The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The United States in Prophecy - Part 4

It is one thing to point out problems, but unless we offer solutions we degenerate into negative Nellies whose words only add to the problem. There is hope. There is always hope with the Lord. It will require God’s people to do some soul searching. It will cost us time and effort as we implement what the Lord leads us to do. But there is hope.

What Can We Do for our Nation?

John Wycliffe (1330-1384) was a professor at Oxford University, England. Historically he is referred to as The Morning Star of the Reformation. He was used by God to lay the ground work for the Reformation of a church that became grossly corrupted. God put it on his heart to translate the Bible into English so that people could read it for themselves and know the truth of God. In the General Prologue of his 1384 translation of the Bible he wrote:

The Bible is for the Government of the People, by the People, and for the People.10 [1]

The first thing we can do for our nation is to get back to the word of God. That doesn’t mean we start a movement to enforce Levitical dietary laws on the populace. What it does mean is that we return to the truths, (that were very much based on God’s word) we once held as being self evident as stated in the constitution. We need to go to God on the basis of His word and repent and seek His mercy. We need to live by and proclaim God’s truth in love. We need to assess our national situation on the basis of God’s word and then take action based on God’s word. We need to get back to God’s word.

As Christians our heavenly citizenship is higher than our earthly one (Phil. 3:20). This does not however absolve us from involvement in our temporal earthly citizenship. We are to be good earthly citizens complying with the laws of the land and cooperating with local and federal government in good conscience before the Lord (Romans 13). But nations are ruled by governments made up of fallen sinful human beings. The consequence of nations and governments led by fallen humanity is sinful situations. What does the citizen of heaven do when the temporal earthly nation in which God has sovereignly placed them goes astray? What do we do when the nation in which we live and which we love, falls into sin, even gross sin?

In Ezekiel it states God looked for someone to stand in the gap on behalf of His people but found no one (Ezek. 22:30). Under Solomon God gave a provision for the repair of Israel and in principle it can be applied to all nations. The provision is found in 2 Chronicles 7:14. The context is Solomon’s dedication of the Temple. The verse states:

· 2 Chronicles 7:14 - 14 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.

While this pertains primarily to Israel, there can be little doubt that God will intervene in the affairs of nations when His people within those nations humbly pray to Him and seek His face in repentance. If we want our nation to experience revival and change we, God’s people, need to pray to the Lord. We need to come humbly before the Lord and seek the presence and face of the Lord. If we want God to intervene in our nation God’s people need to get serious about their relationship with the Lord. We need to “turn from” or repent of our wicked ways. If you don’t know what wicked ways there are in your life or what you need to repent of, seek the face of the Lord. He will reveal and expose anything in your life that requires repentance. Then we need to take action in the Spirit of the Lord.

Once we’ve prayed and repented we need to not take vengeance ourselves but give all our circumstances and the circumstances of our nation to the Lord. We need to not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. This is the testimony of scripture which states:

· Romans 12:17-21 - 17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That is what we must do if we want change to come to the United States of America; we must overcome evil with God. When we do good as the Lord leads it actually binds the enemy. The enemy Satan wants chaos, rebellion, anarchy, hatred, revenge seeking, and a host of other sinful attitudes. God’s people must overcome those sinful inclinations and temptations with God’s good. That is the key to victory. The principle at work when we do that is uncovered as we understand the phrase, “For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” One commentator explains, “The coals on the head may refer to a ritual in Egypt in which a person showed his repentance by carrying a pan of burning charcoal on his head. Helping rather than cursing an enemy may cause him to be ashamed and penitent.”[2] Another commentator explains, “In Paul’s day, when a fire went out in a home, it was difficult to reignite it. Therefore, if someone’s fire went out, the women would carry live coals in clay jars upon their heads to share with the person who had no fire. Thus, the implication here was not of burning one’s enemy, but of warming him in order to ultimately win him to the kingdom.” [3] Jesus taught us to love our enemies (Mat. 5:44-48). This is the most effective way to deal with our enemies.

Returning good for evil and overcoming evil with good is not pacifism. There is a time when we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). There is a time when the just must stand up for the persecuted victims, the weak. And there are scriptural grounds for just war between nations. But what we are speaking of here is what must precede all of that. Any more serious action by God’s people against unjust sinful godless government must be the product of intense prayer and clear leading by the Lord. A close examination of America’s founding fathers and their process of revolution is a good example of godly men acting against government in a God ordained revolutionary way.

The internal and spiritual struggle which resulted in the American Revolution is encapsulated in the famous Give me liberty or give me death speech of Patrick Henry. On March 23, 1775 Patrick Henry, a godly patriot, gave a response in the debate over whether or not to go to war with England in order to secure liberty. It is not a long speech but it is powerful. Below are some excerpts from Patrick Henry’s historic words. When we read it we can see the spiritual process embedded in it. It will serve us well to keep these words in mind when responding to unjust situations in government. In part this is what Patrick Henry said:

The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings. . . .

Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. . . . If we wish to be free-- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending--if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained--we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

. . . Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable--and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”[4]

As a nation the United States still has a measure of righteousness for the most part due to the Christian element within it. We are a nation who is first to send help to those suffering from natural disasters or human created disasters. There is still much that is good with this country. However, there is a rotting part that has infected this land. One bad apple can ruin an entire basket of apples.

This country is being polluted by many small groups seeking to alleviate their guilt of sin by establishing legal legitimacy in our nation’s laws, e.g. pornographers, pedophiles, and the homosexual/lesbian/transgender lobby to name a few. Then there is the influx of enemies invading the land attempting to take it over by infiltration and progressive (or should I say digressive) change from within such as those seeking to impose Sharia Law in enclaves of our nation. There is an element of this in illegal immigration as well. This country is infected with numerous cancers of sin. This sin is causing a lot of pain in our nation, in the sinners themselves, and in the innocent victims of the sin. Unless those sins are dealt with, our country will die.

What’s the bottom line solution? More laws, stronger laws? There are plenty of laws on the books but it is apparent there is little will to enforce them. The apostle Paul warned the Church, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). Our nation is not a church but it was founded on Christian biblical principles. For some time now through revisionist history an insidious movement has all too successfully wiped away the rich treasure of our nation’s Christian heritage. We have become a secular humanist nation. And we see all around us the evidence of being cheated of what was once “America the Beautiful.” America has become ugly in many ways. Our nation has not aged gracefully. I encourage you to read the lyrics to that Katharine Lee Bates national hymn. It will bring a tear to your eye when you contrast the poetic national imagery of what we once were with what we have become due to sin.

What’s the solution? The solution is the sinful need to hear and see the good of the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ. We need to speak and apply God’s truth in love (Eph. 4:15). Jesus said sin is enslaving and that is what we see in our nation. Jesus said the only way to be truly free and liberated from sin is through the truth of His word (John 8:31-36). We need to shake off the shackles of political correctness and worldly philosophies and say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes . . .” (Rom. 1:16). We need to be disciples of Jesus. That is the solution.

In our final part of The United States in Prophecy we will answer the question where is the United States in prophecy? Until then, keep praying for our nation. Don’t be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good. Hope in the Lord.

10 Wycliffe, John. General Prologue of the Wycliffe Translation of the Bible, 1384. John Bartlett, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1863, 1955), p. 1021.

[1]Federer, W. J. (2001). Great Quotations : A Collection of Passages, Phrases, and Quotations Influencing Early and Modern World History Referenced according to their Sources in Literature, Memoirs, Letters, Governmental Documents, Speeches, Charters, Court Decisions and Constitutions. St. Louis, MO: AmeriSearch.

[2]Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:490). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3]Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson's Application Commentary (975). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.


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