Question: The other day, in a discussion about God’s covenant promises and their application to the United States, a guy told me that 2 Chronicles 7:14 had no application. This didn’t sound right to me and I was wondering what your thoughts were.

Answer: How could this verse not apply today? Are not Christians God’s people? The Bible also says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Ps. 33:12). Notice that this Psalm does not say, thus limiting its applicability, “Blessed is the nation of Israel whose God is the LORD.” Note the universality of this Psalm:

  • “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made” (v. 6).
  • “Let all the earth fear the LORD” (v. 8).
  • “The LORD . . . sees all the sons of men” (v. 13).
  • “Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him” (v. 18).

Israel was to obey God’s law so that other nations “will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the LORD our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as the whole law which I am setting before you today’” (Deut. 4:6)? Israel as a nation was to be an example to the other nations so that they would follow the same pattern—“to do justice and righteousness” (1 Kings 10:9)—and receive the same benefits.

The NT says that we are to “make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:18–20). What’s the upside for the nations if they will not be blessed by embracing the gospel and following God’s commandments? Jonah took the gospel to Nineveh. Nineveh repented and was blessed. The book of Jonah is the microcosm for the NT world under Christ: Repent or perish or repent and be blessed.

Benjamin Franklin, while not a great theologian, grasped the message of the Bible better than some Christians when he stood before the Constitutional Convention to call on the assembly to unite in prayer:

To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance? I have lived . . . a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice,[1] is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the Sacred Writings, that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”[2] I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.

Following the interpretive model that excludes the principles of 2 Chronicles 7:14 from NT application, it would mean that the entire OT would have to be written off. The apostle Paul himself would have to be chastised for using Israel as an example for the church: “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Cor. 10:11).


[1] Matthew 10:29. [2] Psalm 127:1