Summary: For God to hear our prayers and forgive our sin then there are certain actions that need to met on our part.
Text: 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 will heal their land.
‘When I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody’s help in anyway. But now these days are gone, I’m not so self assured, I know that I, need you like I’ve never done before.’
Now I’m sure some of you will have recognised those lyrics and quickly determined just what song they come from, despite my attempts to disguise them a little bit, so any ideas? - yes they come from the Beatles track - ’Help’.
The song is written in a manner that infers that the lyric writer seems to have grown-up a bit and found that his life is missing someone.
And many of us have been in the same position at one time or another. How many of us have gone our own way before maturing and realising that there is more to life than being self centred, self indulgent and self first, last and everything. We come to a point where we recognise that we need ’help’.
In the passage from 2 Chronicles we see that God is speaking to Solomon, and He is listing the actions that He expects the people of Israel to follow if they are to be given His ’help’.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read:
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 will heal their land.
When we look at this list of required actions, we see that there are four requirements and these are just as relevant for us today, and so I intend to go through these, but not in the order in which they are written.
When I was at school I often found that by using a mnemonic (ni-mon-ik), I could remember detail for some of the exams I entered. So by re-arranging the order a little, to form a word, we might remember just what it is that God will do if we are to follow His ways.
So the first letter of our word is ’H’ for Humble.
When I left school I became a Police Cadet and after my initial training at Hendon and Ashford, Kent, I was posted to Woking Surrey.
The person in charge at Woking was Chief Superintendent, who was one of the old school of Police Officers.
On one particular day I was out on patrol with a Police Constable in a Panda Car in the Byfleet area, when I personally received a radio message to come back to Woking Police Station.
I thought that it had to be something very serious for both of us to be called back to the station, and all the way in I was going over things in my mind, trying to work out what I must have done wrong to warrant this recall.
When we arrived at Woking the duty Sergeant told me to go up to see the Chief Super pretty smartish. Gingerly I tapped on the Chief Super’s door and a gruff voice bellowed ’Come in’. I reckoned I was in trouble!!
I entered and identified who I was – “Cadet 66 Beech reporting, Sir.”
The Chief was never one to beat about the bush, and he came straight to the point, using a number of expletives along the way. Basically he wanted me to clean his golf boots!
I stood there in total disbelief. After all that effort for the Pc. and myself to come in from Byfleet, leaving the area unpatrolled; all my worry over what I might have done wrong, and all he wanted me for, was to clean his mucky golf boots!!
I suppose my face must have told just how I felt about it, so the Chief asked me:
"Well do you want to do it or not?"
And being the honest sort of chap that I am, I said:
"Quite frankly sir, I’d rather not".
To which he replied in a very stern manner, (and I’ve omitted the swear words):
"When I was a Inspector at Walton-on-Thames and there was no cleaner to attend to the station, do you know who it was who did the cleaning of the stairs?"
"Yes me. So don’t you ever think yourself so high and mighty that you can’t do the grotty jobs. You’ve got to be humble boy, and just you remember that. I want you to come back at 4.30 and clean my boots."