When Solomon had finished the temple of YHWH and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of YHWH and in his own palace, YHWH appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a temple for sacrifices. 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, 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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:11-14
Oft quoted, the great “I AM,” responded to King Solomon’s prayer upon the completion of His temple, giving the conditions for the renewal and restoration of Israel (when they would inevitably fall into sin). Though in some ways generally applicable to God’s people (the church) today, they must not be read to imply that a geo-political nation could experience restoration just because God’s people were revived. A nation, such as the United States, cannot be revived (as it has no covenant relationship with God), but a church (and churches) can be, and need be. We must always understand the context in which God speaks, if we desire a healthy interpretation of His Word.
Having said all that, we (as church members) must also understand the key to restoration and renewal (corporate and individual). It is always in the “turning.” We must turn from sin and self and renew our trust in Christ alone. Politics and political leaders cannot save, neither can their parties. We will do almost anything it seems to get what God has promised, but repent; however, only repentance can open the door for God’s blessings to flow.
So, when the heavens are shut, the land is devoured, or a plague invades our lives, then it is always a good practice to humble ourselves, seek the Lord, turn from wickedness, and pray. Revival is for those who know Christ already, as is the condition for it, repentance.
Believe me, no matter what we say with our lips, we will never begin to pant after God until we repent of the self-sufficiency that has made its home deep within our hearts. – Selwyn Hughes