The sons of Manasseh were Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead.1 Chronicles 7:14(NASB)
As Church-age believers we have the incredible privilege of access to the throne of grace for mercy to find help in time of need. Prayer for ourselves, our families, our leaders and nation.. and intercession for the lost is important - but it is also vital to understand the Bible in its correct historical context. And this verse is often quoted outside its true Biblical setting.
These were words spoken by the great king Solomon who built a magnificent Temple for Lord.. and in the company of God's chosen people-Israel, he prayed that God would be faithful to keep the unconditional covenant that He made with his father, king David. God honoured his prayer and accepted the sacrifices that king Solomon offered.. fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings, and the glory of the Lord filled the Temple.
But Solomon had failed to reference the conditional covenant that God had made with Israel at Sinai.. through their great leader Moses, where blessings would result from Israel's obedience and faithfulness.. but curses would result from their disobedience and apostasy. And so we read that in a night-time vision, God appeared to His servant Solomon and gave the king the following warning for Israel: I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice: when I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people... then: if My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land...
God also told Solomon that Israel's disobedience would result in loss of their peace.. their freedom; their land and their Temple. Indeed the Lord continued to explain to Solomon: “but if you turn aside and forsake My statutes and My commandments, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot them from My land - the land that I have given them. And this Temple which I consecrated for My name, will be cast out of My sight - and I will make it an object of scorn among all nations.'
God told Solomon that He would honour the unconditional promises He made to both David and Abraham as well as the conditional covenant, which was made through Moses - but if the nation failed to honour their covenant promises to God, (made through Moses and re-established at Solomon's Feast of Dedication) - then the nation of Israel would forfeit their peace, be uprooted from their land - and their Temple would be cast out of God's sight.
It was to Israel that the promise of God's never-ending and unconditional faithfulness to His people was confirmed.. at the Feast of Dedication. But it was also to Israel that God gave His warning of bitter calamity, which would befall the entire nation if they did not honour the conditional covenant that God originally made with Israel through Moses - and which God Himself confirmed during Solomon's night-time visitation and warning.
When the Word of God is not read in context it is easy to misunderstand it true meaning and purpose. Certainly we should humble ourselves and pray - indeed Christians are exhorted in the New Testament to: humble yourselves before the mighty hand of God and to pray without ceasing. Certainly we should seek God's face and turn from our wicked ways in the power of the indwelling holy Spirit.. as we die to self daily and live to God, for His praise and glory.
Certainly we should intercede for our world leaders, governments, nations and lost souls - indeed we are urged to make entreaties to the Lord through prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, on behalf of all men - and Paul specifically mentioned kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity - and certainly we should pray for the body of Christ, which is the Church - as well as for families and friends - yes, there are many instructions for Christians to pray and intercede.
BUT to take this verse in its correct context and seek to apply it to any nation, other than Israel is to distort the Scripture and claim a promise from God that is not for the body of Christ. Certainly we should earnestly pray that in His goodness and grace God would bless our nations, our leaders, our countries and our world.. but we should not presume to claim either the conditional nor the unconditional promises that God Himself gave exclusively to His covenant people Israel -...
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and the truth that it contains. How I praise You for the faithfulness that You show to Your people Israel and for the goodness and grace You have bestowed on the Church. Thank You for the many lessons that I learn from Your Word - Your goodness and grace.. Your righteousness character - Your merciful nature and faithfulness towards Your people Israel - and Your love for the body of Christ. Keep me faithful in prayer for those in authority.. for kings and presidents.. for nations and for Your people Israel. Thank You that in Christ I have access to the throne of God for mercy to find help in time of need, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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