These days my Bible reading is from the book of 1 Kings. King Solomon is a fascinating person. I love that when God told Solomon he could have anything, he asked for wisdom. (1 Kings 3) Not money. Not land. Not world power. But wisdom!
Today I was in chapter eight. Solomon finished building the temple and is praying over it. His words in verse 46 thru 50 really touched me. I'll explain why, but for now here are the king's words as he prayed for Israel:
"When [the people] sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their conquerors to show them mercy."
Notice the words "if they have a change of heart." That is truly what life in Christ is all about! A change of heart.
When I read those words this morning, two things came to mind:
1. Our country. The United States is in a world of trouble and it's because we've turned away from God. God is mocked, ignored, and denied in our land. It is fast becoming the land of our enemies. The Enemy, to be specific. The heart of our country gets blacker with sin every day. President Obama promised change, but the change he has brought is not the change the heart of our country needs so desperately!
The second thing I thought of is:
2. My friends and loved ones who are living apart from Jesus. Oh, that they would have a change of heart! Oh, that they would pray such a prayer and confess their sins! God is ready and willing to forgive anything and everything. Jesus went to the cross and carried our sins with him so we could have life eternal!
God gave Solomon wisdom beyond anything anyone had ever had or would ever have. (1 Kings 3:12) But we can still tap into that amazing wisdom by reading these words and applying them to our lives every single day!
"May [God] turn our hearts to him." 1 Kings 8:58