Point # 2 – God is STILL talking to the King. He is affirming to Solomon that He may at times bring calamity upon Israel in response to their sins – just like the king had said in his prayer in 2 Chron. 6:24-31.
“If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people;”
God is addressing Solomon (not Israel) in response to his prayer. Read what Solomon prayed and then look at the issues God addresses in His response. Again, for emphasis sake, I have color coded this passage. All of the words in blue are Israel’s part (good or bad). All of the words in purple are Gods part – but PLEASE remember – this was a prayer from Solomon to God.
“And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance. If there be dearth in the land, if there be pestilence, if there be blasting, or mildew, locusts, or caterpillers; if their enemies besiege them in the cities of their land; whatsoever sore or whatsoever sickness there be: Then what prayer or what supplication soever shall be made of any man, or of all thy people Israel, when every one shall know his own sore and his own grief, and shall spread forth his hands in this house: Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:) That they may fear thee, to walk in thy ways, so long as they live in the land which thou gavest unto our fathers.” – 2 Chron. 6:24-31
So we can clearly see, that God heard Solomon’s prayer and is responding very specifically to all that he mentioned in his prayer to God. God is here saying in response to Solomon, that if He sends these disasters on Israel due to their sins, (which He seems to think He will or this part of the passage has no meaning) then the following is what they AS A NATION, must do…
“If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
One thing which is necessary to understand in order to grasp what is truly going on here, is the authority of the king. Israel rejected the authority structure God had originally appointed for them during the time of the judges. By the time of Samuel, the people were crying out for a king, so that they could be like all of the other nations and have a king to …
- Judge them
- Go out before them
- Fight their battles
All of this is recorded in I Samuel 8.
God warned them through Samuel of the consequences of their decision, in verses 10-22 in Chapter 8. I will not address those consequences, but I will point out the authority Israel was giving over to their future kings.
God said in I Samuel 8:11
“He said, “These are the rights of the king who will rule over you: He can take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots.” – 1 Sam. 8:11
The word rule is the Hebrew word ָמַלךּ (mālak). It is a verb meaning to rule, to be king, to have sway, power, and dominion over people and nations.
The king had dominion over the nation. Another word God used for the kings was Shepherds.
- 2 Chron. 11:1,2
- Ezek. 34:23
Sheep go wherever their shepherd leads them. In fact this was the very thing Israel said they wanted,
“The people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. Then we’ll be like all the other nations: our king will judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles.” – 1 Sam. 8:19-20
God warned Israel that any future king had the authority to:
- Take your sons and put them to his use in his chariots, on his horses, or running in front of his chariots.
- Appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties.
- To plow his ground or reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war or the equipment for his chariots.
- Take your daughters to become perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
- Take your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his servants.
- Take a tenth of your grain and your vineyards and give them to his officials and servants.
- Take your male servants, your female servants, your best young men, and your donkeys and use them for his work.
- Take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves can become his servants.
Never the less, Israel wanted a king to rule over them. So God honored their request and gave them kings.
Be careful what you ask for – you may get it!
Why is this important? Because it is the backdrop of the verses in question. God HAD to work within the structure of authority He allowed and in fact, set up – as per Israel’s request. Once that structure was in order, God was going to work within its boundaries.
In fact, God warned them IN ADVANCE that they would eventually weary of having kings and cry out to God to remove them. He told them that in that day,
“When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you’ve chosen for yourselves, but the LORD won’t answer you on that day.” – 1 Sam. 8:18
Once it was done – it was done!
So here in 2 Chron. 7, God is working within that established structure of authority. In order to bless His people, He had to have the heart of their leader. Sheep do not lead the shepherd, the shepherd leads the sheep!
Applying this to America, I cannot confirm whether God originally wanted a ruler in America (a president), but one thing I do know is that we have one and that if one exists – they do so by God appointment. We will address this point later, but I thought it necessary to connect the dot for the sake of pointing out delegated authority as coming from God. Even in Israel’s case, God wanted them to be ruled by Himself through the Judges and Prophets. Due to their insistence He gave them what they wanted and that was their eventual undoing.