A local Elim pastor (fully endorsed by the general superintendent's like) put up a Facebook status quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 as what seemed to be a rallying call to prayer for revival in 'the land'. Sorry to burst a lot of Christian bubbles but this verse has nothing to do with praying for our country but has everything to do with God's promises to the land of Israel.

Context is the key here. Solomon had dedicated the newly built temple to God who speaks to Solomon and tells him that his prayer has been heard (2 Chronicles 7:12) and if calamity comes upon the land of Israel because of sin God will restore the land in response to prayer and repentance (2 Chronicles 7:13-14). The universe cannot contain God (2 Chronicles 6:18) but he chose to place his presence in the temple (2 Chronicles 7:1-3) as a focal point for the people to pray, repent and sacrifice when they sinned (2 Chronicles 6:21-39; 7:4-7). The context clearly refers to the land of Israel and the promise is the continual reign of David's line culminating in Jesus (2 Chronicles 6:6; 7:18). The warning is that disobedience will cause the people to be ejected from the land (2 Chronicles 7:19-22) as happened in 722 BC and 687 BC. Mike Oppenheimer  says this: " Only Israel was a theocracy, the church is not a nation in a specific land. My People was a common phrase for Israel in the Old Testament... In their conditional covenant God said that if they do this, I will do that. Israel was the only nation ruled by God."

Tom Riddle called this application of the verse 'a promise never made'. To take this verse as a promise of revival for our country if we pray is to take the words and give them a meaning never intended. "My people who are called by my name" then takes on the meaning 'Christians' when in the passage it is the Jewish people. The healing spoken of is then claimed for our country which had some sort of past Christian heritage. Clearly the land is Israel and the people are the Jews and this can have no other application except a forced one. Tom Riddle points out "...
this promise was made to the only nation on the Earth that had (past tense) a national covenant with God: Israel. And, thus, the only nation that could ever have expected corporate healing per this promise is Israel."
It is clear that there are principles we can take from the Old Testament and apply to the church but as Riddle goes on to say quoting Ezekiel, "...
one principle we cannot draw out from this passage is that we are able to pull a nation out of a moral nosedive, or into a "national revival", by the spiritual exertions of a Christian minority, however sincere. That is the promise not given. We have the proof of this in Ezekiel 14:13 - 20:

"'Son of man, if a country sins against Me by committing unfaithfulness, and I stretch out My hand against it, destroy its supply of bread, send famine against it, and cut off from it both man and beast, even though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in its midst, by their own righteousness they could only deliver themselves,' declares the Lord God.
"

In this whole passage God makes it clear that the unrighteous nation... will not avoid judgment by the spiritual exertions of the righteous few."


Don Koenig is critical of church leaders who propagate the wrong meaning of such verses: "Pastors and teachers usually have formal training. They should have been taught proper exegesis... I do not doubt the good intentions of most of those that misapply this scripture. Nevertheless, ignorance is no excuse for our formally trained pastors. They were taught principles of exegesis in Bible college. They are supposed to be trained leaders and not followers. They should not be following popular presumptions and promoting them..."

When I became a Christian many years ago and first felt a calling to the teaching ministry, I remember having a conversation with my pastor about the reluctance of many in the Pentecostal churches to embrace biblical theology and a greater depth of learning in order to glorify God through his Word. Many disdained the idea of Bible college and theology and this disturbed me. He was from Manchester and had a rare gift for straight talking with love. He described the attitude of many assemblies to the appointment of pastors as, "Any old cabbage will do for a head".

Is this what we are now seeing in many churches, the Word misapplied, emotionalism replacing spirituality, positive thinking in place of Biblical application? Rick Warren's courses and Joel Osteen's sound bites have taken over from the unadulterated Word of God. As Spurgeon said, in the church of the last days, it would not be shepherds feeding the flock but clowns entertaining the goats.

Revival is not in view in this verse and if there is an application to the church then it must be Revelation 3:14-22. A church which is 'wishy-washy'; a church which thinks it is spiritually rich and yet is poverty stricken and worse - blind. It is at the door of this church that Jesus stands, asking to come in again.