Throughout Scripture, we read of many instances when the children of Israel turn their backs on God. Over and over, the people of God choose unrighteousness, idolatry, and ungodliness over following the commands that God laid forth in the Law of Moses. Time and time again, Israel forsook the plans and will of God and turned instead to that which grieved the Lord.
As 21st century Christians, it is easy for us to look at Israel’s pattern and think, “What is wrong with these people? After all that God has done for them, and they STILL don’t get it!” Things would be going good for the people of God, then someone would come along and lead them astray. The judgment of God would come in the form of famine, plague, pestilence, or hostile nations, and Israel would cry out to God for deliverance. Once God had mercy on them and delivered them, it was often not too long before they were back to the same (or another form of) foolishness. This just makes no sense to us, right?
This past weekend, we recognized the 70th anniversary of D-Day… the day the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy and began the quest for freeing Europe from the grip of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi regime. Throughout our history, we see during those times of trial and testing the firm reliance our leadership had upon God. Prior to the D-Day invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower addressed his troops. He closed the address by saying…
Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Winston Churchill once said:
The flame of Christian ethics is still our highest guide. To guard and cherish it is our first interest, both spiritually and materially. The fulfillment of Spiritual duty in our daily life is vital to our survival. Only by bringing it into perfect application can we hope to solve for ourselves the problems of this world and not of this world alone.
We can look at recent history, and see a nation relying upon the power of prayer and belief in God:
- We held prayer vigils during times of tragedy, such as the shootings at Columbine or Sandy Hook.
- We flocked to churches when Operation Desert Storm began, and in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
- We saw communities come together and draw near to God during disasters like the tornadoes that devastated parts of the south a few years ago.
So what happened? Once the smoke cleared and the dust settled, where did the reliance upon God go? Why does the public boldness to speak the name of Jesus suddenly disappear once the crisis is over? Maybe it’s time for this nation to understand that we could probably avoid some of the things we are trying to pray ourselves through by making the decision to follow the commands of God in the first place. Instead of waiting for a crisis to seek the face of God, how about we operate in the freedom we claim to have — that was paid for by people who believed in it enough to fight and die in it’s defense.
As we approach the birthday of our nation, let’s renew our commitment to keep this “One nation under God”.
Let’s operate in courage to stand for that which others laid down their lives.
Let’s take to heart the promise of II Chronicles 7:14…
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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.