Don’t Judge Me! (ATP)
Question: I need some guidance on 2 Chronicles 7:13. The latter part states …”or send a plague/pestilence among my people…” This is confusing me because I thought He didn’t cause or create these things, or am I missing the message here?
2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people”
This is a good question and is one that occurs with many Old Testament scriptures. Sometimes, people have tried to use scriptures like this one to say God isn’t good. We must understand that although the whole Bible is for all of us, it doesn’t mean that everything that is written applies to us. Although the principles laid out all through scripture can and do apply, the specifics don’t always. This is why 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us we need to be diligent to rightly divide the Word.
So in order to understand this scripture we need to understand who it was written to and why. The context here is actually showing the goodness and mercy of God in a people that continually rejected Him. We must always keep in mind that as much as He is loving and merciful, He is also just. God cannot be partners with evil. Evil deeds must always be punished. A good example of this is say someone viciously attacked an innocent child. It would not be right if the judge just said, “Oh, you didn’t mean to, go free!” What you are seeing in verse 13 is an example of judgement on people who were wicked. This is something God does, although how it is carried out may vary. This is not necessarily saying God acted these things out, but that He is responsible for directing it or He passed judgement. It is similar to a judge delivering the due punishment to the guilty but may not necessarily be the one to carry it out.
The people of Israel did all kinds of wicked things. Remember it was them who would end up insisting on the death of Jesus who was innocent. When we read this in 2 Chronicles we pick up after Solomon had built the temple for God’s people to come together to worship the Lord and to seek Him. This pleased the Lord greatly because that represents the heart of His people coming back to Him. God told Solomon because of what he had done, He heard his prayer and designated this place as a place where He would come to them. Jesus had not yet come but this is an example of the Old Testament pointing to His coming.
God always desired to be with His people, but sin separated us from Him so He came up with a way to bridge that gap. In verse 14 God promises that no matter where His people have been, if they reject evil and turn back to Him, He will meet them. The rejecting evil and turning to Him are incredibly important. Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue… holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
This temple here is a representation of God’s desire to forgive and answer His people. His goodness is playing out in the midst of their sin, just as it did much later when Christ paved the way for us. Many people paint a picture of an Old Testament angry God looking to destroy His people but if you look at what He really did, you see quite the opposite. You see a loving God making a way for people, even and especially when they didn’t care.