led to…
IV. Seek God's Face
"...if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves,
& pray & seek my face ..."
A. Hebrew has only perfect & imperfect tenses, (completed or continuing)
1. "seek" here is a continuing tense. "Keep on seeking my face"
2. It is seeking to be with God. To seek His approval.
3. Let's open our coats & let everyone see who we are, warts & all…because God loves us that way… & then let's openly seek God's face.
B. How do you do that? Become pure in heart.
1. We just read it in the beatitudes. "Blessed are the pure in heart…"
a. Why are they blessed? Because they're pure in heart?
b. No, that's just a qualifier. Blessed because they see God.
2. Need to read beatitudes this way: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they are the only ones in the Kingdom of heaven." "Blessed are the ones who mourn, for they are the only ones who will be comforted." etc.
3. Those who seek God's face are the only ones to see God's face.
4. And to seek God's face I must be humble!
And I must…
"...if My people who are called by My name humble themselves
& pray, & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways ..."
A. This, too, is a continual turning…
1. Ever have a grocery cart with a wheel that pulled it to the left? You had to constantly turn it back to the right to keep it in the aisle.
2. Or a car with a wheel out of alignment? It wanted to drift… You had to be alert. Vigilance kept you on the road -- and alive!
B. That's life!
1. We constantly drift… and constantly need to be turning away from the ditch and toward God.
2. That's godliness. Godwardness. Godliness is not being like God, it is the process of becoming like God, of constantly turning toward Him.
C. What a blessing repentance is. It is such a good thing… for He is good.
& His love endures forever…
1. Repentance brings such peaceable fruit… peace with God… peace with others… peace with myself. 2. And joy inexpressible…
D. Oh, God says, with longing in His voice, "If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and transform their lives, THEN ...
1. Don't you love the "THEN"? Thank God for the "THEN"!
2. But it also means that our pride, our own sense of worth, our own lack of meaningful prayer, our lack of diligence in seeking God's face, and our failure to repent -- is keeping God from hearing us.
3. But great, marvelous, and supernatural things can happen when we prostrate ourselves before God and answer His calling to be salt and light in this world; when we pray with fervency, when we turn from our wicked ways to seek His face.
VI. I Will Hear From Heaven
"...if My people who are called by My name humble themselves
& pray, & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven ..."
. How does that happen? Here's one way:
1. James 5:16 -- "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed."
2. God blesses us thru each other. But as long as we hide our sin & get no help with it, it will continue to plague us.
3. "Healing" is more than forgiveness. It is removal of the affliction…
a. This is not "punching the card" confession & prayer…
b. This is two brothers confessing specific sins with heartfelt repentance, and helping each other overcome…
c. But you can't do that until you humble yourself…
d. "But I'm an elder (a preacher, a deacon), I couldn't confess specific sins to anyone because……."
1] Pride Pride hides its sin.
2] Humility seeks God's face and confesses it.
e. If my people will humble themselves, pray and turn….
4. Who was He talking to? The people who had just built the temple…
They've reached the pinnacle of their success in obedience to Him…
And He says, "You've been very successful. I'm proud of you for this accomplishment. Now, if you'll humble yourselves and pray, and seek my face and turn... --it's a constant thing…
5. "...if My people who are called by My name humble themselves & pray, & seek my face & turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land ..."
B. They stood at the temple. Brand new. Gleaming. David spent half his life gathering materials for it. Solomon took 7 years and $18 billion to build it. People gave until Solomon said, "Don't give anymore."
1. God accepted it as a symbol of His residence.
2. But it was only a poor imitation of God's house… Heb. 3:6 --
"whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end."
3. That temple fell to the armies of men.
This temple stands… and the King is in residence here.
IF MY PEOPLE ...
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