Hard times

2 Chronicles 7: 13-15 has been brought to my attention as it seems to be speaking about droughts in Australia, Corona etc. I am however not sure if that’s contextually correct. With the book being in the old testament and trying to point hope to the messianic King to come, I think the writer was telling the bad Kings how to govern. In our new days we don’t have cities build up of only believers. We need to follow him sure but I don’t think he will use devine intervention as he did before…I think it’s all just laws of nature playing out. We push and nature pushes back. I don’t think it’s necessary now that we have softened hearts. I don’t want to minimise the importance of the old testament so if I have missed it, please help

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Hey @Michael_Ryan. I’ve come up against that kind of thinking here in Kenya as well. Not only do we now have COVID-19 (and so most institutions and buildings are closed down in quarantine), but we have had a HUGE swarm of locusts on our lands. Seriously, if you look at the footage, it would probably remind you of the locust plague in the Prince of Egypt movie while the choir is singing “. . .I send my scourge, thus saith the Lord.”

I think it’s easy for people to map out those similarities and say it is judgement. Honestly, I plead no contest on this issue for the following reasons:

  1. The wisdom of God is upheld throughout all of history regarding both Christian and non-Christian nations. I don’t think it is Biblically safe to say that simply because we live in the New Testament, so to speak, God does not bring judgement on the nations. Even now.

  2. There are still intermediaries in the church for the nations. There are still prophets within the church who warn the church and the government. Of course, not all of them are really prophets and should be scrutinized according to Scripture. But the fact that God cares about the directions of the nations in raising up voices for them, I think, indicate that God is still heavily invested in our times as well. Indeed, one must take into account how some of Jesus’ prophecies were fulfilled after His Resurrection (Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernum for example). Judgement still occurred after salvation and grace were available. Though I suppose you could also argue that the pronouncement occurred before salvation and grace (as some of my brother’s friends when discussing this may have brought up).

  3. Personally I’m naturally skeptical of people who proclaim “the end is near” or “God caused this.” But I can’t say there’s Biblical evidence for why God could not have deliberately allowed such natural destruction as judgement, either.

  4. I think it all comes back to the wisdom of God and what you make of cause and effect. For example, if a nation decides to abort babies and ends up with slow population growth in the next couple decades while other nations increase in population, then that is a common-sense-“what else did you think would happen” thing. If you have mass murders or generally any evil, the consequences will show themselves soon enough.

Some would argue that is God’s judgement, others just plain cause and effect.

I say God has fixed the consequences of our actions without deciding what we would choose. Hence it can be somehow both God’s judgement because he established the effects of the cause we chose.

I can see why some say it’s judgement and others just natural disaster, though.

Those are just my thoughts, anyways! :laughing::smile::grin:

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Ooh wait! I forgot!

You make a very important point about context. I can’t say you’re at all at fault there. The story should be taken in context.

But I think those other guys are taking from the example of the story to answer the question: Does God still divinely intervene?

At least, that’s what I would infer.

Hello @Michael_Ryan, Yes context is very important. In this passage, God is speaking to Solomon after he built the temple. He’s telling him that if they pray and seek him after being punished for doing wrong he will hear them. Here is the rest of the passage starting at verse 11:

11 After Solomon finished building the Lord’s temple and the royal palace, and accomplished all his plans for the Lord’s temple and his royal palace, 12 the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him: “I have answered your prayer and chosen this place to be my temple where sacrifices are to be made. 13 When I close up the sky so that it doesn’t rain, or command locusts to devour the land’s vegetation, or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who belong to me, humble themselves, pray, seek to please me, and repudiate their sinful practices, then I will respond from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 15 Now I will be attentive and responsive to the prayers offered in this place. 16 Now I have chosen and consecrated this temple by making it my permanent home; I will be constantly present there. 17 You must serve me as your father David did. Do everything I commanded and obey my rules and regulations. 18 Then I will establish your dynasty, just as I promised your father David, ‘You will not fail to have a successor ruling over Israel.’

19 “But if you people ever turn away from me, fail to obey the regulations and rules I instructed you to keep, and decide to serve and worship other gods, 20 then I will remove you from my land I have given you, I will abandon this temple I have consecrated with my presence, and I will make you an object of mockery and ridicule among all the nations. 21 As for this temple, which was once majestic, everyone who passes by it will be shocked and say, ‘Why did the Lord do this to this land and this temple?’ 22 Others will then answer, ‘Because they abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors, who led them out of Egypt. They embraced other gods whom they worshiped and served. That is why he brought all this disaster down on them.’”

