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Posts Tagged ‘American politics’

Crown of righteousnessI do not believe in coincidences.  That my daily Bible reading has been in the books of Kings and Chronicles for the last several weeks, books which vividly describe God trying to lead a nation through prophets, judges, and kings, but being constantly thwarted by the people’s desire to lead themselves, judge themselves, and rule themselves, this does not seem like coincidence.

We Americans find ourselves in a time of national indecisiveness, national dissonance, and national disunion, not the first time in our history, but certainly in extraordinary proportions for recent memory. It is no coincidence, I believe, that fewer Americans are committed to following God.

People who do not believe in God nor confess Jesus are not reading this blog, so I am not addressing them; rather, what I have been reading seems to speak to the People of God, to those confessed and committed, but who have forgotten Who calls nations into existence, Who decides whether they prosper or suffer, Who causes them to rise and fall.

“From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall. . . . “ (Acts 17:26, NLT)  The ancient nation of Israel kept forgetting who called them into existence, so the prophets over and over again remind them that it was God who made them a nation, who called them out of Egypt, and who expelled stronger rulers and bigger nations to give Israel its place in history.  Read Psalm 105, but notice especially this passage:

For he remembered his sacred promise to his servant Abraham. 43 So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy, his chosen ones with rejoicing. 44 He gave his people the lands of pagan nations, and they harvested crops that others had planted. 45 All this happened so they would follow his decrees and obey his instructions. (emphasis mine, mw)

America has its William Bradfords, George Washingtons, and myriad others who built America—just like Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David are early founders/builders of ancient Israel, but these people did not create nations, nor cause them to rise.  God did—and He alone. If we forget this, we forget so much more!

God blessed the descendants of Abraham with all that He had promised. Once the nation started prospering in the promised land, they quickly began to forget the One who created them, so God allowed conflict with foreign kings to remind them whose they were. In His love for them, he listened to their repentant prayers and raised up judges to lead them in battle and relieve their suffering.  In spite of his Goodness, the story of the judges ends with one of the most accusatory verses of Scripture (Judges 21):  25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.  Do we recognize our own times here; how important in our country that everyone has the right to do what they believe to be in their own best interests?

Israel begs for a king—stronger leadership, greater national defense, more international influence, greater wealth for the nation.  God tells the prophet Samuel to anoint their king, “for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer (I Samuel 8:7). They wanted Him as their God, but not their king—clear separation of church and state, not in a constitutional sense, but in the minds and hearts of the people of the nation.

So ancient Israel has some good years, then they experience Civil War and divide. The North completely abandons God, not becoming irreligious, just putting their own creations first; the South experiences an occasional revival, but over the course of time also forgets the God of their Fathers.  Both lose God’s protection, so they are utterly defeated, their nation as created was destroyed, with only a remnant surviving in an almost unrecognizable form, but enough for God to fulfil his promise to never forget those few who never forgot Him. A once flourishing, wealthy, powerful nation forgets God and dissolves into schism, political intrigue, unholy alliances, and self-indulgence, so God who had raised them to their zenith now lets them fall.

The cause of the downfall of ancient Israel was their turn from complete dependence upon God to a dependence on their own wisdom, their own might, their own rights, their own chosen leaders, their own military, their own alliances, their own wealth, their own . . . .

As we move through our time in history, as we struggle with political choices, as we experience the effects of dependence upon military force, as we witness moral turmoil and attempts to redefine integrity, it is not our vote for a particular candidate that will determine our destiny, it is whether we choose God as our King—and I don’t mean that metaphorically.Crown of righteousness

 

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