Our Country has just experienced its mid-terms elections. Pundits from every corner of the globe have weighed in with their predictions and prognostications as to the direction the country will take from this point on. Noticeably missing from any of these commentaries is a realistic picture of the condition of this country from the perspective of the One who really matters, that being God. How does God see this country and where does He see it heading in the years ahead? It might be wise for the American people to step back and realistically access this country, and the world for that matter, from the perspective of the Most High.
It is easy to see the “mood” of the country as it votes from a position of desperation. Americans have come to unrealistically expect to live the American dream. When that dream seems to be slipping through their fingers like sand, change seems to be the only tonic that, to them, has any chance of solving the myriads of problems. If allowed on all ballots this year, the choice of “none of the above” would probably have won the election. Really the answer is simpler than it appears at first glance, but being simplistic does not make it easy or even remotely feasible on the human plane.
It does seem as if history repeats itself continually as Empires rise to great heights and fall just as dramatically over history. The reasons for the fall of the great empires of years past is nearly always for the same reasons—over consumption of resources, overextending economically, anger that inevitably leads to rebellion, dreams and expectations unrealized and the overwhelming reality that man, left to his own devices, will ultimately fail.
The best example of a nation that gyrated from feast to famine was the ancient nation of Israel. They are chosen as an example, instead of the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Barbarians, Romans or any other failed empires, because Israel was a nation founded and directed by God Himself. Israel, as depicted in the Old Testament of the Bible, is our example of a nation with an eternal promise who failed miserably due to their neglect of their creator. America, although it cannot be called an entirely Christian nation, was founded on spiritual principles. America, like ancient Israel, had great promise and has done great things. However, like Israel, they have abandoned those spiritual principles in favor of each man pursuing his/her own dream to the detriment of everyone else. Israel abandoned God at times. Likewise this country has abandoned the only thing that can ever really make things right.
As Israel left the wilderness of the Sinai desert, God (through Moses) warned them of the consequences that would befall them if they did not follow the God, who had brought them that far and was about to give them their dreamland (promised land). In the Book of Deuteronomy Moses gives them the good and the bad news in that order.
He begins: “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I am teaching you to perform, so that you may live and go in and take possession of the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you” (Deut. 4:1).
He describes Israel, and its potential, in a passage eerily familiar to the promise of the United States: “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 this whole law which I am setting before you today? “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons” (v.4:7-9).
Who can argue that America has been blessed from the beginning? The story of America is unlikely, maybe humanly impossible, from the outset. Today the nation is beset with deep divides and disunity which cripples all forward progress. It wasn’t always that way. In the beginning diverse men, with diverse opinions, came together with a vision and managed to reach an agreement on its quest for independence and its new method of constitutional government. Theirs was a vision of an entirely new form of government. That vision burned in their minds to the extent that it displaced individual opinions that would have broken the vision and made its implementation impossible.
The American Revolution was a miracle. Out manned, out gunned, with inferior leadership, the country pulled itself together and prevailed over the supreme power of the day because of the vision that unified all peoples and transcended all other considerations. It was this unity of and obedience to this vision that caused the victory. Throughout its history the United States has prevailed, not due to strength or character, but because of obedience to a vision greater than themselves.
Israel was similarly instructed by Moses. After he reiterated the laws the Israelites must follow in order to keep their land he said: “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known” (Deut. 11:26-28). Moses set a vision before them of a land and government that had not been seen theretofore in the earth. Theologically it was the first monotheistic (one God) government ever conceived to that time. His proposed government, while not advocating a separation of church and state as we understand it today, was a government wherein the creator ruled foremost in all matters spiritual or secular. But it was really the people who governed within the guidelines of the wise Master builder. Who would know better how to govern than the creator?