So once you read the full passage you see that God is speaking specifically about Isreal and was talking to Solomon their King who had the temple built. This doesn’t really have anything to do with us today aside from the fact I do believe we can look at their example and see that when you come to God with a sincere heart he does hear your prayers. God even in the old testament had mercy on people and wanted them to do right and repent and come back to him. That’s why he says if they humble themselves he will respond.

People often think that things that are happening today are judgment for sins. But from what I’ve seen this is not really judgement but just nature and bad decisions. According to some biblical scholars, the judgment that 's coming is supposed to be a lot worse than this. But if you look throughout history plagues, famines, natural disasters have happened during the time of the Christians. In a lot of those cases worse than what’s happening now. So I wouldn’t call it judgment.

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Thanks I’m in full agreement. I read the full passage before asking the question for context. You fraised your thoughts well and I appreciate it

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Doubtless you are correct that the Lord was speaking to Solomon, and we must understand the context. However, God’s word is Eternal, for all time and for all people. He speaks, and His word returns not to Him void. What was spoken 3000 years ago to the Children of Israel echoes throughout the years, and is still His Word. So even though 2CH 7:13-14 was first spoken in that particular context, it remains His Word, and is very much speaking to us today.

Hello @manbooks, maybe you misunderstood my point. I wasn’t meaning that God’s word was not eternal but only there are things that do not apply to us today. While yes we can look at their examples and learn from their mistakes we can’t take certain biblical passages as being applied to us as Christians. If you want to read more on this subject here are a few links.

Basic Bible Interpretation by Roy Zuck

God Bless :slight_smile:

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Thanks. I suppose the heart of the matter is how one views the Bible. Is it an instruction manual for how to live? If so, then of course we would need to know what exactly those who wrote it down meant, which parts are not meant for us, etc. I don’t know, though, I guess if really pushed, I would not agree that the Bible is meant to be understood that way. My thought is that even though the Bible was written down by men many years ago, in various cultures and languages, the Scriptures are sill “New every morning” and “more precious than fine gold”. I suppose anyone who has walked with God for a while has read through the Bible at least once, maybe more times than they can count. But then there is that moment when the Holy Spirit shares with you from the Living and Active Word. It begins to burn inside of you, and Kaboom! Revelation! Apart from the unction of the Holy Spirit, I do not believe we can understand how something written down so long ago can speak to us today, but all believers know that it does. For me, reading II CH 7:13-14, there was that burning in my heart, and I believed God was using that word, though written to another people at another time, to speak to me, and to the church, about what we are going through now. Of course, such “burning” is completely subjective, and someone else may not receive the same message from the same passage at the same time. That’s fine, but we all have “The Mind of Christ”, all connected to the One Body, and our life flows from Our Lord Jesus Christ into that Body. And when one shares a testimony of how the Word is speaking to him I would fully expect to hear an “Amen” from others.

I agree that context is incredibly important. God’s promises to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7 seem to be a restatement of God’s promises and warnings to the Israelites right before they entered the promised land.

God mentioned drought, locusts, plagues, and captivity to Solomon. These were all included in the warnings in Deuteronomy 28 (ESV):

21 The Lord will make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

24 The Lord will make the rain of your land powder. From heaven dust shall come down on you until you are destroyed.

42 The cricket shall possess all your trees and the fruit of your ground.

64 And the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your fathers have known.

When I compare Deuteronomy 28:37 and 2 Chronicles 7:20, I’m convinced God wants us to see a parallel in these passages.

Deuteronomy 28:37 (ESV)
And you shall become a horror, a proverb, and a byword among all the peoples where the Lord will lead you away.

2 Chronicles 7:20 (ESV)
Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.

These were specific promises and warnings to Israel. If they obeyed God, God would bless them in their land. If they disobeyed, He would drive them out.

I try to be careful not to claim as a promise something God promised to someone else. Not every natural disaster is a direct result of sin. Some people may pray and repent, and no healing comes. Then they might doubt the faithfulness of God.

However, I have at times swung too far to the other extreme, doubting whether God would interfere in the daily events of my life or nation. Our God is still active, and He hears our prayers. Knowing that, I’m committed to seeking His face through the difficulties ahead.