"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
General George Patton, "Old Ironsides", steps to the middle of a stage erected before the members of the Third Army. Behind him is a massive American flag that covers the background. He's come to inspire the men of the Third Army on the day before the biggest amphibious assault in the history of the world, D-Day.
That is the opening scene in the 1970 movie, PATTON, and the General was played by George C. Scott. Most likely, before this colorful and outspoken General of World War II came to that stage, he most likely passed in review of the troops, all dressed in their 'inspection-ready' class A uniforms. That inspiring imagery of all that American might that those troops represented must have made the General proud. His speech was inspiring, cajoling, and inflammatory. And D-Day, the biggest landing by any opposing Army, cost countless lives and equipment losses and spearheaded the Allied course to victory over the Axis powers.
In Psalms 50, God comes to 'inspect' the troops. And our God knows how to make an entrance, "Our God approaches and is not silent; consuming fire goes ahead of him and all around him a storm rages" Psalms 50:3 NET. There is no doubt of the power and majesty of God. The troops must have been awed and inspired by such a display.
But, God didn't come for a pep talk, but an inspection. And He found them wanting. Much like today's churches and Christians, He found that the religious 'actions' of the 'covenant people who ratified a covenant with God' were performing them for all the wrong reasons and with the inspiration of robots. No heart, no thankful service. God came to remind them that their actions weren't the heart of the sacrifice He savored, it was the heart behind the actions.
"Listen my people! I am speaking! Listen Israel! I am accusing you! I am God, your God! I am not condemning you because of your sacrifices or because of your burnt sacrifices that you continually offer me." I wonder how many of us church Christians today would quake under that powerful voice. I wonder how many would mentally finger their 'religious actions' checklist and wonder how God could accuse us of misdeeds. I wonder how many of us would slap our heads with the realization that God has no need of us, but has every heartfelt desire to be our God and how much of our actions, thoughts, and deeds are done out of mechanical type service instead of with the loving, thankful heart that God has for us.
"Even if I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and all it contains belongs to me." God doesn't need our permission or our hands to do what He will. He owns everything, having created it from nothing. He has authority over everything, being the one who made the creatures upon this world. He is God, not man and through such, has no human need. Even if He did, He would have the ability and the authority to fill that need. Yet, too often our response to God is 'involuntary' service. An "I'll do it because that's what the bible says I must do" attitude, not a thankful "I want to do it because it brings a favorable aroma to my Father" attitude.
I wonder if Christians throughout the world, especially on a day like the National Day of Prayer, are inspection ready. And whether or not the troops would inspire their Generals, those leaders in the limelight, to be proud and inspired themselves. Too many leaders, such as Billy Graham, Dr. James Dobson, and others of the 'Old Guard' are getting older. They have been in the battle for the kingdom for years and have become a staple for Christians anywhere. They have fought the good fight, and face the scorn of many, even Christians themselves. But where are the leaders of the future? And why aren't they in the arena fighting the fight, relieving the Generals that have fought the battle for so long?
Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Bill Hybel, and Joyce Meyers. Where is the public outcry, the emails, the sermons about the Hate Bill that is coming for a vote on this National Day of Prayer? I haven't heard anything from them. They speak of the love of God, the favor of God, and how to 'name it and claim it', but there is no naming the silencing of religious freedom and claiming the authority to speak out and stop such legislation. Are these our leaders for tomorrow, when the Grahams and the Dobsons are called home after their faithful work in the fertile fields? I cry for the kingdom, if that is the case.
God is love, this is a fact that is exposed over and over in the bible, in His actions, and in His words to the faithful. That is an undisputed fact. But God is also wrath, aland righteous anger. Where is this God in the churches of today? Seeker friendly churches, not wanting to turn away those who 'might not be able to handle that' never speak of it anymore. Tapes, CDs, and DVD sermons espousing the 'good' that God wants for you is all you hear, even among the mature family that can handle meat instead of milk.
As God tells us in this Psalms, "God says this to the evildoer: 'How can you declare my commands, and talk about my covenant? For you hate instruction and reject my words. When you see a thief, you join him; you associate with men who are unfaithful to their wives. You do damage with words, and use your tongue to deceive. You plot against your brother; you slander your own brother. When you did these things, I was silent, so you thought I was exactly like you. But now I will condemn you and state my case against you! Carefully consider this, you who reject God! Otherwise I will rip you to shreds and no one will be able to rescue you."
There are churches that don't mention "Lord" anymore because they are trying to get away from the 'power connotations' that word implies. They don't name God or Jesus, because they are 'seeker friendly' and don't want to offend. Too many churches say that Christians should not be involved in the political process because "we have to tolerate" everyone. But God tells us that those who oppose Him will not be recognized by Him on that judgment day.
On this National Day of Prayer, let us unite under the flag of the MOST HIGH GOD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The God who sent His only son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth as man, to die upon a cross burdened with the sins of the world, and who conquered death to rise again so that all should not perish but all have eternal lasting life.
And let us, on this day of National Prayer stand together, Lutheran and Protestant and Catholic and Evangelical and whatever denomination you chose to label your faith to God under and DEMAND, CRY OUT, and MAKE OUR VOICE HEARD THROUGHOUT THE NATION!!! Call your congress and TELL them what you want; the freedom that was given to you by God, endorsed and ratified by the founding Fathers and the countless pilgrims who came to this land. TELL them that you expect that this HATE Bill will not be endorsed and will not become law.
"America, what have you missed while you were sleeping….." the band Casting Crowns sing. I pray that we might wake up in our pews and in our chairs throughout the churches in the great nation of America and see what is being done to the dream. It is time for Christians in America today to stand to the line, in their inspection ready class A hearts and prepare for the biggest invasion of a spiritual army into the heart of the darkness.
It is time to answer the call of our General and "pray and humble ourselves so that our land might be healed and our sins forgiven!"