Just Pray

The condition of our country is about the worst it has ever been, and there are few signs that any improvement is coming soon. God’s blessing on our country appears to be waning, and unless, somehow, we can get our leaders to recognize and get back to the roots our country was founded on, we will spiral down a path of destruction from which we can never recover without divine intervention.

History is full of examples of dynasties, empires, and other super powers that look invincible for a time, and then die and diminish into the history books. One example that is worth noting that avoided this trend is the nation of Israel, so bear with me as I  lay the groundwork for this discussion.

God formed this nation just prior to and in the midst of captivity during their persecution in Egypt.  When they were liberated from this bondage, led through the wilderness, and brought to the edge of the promised land, God met them there and gave very specific warnings, instructions, and prophecies regarding their future conduct and leadership. Moses prophesied at that time that Israel would ask for a king to be over them like all the nations that are around them have kings over them. In seeking to be like everyone else, they would reject God as their only king.

Deut 17:14 ¶ “When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold. 18 “And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.

When they entered the land of Canaan, they had the Lord on their side and they were invincible. Nobody could stand up to them throughout the life of Joshua and the elders who were alive alongside Joshua. But even beginning during the life of Joshua, the Israelites were beginning to take too much credit upon themselves and their trust in God’s promises were wavering.

After the death of Joshua, Israel began turning away from the Lord and followed the gods of the nations they had displaced, of those they failed to utterly destroy, and those of the surrounding nations. They fell out of favor with the Lord and entered into a cycle of sin and rescue during the times of the judges. For a time they would do what was right in their own eyes and God would give them over to their enemies, to oppression and servitude. They would eventually cry out to God, and He would hear and rescue them, but after the judge who would lead the rescue died, they quickly turned away from God again. This cycle repeated itself 15 times. Every time the eyes and hearts of Israel turned away from the Lord, they suffered defeat time and time again.

Following the judges, Israel cried out for a king to rule over them, to be like the surrounding nations. This fulfilled the prophesy made by Moses and, despite warnings by God over subjugating themselves to an earthly king, their insistence prompted God to choose Saul as the first king of Israel. They had rejected God as their only sovereign King.

King Saul lost sight of God, however, and the growth of Israel was stifled. This did, nevertheless, give Israel its first taste of what life is like to live under the rule of a human king. During king Saul’s reign, God raised up David, a man after God’s own heart, to eventually supplant Saul as king over Israel.  He was not without sin, but was devoted to God for the duration of his life. Israel prospered under king David. After the death of king David, his son Solomon ruled in Israel.

Solomon’s reign began with great promise, seeking wisdom from God for the enormous task of ruling over Israel. But he soon forsook the law of God, taking many wives from the surrounding nations and allowing his heart to be divided and turned away from the Lord. This was despite warnings by God about taking many wives for himself. He also acquired excessive silver and gold, as well as horses. It seems that he either did not write for himself a copy of the law of God, as Moises instructed, or he simply did not care to follow it. He clearly did not heed its warnings and the result was that, despite the blessings he would see in his lifetime due to his father, David’s devotion to God, Israel would be split and sent spiraling down a path of wickedness that would scatter the people and of which, to this day, it has not recovered…yet.

The amazing thing about this story is that it is not finished. Despite horrendous persecution and many despondent dictators desiring to completely obliterate the Jewish nation, in 1948, the nation of Israel was once again established. Israel is God’s chosen nation. Through the years He has never forgotten or forsaken His promises, but has always kept a remnant who followed Him. God, in his sovereignty and in his way, is putting the pieces together to one day restore Israel to prominence and institute Jesus as the future and final King of Israel for all eternity.

So what does all this have to do with us?

The United States was founded on principles that have been, for the most part, consistent with the principles in the Bible. A very good argument can be developed that our nation was indeed founded on Biblical principles, as were many of the institutions and learning centers that shaped the early intellectual and personal growth in our country, and in the leaders of our country for the first century of our nation’s history. Our country has been extremely blessed and has enjoyed unprecedented growth and advancement over its relatively short history.

Our country has also been a staunch supporter of Israel and I believe that this is a large part of the reason we have been so blessed.

Gen 12:2 And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

By blessing Israel, and standing by and supporting Israel, we have put ourselves in favor with God. Over time, however, anti-Christian and antisemitic sentiment and anti-Biblical principles have been allowed to creep in and replace and supplement the intentions of the founders of our country. The church has been largely silent and has permitted these changes to take over with very little resistance. Our country has largely forgotten the God of the Bible and has replaced God with self and personal glorification. Our country is going down the same path that Israel took, and the people in our country are doing what is right in their own eyes.

The blessings we are accustomed to in our daily lives are in danger. We have a president who is more sympathetic with the Palestinian agenda rather than that of Israel. We have media bias that leans against Israel. The Bible and Biblical principles are being shut down in the highest courts of our country. Persecution of Christians and Biblical ideals is on the rise as the legislation coming out of our governments is moving away from the principles found in scripture.

God is sovereign, and while He is patient, his patience will not last forever. If our country does not alter its course, I fear we may be past our time of great prosperity and on our way down the path of past civilizations that once enjoyed great power, but now reside only in history books. If it is not already too late, now is the time for the church to act! Now is the time for the church to stand up for what we believe in! Now is the time for the church to pray!

There is an effort underway now in many churches in our country to “Pray Across America.” It is not too late to get in on this and it may be just what our nation needs to begin to turn things around. While not necessary, A US Prayer Atlas can be obtained from www.pray31.com. Start now. Start next month. Do it every month if you feel called. Just pray.

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