A much sought-after verse in times of trouble is the one found in 2 Chronicles 7:14 . The verse says the following:
if 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.
— 2 Chronicles 7:14
We can learn from this verse a general truth. Our attitude in the midst of difficulty must be one of humility before God. When the tests come, we must go before our Father in prayer to seek his face and allow him to show us if there is any behaviour that we need to abandon.
Now, every verse has a specific context. Let’s briefly look at the circumstances under which God made that promise to the people of Israel. 2 Chronicles 7 talks about the wonderful dedication festival of the temple. The people of Israel came from different regions, Solomon offered God an overabundant sacrifice, and the glory of God filled the place!
When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. So full of his glory was the temple that the priests could not enter it.
— 2 Chronicles 7:1-2
The party lasted several days after which everyone returned to their homes. One night, the Lord appeared to Solomon and said:
I have heard your prayer, and I have chosen this temple to offer sacrifices to me. When I close the heavens so that it does not rain, or order the locust to devour the earth, or send plagues on my people, if my people, who bear my name, humble themselves and pray, and seek me and abandon their evil conduct I will hear him from heaven, forgive his sin and restore his land. I will keep my eyes open, and my ears attentive to the prayers that are raised in this place. From now and forever I choose and consecrate this temple to dwell in it. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
— 2 Chronicles 7:12-16
God spoke to Solomon about the importance of all the people reaching out and clinging to him in difficult times. Strong times would come, some of them as a consequence of the disobedience of the people. However, God told them in advance what they should do in those moments: they should humble themselves together as a people, pray, seek God and abandon their bad behaviour. Those prayers had to be raised from the temple they had just dedicated. If they did this, God would hear them, forgive them, and restore their land.