In 1997 I led a group of 100 guys from Faithwalkers, a men’s Bible study in Milwaukee to join over a million other men in the Nations Mall for Stand in The Gap, a sacred assembly to pray for our nation. It was an astounding conversion toward a spiritual awakening in our land. The key verse from 2 Chronicles 7:14 was, “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 heal their land.” This prayer and word from God first came to Solomon after the dedication of the temple where all in attendance were reminded “He is good; His love endures forever.”
Fast-forward 23 years to today. We seem as a nation to have found the darkness even at Christmas and the Season of Lights. Isaiah the Prophet said, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest as men rejoice when dividing the plunder” What was this great light? It was the coming of the Christ child called, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end” (Isaiah 9:2-3, 7). He was and continues to be the only real source of light as man’s hearts are dark without knowing Him. Even Jeremiah the Prophet said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). But then he offers some hope.
‘Your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing…But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord’ (Jeremiah 30:12,17). He is looking at the gloom, like today, but he is also looking out to the Messianic age of Christ’s coming and end time reign ahead. This is the time of distress, but God promises to free His people, to break their chains of slavery.
I have been studying the Apostle Paul’s Book of Galatians, written to a people burdened by the law and not freedom in Christ. They were bound by trying to keep the hundreds of civil and ceremonial laws of the Jewish people and Christ. But Jesus has set us free (John 8:32) from the tethers of the law we can’t keep. He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us to counsel, comfort, convince and convict us of the way to walk in His freedom.
“By His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). Yes, He took our transgressions onto Himself on the cross that we might live free and healed. We praise the One, “Who forgives all our sins, and who heals all our diseases” (Psalm 103:2-3). He lifts our lives from the pit and fills us with His love and compassion. He satisfies our hearts with good things, not bad. He wants us to soar like an eagle.
Back in the days of the beginning of the Israel nation after the exile there was a man who prayed for his nation Judah in a very special way, “Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request” (1 Chronicles 4:10). This prayer became a national treasure for believing Christians in 1997 at Stand in The Gap. This prayer given to more than a million men is one for enlarging our territory for God in ministry. It is a prayer of blessing and protection for God’s people amidst the trials. We may not be kept from pain, but God granted his request. He will grant ours’ if we humble ourselves and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. It is the only way our country and each of us will have true prosperity and freedom.
Right now people seem to be following whatever feels good like fools. Proverbs is very clear that God only blesses the wise and humble (Proverbs 3:32-33). We are warned, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips” (Proverbs 4:23-24). It speaks of the way that seems right to a man, but leads to destruction. “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other” (Galatians 5:15).
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This is a strong warning for a people bound on destroying one another. There are 59 “Love one another” passages in the Bible. Apparently this has been and continues to be “beyond healing” as Jeremiah said. But is it really? No! The Lord also responds strongly saying that He will heal if we will humble ourselves and turn away from our destructive path to His way. Our way leads to death, His to life. So choose life and be healed.