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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

America's Great Need

“O LORD, though our iniquities testify against us, do it for Your name’s sake; for our backslidings are many, we have sinned against You. O the Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble, why should You be like a stranger in the land, and like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night? Why should You be like a man astonished, like a mighty one who cannot save? Yet You, O LORD, are in our midst, and we are called by Your name; do not leave us!” Jeremiah 14.7-9

It would be surprising if believers could not agree on the fact that America’s is ripe for the chastening and judgment of God. Our sins as a nation are great in number and depravity. Rampant immorality, infanticide, and greed top the list. Arrogance, pride, and independence have
separated us from the only true God. However, it would be good to remember that even wicked Nineveh experienced the mercy of God through a less than enthusiastic evangelist named Jonah. America’s great need can be summed up aptly with the above verses - even though they originally applied to Israel. There are at least three steps necessary for any national revival in this text. As we meditate on our country’s birth, we would do well to think through these steps and become a part of the solution rather than the problem.

1. We must acknowledge our sin.

Our iniquities testify against us. The New Testament condemns sexual immorality, pride,
jealousy, envy, and dependence upon drugs and alcohol. Yet all five of these are characteristics that are practiced and encouraged in our society. The text uses the word iniquity for sin. This word means sin that is crooked and wrong. Our iniquity demonstrates that we are guilty; it testifies (as in a courtroom) against us. How much better that we recognize the fact that we are objectively guilty before a holy and righteous God! We cannot dismiss our guilt simply because there are no subjective feelings of condemnation. All of us are guilty; all of us are under condemnation.

Our backslidings are many. Backslidings communicates the idea of faithlessness. The faithlessness of most Americans today is evident in a serious neglect of God. Even Christians zealously claim they believe what they will not obey. There is no example to follow in our country’s leadership. There was a time when presidents called for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving. When we faced adversity as a nation, we often turned to the God of the Bible. It is remarkable that when tragedy strikes, God becomes an experiment only to be dismissed in an ever-decreasing length of time. An example of this quick falling away became clear in the weeks following 9-11. When we fall away, we fall away from our only hope.

We have sinned against God. Until we recognize this core fact, we will not be able to move forward in true prosperity as a country. All sin destroys and kills. Americans must become convinced of this simple truth. Our economic woes, deleterious foreign policy, and ignorance of the true destructiveness of false religions like Islam are indicators of God’s displeasure. Sin wreaks havoc on those who dwell in the tents of wickedness. Faithful Christians will receive grace, glory, and good from God because their sin has been dealt with through Christ (Psalm 84.10-11). However, our country must turn or she may expect to receive condemnation, misery, and eternal punishment. Individual citizens in our country must acknowledge sin as defined by God. They must acknowledge it as destructive and present in their lives. Then, they must look to Christ as payment for their sin.

2. We must grieve over the absence of God.
Our God is the Hope of America, our Savior in a time of trouble. Israel and every other nation must find hope and salvation in the God of the Bible. Yet, God has become a stranger to America. We do not know Him. His self-revelation has been cast off, and we as a people perish. But why should it be like this? We need hope and salvation from the Lord. We lament, “Do it for your namesake. Don’t be like a traveler who stays for a brief time, but like the God who dwells eternally in the midst of His people!” We must grieve over the absence of the only wise, immortal, sustaining God!

3. We must pray for the presence of God.
Do not leave us! God is in the midst of believers throughout this land. We all should pray for the mercy inherent within this great petition. “Lord, do not leave us! Bring back the power of your presence to our nation. Meet our great need.”

July 4 is celebrated on the Lord’s Day this year. May it be a day that our country humbles itself and seeks the Lord while He can be found. If we do this, our land will have its greatest need met. If we don’t, destruction will be swift, relentless, and certain. Pray for our nation. We are all complicit; we are all guilty. Let us acknowledge this and once again experience the comforting presence of God our Hope and Savior.