Gods’ plan and the frequent “changing of the guard” is repeated King after King in this power -packed book. The theme of “rise and fall” can be seen throughout Chronicles. If you watch the leaders in our political landscape today, you may see similarities. People tend to group around the leader that most represents what they want in life. There were great kings and there were wicked kings. Some lead well, then ran on their own strength, and fell. We are like that too, right? We do well, then think we did it by our own power, then fall. It’s human nature. We soar in our strength and then realize all our “soaring” was really Gods’ doing to begin with. Those that sought God– had favor and success. Those who were wicked – morally fell, and their people fell with them in death. Chronicles even lists stories of children who were burned and sacrificed. Gods’ people were doing these things! It was shocking to see these leaders take a turn for the worse within just one generation. God shows us why this took place. We can learn much from these cycles.
One surprising section is in chapter 15. Verse thirteen says,
“That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman and they swore unto the Lord with a loud voice and with shouting and with trumpets… And all Judah rejoiced at the oath; for they had sworn with ALL their heart and sought Him with their whole desire; and He was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest on every side.”
My teenagers Bibles say the people “whole heartedly” and “eagerly” sought God. It stirred our hearts. Whole–hearted is very different than tepid or lukewarm. My family likes food that is hot and if it is even close to cold, they will let me know it. I used to get grumpy, as it is a fiasco to get everyone to the table on time some nights, but now I capitalize on those moments and remind them that God wants us to be piping hot spiritually as well!
So, what did the leaders who were successful do which set them apart from the wicked leaders? Can we learn from their actions in our generation? In chapter seven we read, “When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. 2 The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it.” That is some kind of praying! That is not a trite, “thank you for the grub, God” type prayer. Solomons’ prayer so impacts the people, that they erupt in praise: “God is good, and His love endures forever.” Fervent prayer evokes worship. It also produces sacrifice as we gain Gods’ perspective. Solomon “offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So, the king (Solomon) and all the people, dedicated the temple of God. 6 The priests took their positions, as did the Levites (collaborative ministry) with the Lord’s musical instruments, which King David had made for praising the Lord… Solomon consecrated the courtyard and offered (offerings)” … So, Solomon observed the festival at that time for seven days…he sent the people to their homes, joyful and glad in heart for the good things the Lord had done for David and Solomon and for his people Israel. He blessed them (corporate fellowship) and blessed them in their homes. That is good leadership. We will also see similar traits in King Josiah later in the book when he sets (establishes) people in places of service and then abundantly and intentionally encourages them. There is much we can learn from these Kings.
The Lord then appears to Solomon and lets him know that He has heard his prayer: “When I shut up the heavens, so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, (when life gets really tough),
IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, ….(2 Chr.7:14)
Pause here for a minute. Note what God is sovereign over – Sky, Land and People and the trials that go with that. It says WHEN God does this, so we can expect it. The IF starts a conditional clause, meaning if you do what God requests, then the following things will be done in accordance with that action. It is a third person plural – if they (corporately) will humble themselves. That’s good peer pressure –if we realize results will not come unless everyone is going hard after God! It would change our meetings and their outcomes. We recently watched the movie, “The Boys in the Boat” and watching their transition from a team of eight to work as one was very motivational.  I’ve enjoyed over the years being part of teams that work seamlessly. It is thrilling to watch the results.
The word “humble,” in this verse, means to bend low, to be submitted. It is comes from a word that means to contract wings, like an Eagle. The word suggests going low and bending ones’ knee. I wanted to understand this reference, so I studied eagles flying. Eagles do something when they fly and bend their wings low called a “wing tuck.”  The winds catch their feathers and can pull them in many different directions. When their wings are tucked –they are secure and stable. When turbulence comes while they are in flight, instead of jostling on the air streams, they simply draw their wings closer to their body. They free fall, for a few seconds, until it passes. It momentarily prevents stress on their wings. Humble yourself – before the King of all Kings, tuck in, bend low and let Him steady you in the fray.
