ANSWERS COME AFTER FORGIVENESS
Date: April 3
Category: God Answers
2 Samuel 21:14b
"…and they did all that the king commanded. And after that, God heard and answered when His people prayed for the land."
In this story, the Israelites were not in good relation with the Gibeonites. Because of that, it says in verse 1 that God brought about a famine on the land of Israel for three years. So naturally, they were seeking God to find the reason for this famine.
When the Israelites were entering the promise land, the Gibeonites fooled them by pretending to be from a far land because they wanted to make a treaty of peace with Israel. And so they did make that peace treaty. But Saul, in his fury, decided to kill them anyway. Because he broke that covenant, God punishes them by bringing about a famine on their land.
So in verse 3, David asked the Gibeonites how they could make atonement so that they may be blessed with the Lord's inheritance. But the Gibeonites didn't want silver or gold. Instead they wanted seven of Saul's sons, it says in verse 6. "Let seven men of his sons be delivered to us and we will hang them up before the Lord at Gibeau of Saul, [on the mountain] of the Lord. And the king said, I will give them." So King David did just as the Gibeonites requested, except he spared the son of Jonathan because of an oath he made with Jonathan.
So the Gibeonites took the seven men and hanged them. After this was done, we read in verse 14b, "…and they did all that the king commanded. And after that, God heard and answered when His people prayed for the land." So this indicates that God will not answer our prayers until we repent from the wrongful things we have done. After that, we have to also reconcile with those we have wronged and forgive those who have wronged us. In other words, we need to be obedient to God if we are to have answered prayers.
The life that we live makes a difference as to whether God will answer our prayers or not. In the New Testament, we read that if we come to the altar to bring an offering before the Lord, but we aren't in good relation with somebody, then we have to go and reconcile with that person before we can bring an offering before the Lord.
In Matthew 6:15 Jesus says, "But if you do not forgive others their trespasses [their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment], neither will your Father forgive you your trespasses." It is so important that we have proper relationships with other people if we want God to answer our prayers.
So if somebody has an offence against us, we should ask him for forgiveness, and if we have an offence against somebody else, then we should forgive that person in Jesus name. It's not to say that we have to approve of what they are doing, especially if they are ungodly acts. It just means that we should let go of the grudge in our hearts.
Carrying a grudge within your heart is like drinking a glass of poison but thinking the other person will die from it. Carrying a grudge in your heart will only hurt you. Eighty percent of all sicknesses are caused by bitterness and resentment. We hurt ourselves by holding on to resentment. So God wants us to let go of that bitterness so He can begin to answer our prayers.
Forgiveness and restoration are very important if we are to receive answers to our prayers. The most important relationship to nurture is your relationship with God. You have to be right before the Lord. The second most important relationship is with your spouse. The third most important relationship is with your family. And after that comes everyone else – co-workers, peers, church members, neighbors, etc.
We should have peace with everyone in our lives. We need to let go of our grudges, forgive those who have sinned against us, and reconcile with those who we have wronged. Only when we do that will God forgive us and answer our prayers.