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It’s time for Israeli leaders to call for a 'National Day of Prayer' based on 2 Chron 7:14

The Lord gave King Solomon a wonderful promise: Israel could turn to Him in times of war and He would show up

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prays at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, Feb. 28, 2015. (Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO)

JERUSALEM – Four weeks into this ghastly war with Hamas, Israelis and Palestinians are suffering terribly.

More than 1,400 Israeli citizens and foreigners have been killed by the terrorists.

More than 5,400 Israelis have been wounded.

And at least 240 Israelis and foreigners are being held hostage by the Hamas terror organization that runs the Gaza Strip.

At the same time, thousands of Palestinians have also been killed and wounded – both terrorists and civilians – though credible numbers are difficult to come by at the moment.

The Bible commands us to “weep with those who weep.”

As Evangelical Christians, let us be showing true compassion for every Israeli and Palestinian who has lost loved ones, and providing tangible aid and comfort and compassion for every Israeli and Palestinian who is being traumatized by this war of Hamas’ diabolical making.

Yet, let us do more than mourn.

I humbly ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog, and the entire Knesset to publicly call for a National Day of Prayer, based on the promise we read in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

In this hopeful passage in the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures), the Lord promises King Solomon and the nation of Israel that in times of war, famine, drought, deadly diseases and other national disasters, they can turn to Him in humble prayer and He will heal them physically and spiritually.

“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,” says the Lord.

Is this promise not exactly what Israel needs today?


Yet, so far – one month into the war – Israel’s leaders have not called the nation to pray and fast on a specific day, in keeping with the Hebrew Scriptures.

I note this not as a point of criticism.

Rather, I mention this to encourage them to remember that the Lord God of Israel wants us to humble ourselves and come to Him in a spirit of sorrow and repentance and even desperation, not just as individuals, families and synagogues but as an entire nation.

This famous passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is not well known or discussed much here in Israel.

But it is the Lord’s response to a specific prayer of Solomon, found in the previous chapter.

The king was dedicating the newly-built first Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and doing so with prayer, worship and many sacrifices.

The text tells us that Solomon was full of joy that the people of Israel are with him in worshipping the Lord.

Yet, Solomon was (rightly) concerned that one day the people of Israel would drift from their love of the Lord.

He was (rightly) worried Israelis would drift away from their obedience to the Word of God.

And he was (rightly) worried that the Lord would allow wars, terror, and other disasters to come upon the people of Israel to shake us, to wake us up from our spiritual slumber, and to remind us to earnestly and fervently turn back to Him and the Holy Scriptures.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 6 – beginning in verse 24 – we see that Solomon knelt down and prayed:

“If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and they return to You and praise Your name, and pray and plead before You in this house [the Temple], then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You have given to them and to their fathers.”

Solomon continued:

“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and praise Your name, and turn from their sin when You afflict them, then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel; indeed, teach them the good way in which they are to walk. And provide rain on Your land, which You have given to Your people as an inheritance. If there is a famine in the land, if there is a plague, if there is blight or mildew, if there is locust or grasshopper, if their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities, whatever plague or whatever sickness there is, whatever prayer or plea is made by anyone or by all Your people Israel, each knowing his own affliction and his own pain, and spreading his hands toward this house, then hear from heaven, Your dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know—for You alone know the hearts of the sons of mankind—so that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You have given to our fathers.”

In the beginning of chapter 7 (verses 1 to 3), the Lord dramatically responds to Solomon’s heartfelt prayer.

“Now when Solomon had finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the house. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. All the sons of Israel, seeing the fire come down and the glory of the Lord upon the house, bowed down on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave praise to the Lord, saying, ‘Certainly He is good, certainly His faithfulness is everlasting.’”

In verses 12 to 14, the Lord quietly, famously and mercifully speaks to the king in the night.

“Then the Lord appeared to Solomon at night and said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send a plague among My people, and My people who are called by My name 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.’”

Millions of American Evangelicals turn to these Scriptures as they seek the Lord to send national revival and a Great Awakening to their country.

Yet to be clear: this verse is not a promise to America.

It is specifically a promise made to the nation of Israel.

True, 2 Chronicles 7:14 is based on a principle that is similarly stated in Jeremiah 18:8, and can be applied to all nations. 

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned,” said the Lord. 

So, to be clear, it is not wrong for Evangelicals in any country – including America – to pray these verses for the Lord to rescue and heal their nations.

Indeed, it is right.

That said, the Lord has given such promises in the Hebrew Scriptures to be a specific blessing and word of encouragement to the Jewish nation of Israel.

Thus, I encourage Israeli leaders to call the nation of Israel to read these verses in the Hebrew Scriptures and hold a National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Our terrified hostages need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as we implore the Lord to set them all free.

Our valiant soldiers need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as we implore the Lord to give them a massive and decisive victory.

Our weeping widows, and widowers, and orphans need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as we implore the Lord to supernaturally comfort and heal them.

Our rattled and internally displaced citizens – driven from their homes and away from their neighbors because of Hamas – need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as we implore the Lord to provide for their every need.

Our shaken wounded – wracked with physical and emotional pain – need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as we implore the Lord to heal and strengthen them.

Our grieving nation – and our Jewish brothers and sisters all over the globe – need the mercy and blessing and favor of the Lord at this critical hour as world leaders and much of the media turns against us, and anti-Semitism is spiking beyond belief.

Let us not forget, either, the words of I Samuel 17:47.

“The Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you [Israel’s enemies] into our hand.”

Yes, we need to keep fighting to protect our nation.

But we must understand that the IDF alone – as brave and well-trained and determined as they are – cannot save us alone.

There is One who can.

And He is waiting for us to turn to Him as an entire nation.

The sooner we do the better.

NOTE: This column is based on a similar article I wrote during the COVID pandemic.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.

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