July 4, 2014.
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!”
Happy ‘Merica day! The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays for several reasons, not the least of which being grilling out and pyrotechnics. I’m sure you’ll see many posts or blogs that are going to reference the same verses I am today. In fact, the opening one I say on a picture that had the backdrop of an American flag and the Statue of Liberty. Typically I am not a fan of taking verses out of context to make them fit to the present situation, per-say, as I believe this verse is specifically talking about the children of Israel which can be used as an archetype of the church today, but I do think there is a good point to be made. There is a general truth that is laid out in one of Solomon’s proverbs. I first ran across this verse in one of the first pages of a small Gideon’s bible that also had an America flag as the backdrop.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”
This is true. We can see the rise and fall of nations with the rise and fall of morality, at least in a general sense. Many would like to disagree with this point, or show other reasons for the fall of nations, but the examples remain. Even in cultures where you wouldn’t imagine it. China is making its climb to be a recognizable player in the world arena. Do you know what is also on an explosive rise in China? Christianity. Should this surprise us? I don’t think so. When God makes a statement, that statement stands throughout time and culture. I believe this ties in well with two recent posts of mine: God and time, part two and Religion and politics. The best thing that can be done for a nation is to have the good news of Christ spread throughout the land.
A friend asked me a question yesterday. “You know, America should have lost the Revolutionary War. England should have defeated us without a problem. But they didn’t, and we won. Why do you think that is?” Sure, there are many history answers for this question such as we were fighting on our own turf or we had help from the French, but let’s be honest. England is a mighty and powerful nation, who at one point had claim to three fourths of the entire globe (granted, this was later). Why did we win?
It is not a popular answer, but I believe that we one at least partially because the Lord needed a land to restore his church. American religion has been shaped by the Second Great Awakening and the Restoration Moment that brought the bible back to the forefront of religion. Christianity has found it’s home in America and has flourished here as it seems to have died across Europe. Righteousness exalts a nation. Perhaps there were other reasons we won the war, but I would not count this one out.
But what now? Is America on the decline as so many dooms day sayers claim? I don’t know. It is indeed obvious that Christianity is at least stagnant, if not steadily declining in America. I am a firm believe that one of the main reasons we are a superpower is because we have the number of Christians in our land as we do. But we must not forget the second half of the proverb: [B]ut sin is a reproach to any people. Sin will bring a nation down eventually, and America has started down that path in my opinion.
But I am not a dooms day sayer, because I do not believe America is doomed. I believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed alive and well today, and He has the power to use us to provoke a third great awakening. Many see this as nieve and that America could never get back to the bible again, but I don’t believe that for one second. Of course we can. We have the power of Christ! Christianity grew as an explosive movement in the first century amid persecution from both Jews and Romans. Do we have that now? Have we forgotten so many favorite bible verses?
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Christians quote these verses all the time. Do they just not apply when we think of the government? I refuse to believe that America has the power to keep Christ down. If so, I do not blame the unbelievers. I blame us. And we should step up and take the blame, for if the gospel isn’t spread, it is not the fault of the unbeliever, but the believer. That’s our job. Jesus didn’t say go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, so long as they want to hear you. So long as they are a receptive culture. So long as you don’t offend anyone. No.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
That is our call. If the church isn’t growing, then I daresay we are doing something wrong. Yes, it is true that some will not accept the truth. Even many. But it is not true that all will not accept the truth. Let us be the sower and sow to all grounds, not just the good ground.
Suggested Daily Reading: Psalm 33, Proverbs 24, Matthew 10, Luke 8.
Stay strong in the Lord.