By faith (Abraham) dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Heb. 11:9-10
Yes, I am a tad irate.
If you read my recent Facebook status (in regard to our latest government shutdown) you would probably come away thinking that I was pretty annoyed with our politicians in general and our president in particular. You would be right. I’m angry that our government has closed up shop, I’m angry that our nation is 17 trillion dollars in debt. I’m angry that half our nation has become (or is becoming) dependent upon government assistance. I’m angry that the constitution is being trampled upon. I’m angry that our leadership is cozy with our enemies.
And that’s just the short list!
Then the Lord offered this explanation:
“The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” (Psalm 2:2-12)
The Psalmist explicitly states that part of the problem lies with the leaders. Working together, our rulers (nationwide and worldwide), seem to do everything within their power to violate, transgress, and/or contravene the ways of the Lord. As they collectively cut the cords that bind, they legislate ungodly decrees to hinder those of us who choose to cling tightly to them. As the psalm concludes, our Father in Heaven compassionately offers our kings the opportunity to repent. Hence, it’s only fitting that we pray for them.
The Bigger Problem
It would be easy for us to rest upon the knowledge of Psalm 2 and deny that there are other issues that serve to perpetuate our current national decline (boy, wouldn’t that would be a shame). I believe, based on scripture, that the larger portion of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the church, or more accurately, the nominal Christians who make up the church.
What is a Nominal Christian?
Nominal Christians (NC’s) fall into different categories, ranging from those people who think they’re believers (but have no actual relationship with Jesus Christ), to those who are born again and are severely back-slidden, and everyone in-between. One characteristic common to all NC’s is selfishness; that is to say, they are primarily serving themselves and not Jesus Christ. Plainly said, they are not committed, submitted, or consecrated to God.
Consider God’s words to King Solomon.
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
One might look at the present condition of the United States and surmise that the reason for our nation’s downward spiral is because the majority of us are decadent, depraved, and degenerate, non-Christians. I submit to you that’s not the reason at all. Those who aren’t walking with Jesus Christ should be behaving in this manner — it’s what heathens do.
God’s warning to Solomon was for the believers who were acting illicitly. Clearly God is saying to His church that it’s time to clean up our act. In other words, it’s time for those who call themselves Christians to start acting like Christians. Our nation is not going down the tubes because of the perverted efforts of one elected official. It has taken us decades to get to where we find ourselves today. Our current president can point to the former president all he wants and proclaim that it’s his fault, but he’s wrong — it’s the churches fault. This wrath we’re witnessing, which is only a very small glimpse of the wrath to come, is our fault and it is a direct warning to the church to repent. God uses those in authority to admonish His children, in much the same way He used King Nebuchadnezzar (and Babylon) to admonish, and ultimately correct, the nation of Israel.
“For I the Lord do not change” Malachi 3:6
What should we do?
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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
If God is saying that we need to be humble, it means that huge numbers of us, since the inception of our nation, have positioned ourselves above His authority. Therefore, we must express godly sorrow for our sin and step down from that post to a place of submission. If you’re not agreeable to this doctrine, then don’t even bother praying, for God will not hear you; the text is that clear. The directive is to be humble, pray, seek Him, and turn away from depravity. And remember, the ordinance in this context is not for the heathen, it’s for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ!
For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 2 Corinthians 7:8-9
Are you angry?
I hope you are.
Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4
Let your God-given emotion bring you to a place of decision. I hope you’re angry enough to lovingly pray for our government and our leaders. I hope in your anger you allow the Holy Spirit to identify your role in the equation, as I have. I was once a NC and although I have repented, I recognize that my back-sliding days have caused much damage. So while it is true I am forgiven, I am as much responsible for what’s going on in our nation as those who are actively nominal in their faith. It is for this reason we sound the trumpet. There can be no healing of the land unless the church as a whole is submitted to the will of God. It starts with me and it starts with you.
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11
But aren’t we aliens in a foreign land?
Why should we care what happens here, after all we’re just passing through, right?
This is true, but we’re also called to be good stewards with the things the Lord has provided to us. How selfish it would be to devour the land and our liberties, without any effort to leave the place better than we found it. We have also been instructed by our creator to submit ourselves to those in authority over us and to obey the laws of the land, as long as those laws do not violate the laws of our Lord. Therefore, it is our duty to sustain that which is good (as prescribed by our forefathers) and maintain that which the Lord has graciously given. In regards to our stewardship, I cannot help but think of Christ’s words to Saul (aka: Paul) on the lonely road to Damascus.
‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:14-18
I ask you, has God stopped sending people?
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