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If The United States of America Repents, Will God Heal The Nation?
This week on the Straight Truth Podcast, Dr. Josh Philpot shares with Dr. Richard Caldwell that 2 Chronicles 7:14 from the Old Testament gets brought up constantly in the United States by pastors and lay Christians alike, politicians, and many others familiar with it. We can read blogs and articles on the internet that refer to it and even watch videos promising great hope if we would only turn and repent. In all fairness, this is understandable as we witness the rapid moral and spiritual decline transpiring in our nation. Debauchery and sin are everywhere, from the highest level to the lowest. People want to claim the promise of 2 Chronicles 7:14 because they want to see God heal our land. There’s even talk of people praying for a great revival such as what happened at Nineveh. Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell what does he hear from this text? How does he interpret this text? Additionally, he asks if Americans repent like Nineveh will God spare us from further decline; will He fix us and turn us in a better direction?
To this last question, Dr. Caldwell says the answer is no. It’s important to remember that for any verse of Scripture we read, we must consider the context for proper interpretation. This is what biblical hermeneutics is all about. He says that when we mishandle verses, it causes us to be left with misunderstanding.
The context for 2 Chronicles 7:14 is the theocratic national people of God, the nation of Israel, whom God chose for Himself to serve as a light to the nations. Through that nation, until the coming of His Son, they were to be the primary means He would use to disseminate truth to the world. God declared blessings and curses to the nation of Israel regarding their obedience and disobedience to the covenant He made with them. Along with the curses for disobedience, there was the promise of retaining God’s blessing if there was repentance; this is the context for which the promises in 2 Chronicles 7:14 are given. It is to those people who were in covenant with God as a nation that these promises were given. These promises were not made to us and are not for us. It would be wrong to assume that the United States of America (USA) has a relationship with God that matches that of the biblical theocratic nation of Israel. It would be wrong to think that God’s people, in any particular country or nation today, who have penitent hearts towards God and cry out to Him for the healing of their land, are guaranteed that healing.
However, having said this, Dr. Caldwell says we can take the verse and talk about some right applications we can form from it. We should care about the land in which we live. We should want to see God honored and glorified in our land. We should desire that the land we live in would be more favorable to the gospel and that people all across our land, from all walks of life, be converted. As New Testament believers, members of the Body of Christ - His Church, we can and should pray for these things. All Christians should actively seek to work for the betterment of the nation and the people who reside in it. But to take 2 Chronicles 7:14 as a promise if we pray and repent, even collectively as God's people today, if the Church gets it right, then God will heal our nation, that is wrong. We do not have that promise; we cannot claim that.
The Church is the Lord’s Church, and the nation is the nation. While the USA has had a notable history with the gospel since its very beginnings, this does not make it a Christian nation. The USA is not another Israel, it is not the new Israel and is most definitely NOT a Christian nation. But for those living within its borders, if they're turning from their wicked ways, they're repenting and living faithful lives, sharing the gospel and seeking the conversion of the lost, and building up good biblical churches, there will be benefits. There will be practical benefits within any nation where this is happening as Proverbs 14:34 says, righteousness exalts a nation. But where this kind of living is not taking place, such as the decayed living we see in the USA, this proverb also says that sin is a disgrace to any people, and with it comes great destruction. Therefore it is good to recognize this and pray for our nation, even asking the Lord to bring a great awakening and to send revival.
Dr. Philpot asks Dr. Caldwell why God would change His outworking from one age to the next. Why would God go from working in one age as He did with the nation of Israel to doing something different in a whole new age like the New Testament and the time in which we live?
Dr. Caldwell says it’s because, ultimately, what God is doing, is about His redemptive plan for humanity and all that He has made through the finished work of His Son. God’s plan has progress to it. There is a progressive outworking of eternal decrees from Genesis to Revelation. As mentioned before, there was a time when God’s primary means of disseminating truth was through the nation of Israel. But now, in the time in which we live, the primary means is through His Church. The Church is the pillar and support of the truth in the world, not Israel. So it's essential that we pay attention to and believe what God has chosen to do different in time, as well as what remains the same. We’ve got to recognize the continuity and discontinuity as it is within Scripture and embrace both of these things.
As those who belong to the Lord’s Church, we remain faithful as we live in the midst of an unbelieving world. We go on praying, and we go on trusting our God. The ultimate healing for our nation, all nations, and the whole world will be the kingdom of Christ that Christ Himself will usher in. That is the ultimate outcome of the things for which we long.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
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