When we are young, we are tempted to fight the winds. We think we are tough and “ninja” as the kids would say. It is in our DNA to fight and struggle and prove we are strong. It is not however, part of Gods’ DNA, for those reborn. His way often comes with trusting and being still. Think of all the trials in your personal life and in the nation and world currently. When turbulence comes – and it will, we need to hear Gods word in Chronicles to His Kings and to His people now: Reposition yourselves low by bending your wings, your knee. Go low. Be submitted to the Sovereign Lord.
When the winds and rain are beating against your face– you need a reprieve. The answer is to quiet your heart. If my people would go low – stop flapping, stop fighting, stop squawking and draw in, do that themselves, (collectively and individually), God will move.
Then, in that posture, we pray. Do not just tell God what you want, but listen and hear what He is speaking – a dialogue. Here it is a give and take. Lord, this is what we see, what do YOU see? This is what we hear, Lord what do YOU hear? What is our/my part Lord and how do we/I carry that out today? It is individual and corporate. It reaches into their homes. Those times must be fostered in our places of worship. It must be taught in our homes. The temple of the New Testament was Christs body. Post Pentecost, WE are the Temple. Gathering people -it was Gods heart then and it is Gods’ heart now.
So, what is the difference between praying and seeking Gods face? There must be a difference, or one word would have sufficed. To seek here is not just a casual looking for something but an all-out search party! It means to strive after, to beg for, to go after, in worship or prayer with great desire, to demand an answer. It looks to secure and actively find what one is seeking. “Well sister Margaret, I just don’t like it when that one person prays, it’s almost like they are bossing God.” Our views of God must line up with Gods words, not some sissified version of Sesame Street. Come on now! It was God who said “if my people would SEEK my face…” If you are “His people” you have permission. The verb tense in Hebrew is not a sweet, polite asking but a demanding, radical begging and pleading. God is not scared of our emotions. “God, we need you now, desperately – please heal our hearts, heal our land!!!”
I remember when I first met my husband. We both smelled so good. I cough thinking about all that fragrance. His truck was clean and shiny. He was early for every date and had everything planned to the T. The energy was electric, and I was highly sought after. I enjoyed that season very much. He is still good on all those things, but the “chase” is not as fervent as in those days –because we are married and secure in our love. While we still enjoy dates, the effort looks a bit different than in those days before we said, “I Do.” Similarly, Jesus wants to be pursued like a Bridegroom coming to marry His bride – because He is! That’s not old news, that’s good news! 2 Timothy 4:8 tells us there is a reward for those who “long for His appearing”.
We want the “hear, forgive, heal” part. We want Gods eyes to be open and His ears attentive to our prayers, but we are often — remiss to prepare. Remiss to fully seek. Sometimes, we also may have misunderstood scripture and seek Gods’ face without passion or purity.
Also in this scripture is the word SHUV (meaning to turn). It means to go the opposite direction. STOP sinning. To go back, repent from all wickedness. God does not consider our “rights.” We do not get a say or a vote. He makes this promise conditional – we get the benefits, IF and only if, we follow HIS directions.
IF you, do these things…then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
God tells them why things are falling apart, “This temple will become a heap of rubble. All who pass by, will be appalled, and say, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’ People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them—that is why He brought all this disaster on them.’” It is one thing to fight an enemy, it is a fearful thing to fight the living God. Turn, turn now.
February is a good month to give God our WHOLE heart. (See the Rest for individuals page on this website if you need a place to start). It is a good month for us to humble ourselves before the Lord. It is a good month to pray and radically seek His face and turn from all our wicked ways. Start with one prayer, free fall into His loving grace, He awaits you.
I would love to hear your stories of what takes place as you follow these scriptures and God then starts to hear, forgive, and heal. I will post as many as possible.
Renae Roche 2024
 Joe Roche, Morning Devotion Jan.15, 2024
 The Boys in the Boat. A movie by George Clooney based on a true story. 2023.
 The word is “kana”.