Man’s Returning and God’s Waiting

 

God answered Hezekiah’s prayers three times during his life. Once was to pardon those unclean seekers who had come to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 30:18-19). Because of the rebellious nature of the Israelites at that time, the Lord of righteousness and justice had no reason to pardon them. They had violated their covenant with God, forsaken the Lord and served the idols. God should have punished them according to the covenant. Yet, God showed mercy to those who returned and sought after Him. Why was the Lord willing to answer the prayers of Hezekiah and the Levites? According to the revelation of God, there are a few reasons for which we may marvel at His great love.

 

1.      The Faithful Lord remembers His promise. “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 Chronicle 7:14) After Solomon completed the temple’s construction, he asked God to hear the prayers of the people who would sin against Him in the future. God made him the above promise. One of the beautiful aspects of God’s attribute is His faithfulness. If we have a heart of repentance, of returning to God, of seeking after His face, God will accept us like a merciful father because His faithful attribute is unchanging. Men sometimes fail to keep their promises. God will remain faithful and keep His covenant of love. He pledged an oath from the days of old. (Micah 7:20) “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13) But we must not abuse God’s faithfulness and love.

 

2.      God answers seekers’ prayers offered in His Temple. -  “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.” (2 Chronicle 7:15) After Hezekiah and the Levites purified the temple, the dwelling place on which God put His Name became once again a temple of prayers, a contact point of fellowship between men and God. In the dedication service for the Holy Temple, Solomon repeatedly mentioned in his prayer that “when Your people prayed here…, then hear from heaven.” (1 Kings 8:30-53) (Of course, we know that if the Israelites sin against God and break the covenant, God would chastise them and cast them out of the land, and even reject His temple, as He has today.) God takes seriously “the prayers offered in this place”. It indicates that when we draw near to Him and seek His Name, He will search our hearts and answer our prayers. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14) Lord Jesus once metaphorically spoke of the temple of prayer as His Body; the Church is Christ’s Body. When a consecrated Church prays to our Heavenly Father in the Name of Jesus Christ, God will surely grant us His answer. (This writer takes the metaphoric meaning instead of the superficial meaning of the temple.)  

 

3.      The God of love waits for the return of sinners - “I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me." (Hosea 5:15) There are many teachings from the Bible on how man waits for God. During the reigns of Hezekiah and former kings, God spoke to His people through the prophets Hosea and Isaiah, beckoning them to return from their way of disobedience. And God waited for the awakening and return of His people. “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18) God in heaven is like a compassionate father. He waits every day for the return of His prodigal son who is lost and gone astray.

 

Summer Conference is a great opportunity for our church to return and turn to God. We should grasp this moment of grace given by the Lord.

 

By: Daniel To