Unfortunately, throughout its history, Israel continually turned aside from its divine government and pursued its own course, to its ultimate destruction. From a purely secular viewpoint, God’s proposed government could have been a Utopia. There would have been love between peoples. Neighbors would have been treated as yourself. All of your needs would have been met with good crops, good relations, accumulation of wealth in short God’s government would have fulfilled any want or need either spiritually or naturally. But Israel continually turned aside from perfection to the imperfection of its own ways and paid the price.
Scripture describes Israel during one if it’s many periods of apostasy. This description should seem vaguely familiar to Americans today.
“How lonely sits the city That was full of people!
She has become like a widow
Who was once great among the nations!
She who was a princess among the provinces
Has become a forced laborer!
She weeps bitterly in the night
And her tears are on her cheeks;
She has none to comfort her
Among all her lovers.
All her friends have dealt treacherously with her;
They have become her enemies” (Lamentations 1:1-2).
All the issues of the day have reduced the American people to despair. Unable to express themselves through employment or being reduced to having to abandon the homes of their youth America reels like a staggering prizefighter. Jeremiah wrote the Book of Lamentations and he expresses his personal situation as resulting from the condition of Israel at that time. He says:
“I am the man who has seen affliction
Because of the rod of His wrath.
He has driven me and made me walk
In darkness and not in light.
Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day” (Lamentations 3:1-3).
Everywhere he turns he sees no hope or comfort.
“Even when I cry out and call for help,
He shuts out my prayer.
He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.
He is to me like a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in secret places.
He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces;
He has made me desolate” (Lam 3:8-11).
America faces unemployment, natural and man made disasters, threats from other countries and factions, personal crime, wars and unrest, economic woes in general, the country run by those who can afford to buy an election while the people starve. There is disunity on every front including the erosion of basic rights. And the list goes on. As Jeremiah said “even when he cried out for help” no one answered. With each new day looms an unexpected terror greater than the last. To whom do we turn as a nation? Jesus said: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. “If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand” (Mark 3:24-25). A divided America will never stand the test of time.
Christianity of today would have you turn to attempting to influence legislation to reflect moral values. But not only does this not work, it is the wrong approach in the first place. God is not religion. Neither is He a code of behavior dictated by the human conscience as claiming to know what’s right or wrong. So religion, as it currently exists, fails to stem the tide and alienates otherwise Godly people by its overbearing approach to social issues. Legislating righteousness or morality never has and never will work. As the nation of Israel proved, man is never right. It just makes sense that the only “right” there could be in the world has to come from the creator who knows all things.
Disunity exists in the two most important areas of human endeavor that is religion and government. Thousands of religions cannot agree on even the most basic tenants of who God is and what He wants. The result of that is that the very mention of God as a solution to anything provokes scorn and rejection by mankind. The seat of disunity is in the government. In the name of a cause (or political ideology) the real needs of the people are overlooked as the zeal of the political cause machine rolls on toward even more lack of agreement.
This disunity principle doesn’t exist in business. With the profit motive as a vision business works together to invent new, more efficient products. Breakthroughs in medicine, pharmacology, astronomy and cosmology, space exploration and communications industries, to name just a few, exist and flourish by masses of people working together for one goal. What great advances in government and religion could result using that spirit of unity? The Allies, including America, won the 2nd war as everyone pulled together for one goal. A wise man once said: “without a vision a people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). America has seemed to lose its vision as a spiritual nation as it attempts to force its democratic ideals on everyone else whatever the cost.
In ancient Israel God would actually cause enemies to rise up and conquer the nation when its heart strayed from Him. This is not religion; it is reality. We face an increasing number of enemies today that are becoming more and more a threat to our very existence. What will it take for us to realize that these increasingly sophisticated enemies will not go away until something changes in the heart of America? No matter how harshly God punished His nation Israel, He always held out the olive branch of reconciliation should the nation decide to turn back to Him. When they turned to Him the enemies magically disappeared. Peace was once again in the land and there was joy instead of mourning.
The prophet Jeremiah, through all he and his beloved nation suffered, concluded in the end that:
“Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.
Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him” (Lamentations 3:19-24).
