My dad has a book coming out this month: The Solomon Promise: The Key to Healing America and Ourselves. It is not entirely new. It is based on an earlier book he wrote called Holiness: God’s Plan for Fulness of Life.
That book originated from three powerful sermons he preached when he was in his prime. When Dad first preached these sermons, heaven came down. Congregations were deeply impacted. While my dad was still preaching, people began streaming to the front of the auditorium to pray, desperate to be made right with the Holy God they had just encountered.
When 2020 hit with all of its divisive and troubling issues, representatives for the publisher approached me an
d said they believed the message God had given my father years before was desperately needed today. Would I be willing to overhaul the book, write a foreword, and repackage it for a new audience? I did, and it will be released this month.
But the message goes back earlier than my dad’s first book release. It goes back even further than when he preached these messages as sermons. In fact, it goes back more than three thousand years to a time when a young king was commencing a long and prosperous reign. Not long after King Solomon dedicated the fabulous new temple in Jerusalem, God appeared to him at night. He made this promise: “and if my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray, and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). God has never rescinded this promise.
Some people would hasten to claim that this is an Old Testament promise, and we live in New Testament times. They would argue that this promise was made to the nation of Israel and not to individual Christians. But it is clear that God has predicated national revival on the conduct of his people. When God’s people (whether Old Testament Israelites or New Testament Christians) return to God with all their hearts, revival will come. Jesus said that believers were to be salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16). But when they stop shining or lose their saltiness, the nation in which they live is jeopardized.
Others belittle the concept of revival. They prefer to emphasize evangelism, and they claim that people who long for revival are simply looking for a “shortcut” to a Great Awakening. But this mindset reflects a total ignorance of revival. The Church has more evangelistic methods and programs today than it has ever had, yet 70% of churches are not growing. Many are not evangelizing. Why? Because they need to be revived. A revived church evangelizes.
The histories of Israel and the Church demonstrate humanity’s tendency to depart from God. All the Old Testament prophets urged God’s people to forsake their idols and carnal pleasures and to return to God with all their hearts. In the New Testament, the risen Christ warned the church at Ephesus that it had lost its first love and had better return to him quickly or he would come and remove its lampstand. The apostle James promised that if God’s people would draw near to God, God would draw near to them (sounds a lot like 2 Chronicles 7:14!).
The problem with God’s people is that we tend to blame others for our spiritual weakness. We like to fault the government for the Church’s woes. Some Christians have literally told me that God cannot work when certain political parties are in power! Others blame Hollywood or secular culture for the Church’s malaise. Still others find fault with the economy, social injustice, or racism. There is a long list of suspects for why the nation—and the Church—is in its present condition.
But God has not changed his focus. When a nation is ravaged by sin, it is not the responsibility of Congress to pass legislation. It is not the president’s role to guide the nation back to godliness. The responsibility lies squarely on the Church’s shoulders. We must once again humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways. Then God will hear from heaven. Could it be that God has not heard much of our praying because we have not yet met his prerequisites? Only then will he forgive our sin and heal our land.
There is no question that our land needs healing. It is equally clear that political parties and social theories do not have the solution. The answer, as always, lies with God’s people. It is time for God’s people to stop looking to the world to solve spiritual issues. It is also time for the Church to stop using the world’s methods to accomplish God’s purposes. God has provided a timeless answer that has worked whenever people have truly followed his instructions.
We know what to do. The question is, are we willing to do it?