In my country July 4th is a big holiday to celebrate freedom from England more than two-hundred years ago. We celebrate with fireworks, picnics, and summertime fun. We get together with family and eat hot dogs and drink iced tea and play. We seldom think of the sacrifice past generations have made to keep Americans free. Our founding Fathers were not perfect, but they certainly risked their lives to make a nation where many weary world travelers could come and be welcomed regardless of their faith. I am thankful for such sacrifice.
Sacrifice has been a part of any countries struggle for freedom. It seems to be the way of the world to put people into bondage and freedom seems to scare the powers-at-be! Don’t you think? I mean how many world wars have there been since the world was created by our loving and wise God? One nation rises against another nation and steals their land, their livestock and their people to use as slaves. Today is no different from past generations when you really take a step back and look at history. The drive to dominate seems to be a very human characteristic, perhaps as strong as the will to survive! It is the way of the world to fight and conquer and it is almost always the general person on the street that is asked to sacrifice for the good of others. Far too often, though, the good never seems to trickle down to the people who live on the street. That is why the founding Fathers of America desired a different outcome and I am thankful that they found one! For most of us living in America the sacrifices made by prior generations has trickled down to us! I thank God for the wisdom our founding Fathers granted to them because they consulted God in prayers many times. Thanks to all who gave up so much for the freedom I experience and cherish today.
America was founded on Christian principles and was a Christian nation from the very beginning. The desire to protect religious freedom is very evident in the documents that formed this country. I am thankful for this but I often wonder what will happen to America now that we as a nation are pulling away from Christianity and God. How does God deal with nations who forget Him? We can look at how God dealt with Israel when they would forget all the good that God had done for them.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am about to deliver you into the hands of those you hate, to those you turned away from in disgust. They will deal with you in hatred and take away everything you have worked for. They will leave you stark naked, and the shame of your prostitution will be exposed. Your lewdness and promiscuity have brought this on you, because you lusted after the nations and defiled yourself with their idols. You have gone the way of your sister; so I will put her cup into your hand. “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “You will drink your sister’s cup, a cup large and deep; it will bring scorn and derision, for it holds so much. You will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of ruin and desolation, the cup of your sister Samaria. You will drink it and drain it dry and chew on its pieces—and you will tear your breasts. I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. “Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: Since you have forgotten me and turned your back on me, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness and prostitution.” Ezekiel 23: 28-35, (New International Version or NIV).
In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation. You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Isaiah 17:9-11, (NIV).
“They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like something no one wants. For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers. Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king. “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings, these have become altars for sinning. I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something foreign. Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me, and though they eat the meat, the Lord is not pleased with them. Now he will remember their wickedness and punish their sins: They will return to Egypt. Israel has forgotten their Maker and built palaces; Judah has fortified many towns. But I will send fire on their cities that will consume their fortresses.” Hosea 8:7-14, (NIV).
There are many more examples from the Old Testament where the country of Israel forgot about God, sometimes for hundreds of years! God is patient and loving and kind but God has a limit to what He will allow His people to do when straying from Him. That pattern is evident in how God dealt with Israel. America needs to wake up! We will not be the land of prosperity where milk and honey flows freely if we turn away from God! So what can the average Christian do? I mean we are only one small voice, right?
Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:13-20, (NIV).
We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. John 9:31, (NIV).
I know that I am only one person and there is not a lot that I can do to bring my country back to God. But I also know that I have a big God who can do so much more than I can do. The one and probably only thing that I can do is to pray for the people who inhabit my country, who run my country and who lead my country. Yet that one thing (prayer) is the best thing that I can do! If, however, I want God to hear my prayers then I need to make certain that I am walking in the faith of Jesus Christ and not walking with the world in sin. Won’t you join me on this special holiday to pray for our country and confess our sins as a nation! I believe it will do us much great good! Happy 4th everyone! Be safe!