Sometimes getting all the way down to the heart is the most difficult task.
Although the journey of surrendering our hearts fully to God can often be challenging, the outcome is undoubtedly worth it. So let’s explore what happens when we humble our hearts before God.
Solomon Prepared a PlaceThere is a stunning moment in the early years of King Solomon’s reign as king. Solomon was not only wealthy and wise, but he was also passionate about God’s people encountering God’s presence in a way that would transform their hearts. He didn’t want his generation to stay in the shallow end of a dead, ritualistic religion. So one of Solomon’s first acts as king was to call the entire nation to seek the presence of God together.
Read Revival Starts Here by Dave Clayton to learn how God can work both in your heart and in the hearts of those in your community.
This longing of Solomon’s heart led him to do the hard work of preparing a place for God’s people to have a life-changing encounter with the living God. In 2 Chronicles 6:14–42, he prayed, and in Solomon’s prayer we catch a glimpse of how Solomon believed his hard work of building the temple would ultimately open the door for God to do the transformative work of changing the peoples’ hearts. God’s response was beautiful:
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 )Notice what God promises to anyone willing to do the hard work:
- He will hear you.
- He will forgive you.
- He will heal your land.
A Call to Humble Your HeartGod said that if his people were willing to do a little bit of hard work, then his blessings would flow in them and through them in ways they couldn’t imagine. Now it’s important you don’t miss a key reality in this beautiful exchange between God and Solomon. Although God’s love for his people is unconditional, sometimes his blessings are contingent upon a few conditions. I experience this truth with my three boys on a regular basis. My love for them is unshakable. However, if they want to experience life to the fullest in our family’s home, each of my sons must make good choices. The love my wife and I have for them is unconditional, but the deeper blessings of life come with some conditions. The same is true for life with God. God still longs to work in us, through us, and among us in ways we could never ask or imagine. But these blessings require us to do some hard work first. So what did this inside-out, heart-transforming, culture-shaping blessing from God require of the Israelites?
1. Humility in 2 Chronicles 7:14It all begins with humility of heart. God said to Solomon, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves.” Humility is often the starting point for a great move of God. It is a profound act of honesty. Humility simply acknowledges the truth of our insufficiency while simultaneously declaring God’s all-sufficiency. Humility allows us to let go and look up. But God doesn’t stop there.
2. Hunger in 2 Chronicles 7:14God then said, “If my people … will seek my face and pray.” I once heard Jon Tyson say, “The common thread among every great revival is a prevailing hunger for more of God.” To put it simply, God shows up wherever he is wanted. This is what Jesus declared in his most famous sermon: “Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness … will be filled” (Matthew 5:6). According to Jesus, hunger precedes the filling. In other words, those who persevere in seeking the face of God through prayer are not just those who are humble before God, but those who are hungry for God.
3. Homecoming in 2 Chronicles 7:14Finally, God said, “If my people … will turn from their wicked ways.” The hard work that precedes the greater blessings of God is not only about whom we turn to, but just as significantly what we turn away from. God is clear. He has no interest in cohabitating with our wicked ways. He says, Turn from, repent, and leave behind your old ways. One of my favorite pictures of repentance in the Bible is the stunning homecoming of a rebellious son in Luke 15. After sin had taken this young man further than he had intended to go, kept him longer than he intended to stay, and cost him more than he wanted to pay, he finally hit rock bottom. In this place, he finally came to his senses. In his moment of clarity amongst the pigs, this young man experienced all three elements of what God had spoken to Solomon hundreds of years earlier. He was humbled. He was hungry. And now it was time for him to go home. Although repentance often begins with a feeling of grief or regret, it never stops there. Repentance is a full-bodied, wholehearted return to the Father’s house! And there is where all the blessings of the Father begin to flow!
God Invites You to Humble Your HeartHave you been operating under the influence of pride? Perhaps you have allowed the disappointments of life to harden your heart, making you more defiant than desperate. Maybe your condition is more subtle than that. Have you slowly but surely begun living a life that is increasingly less dependent on God than you were a few years ago? If so, God’s words to Solomon will become a fountain of life for you if you humble your heart. Or maybe the hard work that God invites you to involves cultivating a deeper hunger for God. Is God inviting you to empty your soul and free up your calendar for consistent, unhurried time in his loving presence? If so, don’t simply think about what God spoke to Solomon, but step into it. Begin making time for God. If you do, your life will be blessed! Finally, is God inviting you to make the journey back to the Father’s house? Thanks to Jesus’ victorious death and resurrection, all the impossible roadblocks obstructing our return to the Father’s house have been permanently removed once and for all! However, the continual turning back to God sometimes still feels like hard work. Where is God inviting you to come home again? Don’t simply think about it. Step into it.
If my people, who are called by my name, will 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. (2 Chronicles 7:14 )What a promise from God!
What would happen if you were willing to do the hard work of humbling your heart before God?
On the other side of the hard work is the abundant life for which you were created. This journey won’t just change your life. God promises it will profoundly impact those around you in ways you cannot even imagine. The hard work will be worth it! So what are you waiting for? Take a step. You won’t regret it.
Read Dave Clayton’s Revival Starts Here to learn more about how to humble your heart and receive God’s blessing. This post was adapted from an audio transcript of a sermon on 2 Chronicles 7:14 by Dave Clayton. Used with permission.