On this, my nation’s birthday I’ve had some thoughts related to my daily devotions. You see I’m on a one year Bible reading plan through the Chronological Bible. As providence would have it that means I am working through the books of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles along with some of the prophets. This is the period of time in biblical history when the divided nation Israel is falling to the Assyrians and the Babylonians. God’s chosen people were feeling the consequences of their sins and found themselves in exile, far from the promised land.
Their crime was idolatry. Their history was cyclical. They cried out to God and He rescued them and blessed them. Then they would trust more in their blessings than their God and would fall away, following instead the idols of the surrounding culture, which would inevitably lead to their downfall, at which point they would cry out to the Lord and cycle begins again.
How much different is this than what we are seeing around us? We are one of the most blessed, most prosperous nations the world has ever seen, but somewhere along the way, we have forgotten where our blessings came from to the point where we trust in our own prosperity and God is pushed out to the periphery. It’s gotten to the point where the very mention of His name in certain circles is grounds for a law suit and freedom of religion has been corrupted into freedom from religion. We have become our own gods and our idolatry is reaping consequences that defy the imagination.
Don’t believe me? Judge for yourself. Our money says “in God we trust” but with God out of the picture, we trust in our money and what is money? Pictures of dead presidents printed on paper that has value for one reason and one reason only, because we said so. It’s an idol we need to continually prop up with what? More dollars, to the tune of trillions of dollars. Gold is no better, it’s a shiny rock made valuable for much the same reason.
Then in an election year like this one we show we trust in politicians. I think of the near messianic adulation Barack Obama received in 2008. Hear this and hear it well, I have nothing against President Obama and I pray for him. This is not a political message. But when a society tries to keep a candidate from acknowledging the Messiah, they expect him to BE the Messiah and no man is that good. Let me ask a question, if politics and politicians could solve our problems, don’t you think they would have done it by now? The strength of our government is also its greatest weakness, they “derive [their] just powers from the consent of the governed.” The problem is us, the governed. We get to elect our leaders and we elect them based on how well they serve our idols. Our problem is idolatry. We need to return our worship to the only One who deserves it.
Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun and he’s right. This has all happened before so let’s learn the lesson. Let’s fall to our knees before we are driven to our knees and reach our hands to the Lord, the merciful God who has blessed us so richly. Church of Jesus Christ, this all starts with us. We need to proclaim the Gospel. We need to be about the ministry of reconciliation that has been entrusted to us. It is clear, we are a nation that needs to be reconciled to it’s God. After all as Romans 10 says, ““Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Church, preaching is our job and we need to do it.
Let’s learn our lesson from ancient Israel we may be a free country, but we are not all that independent as a matter of fact we are totally dependent on God. We need to remember that everything we have is a gift from Him. We need to return our trust to where it belongs and may God bless America.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD…Psalm 33:12