There is therefore an answer for America and the world. God, the creator, exists and is very real, despite our beliefs to the contrary. He is not a benign figure way off in the heavens inattentive to our cries. He has a plan. Not just a plan that says that if we are good we will go to heaven and become perfect. Not a plan that says a chosen few will be removed from a tribulation ravaged world, the earth be damned in the process. No He has a plan for now, right here and now, on this earth, for this day. But in order to accept His plan man must somehow learn to put away his conceptions of Christianity and religion has taught mankind about what they think God is. What God is, He is our friend who always stands ready to help, love and comfort. His help, if we are willing to receive it, will be on a scale far beyond any solution put forth by man.
As Israel was promised a land for themselves, flowing with milk and honey. So God offers us a land where we can live and function on a level far beyond even our most vivid imagination. Jesus instructed His people to pray as follows: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). It is God’s vision that the righteousness and spirituality of heaven (the spirit realm where God lives) also become a reality on this earth. He does not intend for this to occur in the distant future but in the here and now—especially now when we literally teeter on the brink of destruction.
Descriptions of this heavenly Kingdom on earth abound in the biblical scriptures. The Book of Revelation says: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle [presence] of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4).
To most of you reading this it sounds like just another fairy tale, a myth, a dying grasp by humanity to hold onto something while he has lost control of everything else. I am here to tell you none of this is true. God is very real. He is very loving. He cares about the most intimate details of your life and of those around you. He cares about the terrorists; if you lost your home He cares; He cares about your children and their education; He cares so much that his own heart (we are made like Him) breaks over the sorrow and the disillusion that man has been made to feel. He stands ready to help, not to destroy. He wants everybody to be all right, safe, secure. He cares for you—He loves you every one.
But He is not a God of compromise. His principles are His principles and not one of them will fail in the end. Can’t you see people that He has backed you into a corner, and will continue to do so, so that you will have nowhere else to look except to Him? A better solution is to look to Him now. Hasn’t it become obvious that nothing is working? Do you really think that by replacing political parties that problems will be solved? Are you so naïve?
We must look to the only thing that is real and call upon that power to renew this nation. As the prophet Isaiah said in similar circumstances:
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence—As fire kindles the brushwood, as fire causes water to boil—
To make Your name known to Your adversaries,
That the nations may tremble at Your presence!
When You did awesome things which we did not expect,
You came down, the mountains quaked at Your presence.
For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:1-4).
“For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on Your name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of You;
For You have hidden Your face from us
And have delivered us into the power of our iniquities” (Isaiah 64:6-7).
This word is not just for Christians or religious organizations, it is for everyone. Few will heed it but if a few did it would change the course of history. We simply need to find that place within ourselves that recognizes that a power greater than ourselves is pulling the strings. We need to get on his side. We need to drop our differences even if for a focused moment of asking God for His divine help. He will answer. That is His promise. Let us call on Him, on His word. For God’s sake, what have we got to lose? If we don’t do this we will lose everything and that is not necessarily God’s will for us. He is on our side. We are His beloved children, sinners and righteous men alike. He wants us to have life. Don’t treat God like a distant relative. Draw Him near. Give Him a chance.
In closing we should look to the story of Jonah in the Bible. Jonah was sent by God to warn a wicked city, Nineveh, that He God was going to destroy the city completely. That is what He fully intended to do, just as He had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah long before. At first Jonah didn’t want to go. Who wants to look like a fool telling a great paganistic city that a God they didn’t know was going to destroy their city? But later he changed his mind and went to the city and spoke God’s word to the people there. The result was:
“So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.
Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
“But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.
“Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”
When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it” (Jonah 3:2-10).
The sins referred to here are not necessarily the kind of sins upon which we devote our main focus. The sin of the United States, and all nations of spirit, is that they have turned their back on God who is the only one with any good answers. God is able to do far beyond our most extreme expectations. We need only call on Him. Seek Him while He can still be found. We’ve tried everything else. What can we lose we haven’t already lost?