A View From the Bottom
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The Old Testament of God's Word is chalked full of historical references and facts depicting Israel's triumphs and struggles. All throughout the Old Testament we find God making promises to His people, and, as is always the case, He kept them.
Today, we, the United States of America, find ourselves following in the footsteps of Israel. No, we were not chosen by God as "His people;" Israel, alone, has that honor. However, history reveals, to anyone willing to be intellectually honest, that the majority of the forefathers of our republic sought that our nation be a people of God. And because of the Biblical foundations of our country found all throughout our original documents, God looked down upon us with favor and blessed our land.
Things have changed.
As was noted in the recent Newsweek cover story, "The Decline and Fall of Christian America" by Jon Meacham, Christianity in the United States is down. Although many Christians were outraged by that article, the truth is simple: we, as a nation, are not seeking after God, and the results are in.
Our governing bodies have fallen away from Biblical morals and precepts. What was once considered by the Framers of our Constitution as basic, mandatory guidelines are now looked upon with contempt. Our schools are no longer used to teach sound education and religious morality, but rather are there to babysit and indoctrinate young minds into believing government is the answer and relative morality. In other words, instead of following God, we have chosen to BE god.
Moses recorded the words of God in Deuteronomy 28, versus 1-14. It states,
1 If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. 2 All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8 The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9 The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you. 11 The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you.
12 The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.
Of all the words in this passage, none are more meaningful that this one...IF!
IF we "fully obey." IF we "pay attention to the commands." IF we do what we are suppose to do, then God will do His part. IF we don't, we suffer.
Jeff Foxworthy is known worldwide as a comedian. As a self-proclaimed redneck myself, I think he's hilarious. However, I haven't heard many refer to him as a "deep thinker" or "philosopher" or "theologian." Nevertheless, when being interviewed on the Glenn Beck show on FOX, Jeff made this very keen observation. He stated that often people ask God to bless America, and really, what they mean is "God give us more stuff...wealth." Foxworthy reasoned, "What if God's blessing was His whittling us down to size so that we actually listen to Him?"
WOW! How amazingly true! Jeff, you might be a theologian!
This is exactly what God is saying to His people in Deuteronomy 28. God said He would make us "the head" and not "the tail," and we would always be "at the top" and never "at the bottom" IF..."we pay attention to the commands of the Lord our God."
America stopped paying attention a long time ago, therefore we find ourselves now as "the tail" and on "the bottom."
Are we willing to listen, yet? Are we paying attention?
In Ezekiel 16 we read an allegory description of what God has done for His children, and our response to Him. It's not a pretty picture...at least not the part about our response. In there we hear about how God, in His infinite love and grace, picked us up from our dead state and bathed us, clothed us, and provided for us. We lived in His presence for a time, but then, we chose our own way. In Ezekiel's words, we became "prostitutes." We looked at the blessings God gave us and believed we were the reason for our success instead of God. We "trusted" in our own abilities, our power, our wealth, our fame, and thus, became god in our own minds.
The view from the bottom is not pretty. America has seen the other view, and, I would venture to guess most of us enjoyed it more. Therefore, if we are to find ourselves once again gazing out over the world from the top, we must IMMEDIATELY stop trying to do "things" of our own power in order to climb up out of this mire, and we must look to the One who picked us up in the first place and sat us on the precipice of His grace. We must be willing to see the hand of Almighty God at work throughout our nation's history and surrender to His authority both as individuals and as a people.
I strongly challenge you to read Deuteronomy 28 and Ezekiel 16 and see the clear painting of our current situation. If you believe this to be true, pass it along to your friends and family. Encourage them to read this post and see for themselves. If you don't believe it, that is your choice, but I can't help but believe you are unwilling to be intellectually honest with yourself. Open your mind and look at this from God's eyes...the Creator's perspective. Give it an honest look before you pass it off as myth or lie.
God bless America, even if that means we still need a bit more "whittling down." Help us, O Lord, to see your righteous right hand at work in our lives and submit to your leadership and sovereignty alone. Help us to delight ourselves in You and You alone so that the desires of our hearts will be Your desires. Help us to trust in You and not to lean on our own understanding. Lead us into your presence, O God, and keep us there. May we remain in You! May our answer always be "yes" as we walk in Your truth and wait for you. May Your name and Your renown be the desire of our hearts! Amen!
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