Nations rise and fall. The fall is inevitable because people build nations, and, broken human nature always breaks out of whatever society has built to contain it.
Here in America we tried something new. We tried letting each individual build his own cage for his own sin. We assumed he would accomplish this with the assistance of Almighty God, so it seemed doable. We also built a cage for government, knowing that it, also being built of humans with tragic flaws, would need containing.
Only one other nation ever came close to a governmental arrangement that worked – ancient Israel. Instead of the Constitution, Israel had the Mosaic Law in which is contained the Ten Commandments – a list of behaviors that will make or break a nation. These were not, as many think, rules to follow in order to get into heaven, but rules each citizen needed to live by to make the new nation function. When the Hebrews followed those laws, they prospered and they had no need of a king.
In spite of what our president, and leftist college professors claim, America was founded with those same laws in mind, those laws and the clear understanding that a nation of people who followed them willingly would need very little government. This was true of ancient Israel; for nearly 400 years they were kingless.
We in America have been at this for only 239 years and it seems many Americans already want a king. This is frightening at many levels. In less than a hundred years after the 3rd Israeli king – Solomon – there was a civil war that split the country. Only 200 years after that the Northern Kingdom was destroyed by Assyria and after another 200 years the Babylonians decimated Judah.
The Law, it seems, was an experiment of sorts – a way God could demonstrate humanity’s need for salvation. A perfect law given to a brand new perfect nation should have lasted forever, right? Wrong.
Then, roughly 1800 years later another new nation comes on the scene, a new nation with a fresh way to apply those commandments – a way to allow men to follow their biblically informed consciences, their divine gifts. This new nation attempted to head off at the pass the mistakes Israel made; there would be no king, but only if the nation can continue with the Law God had provided over 3,000 years before and chief amongst those laws was the first, “You shall have no other gods before me.”
How are we doing on that one? A quick perusal of the other nine commandments is not real reassuring – we worship another god – our government, and we rely on it; a third of us depend on it for our very existence. We swear on the name of God without even giving it a thought, without even believing that He exists. We no longer honor our parents. We kill – even our babies and then part them out like they’re stolen cars. We commit adultery and fornication and even honor it in our drama, our “literature,” our music. We steal, cheat and lie, thinking that the end justifies these spurious means. We covet -- hate the successful, and envy the rich. We’re not doing well. It feels, in human terms, like we’re about to lose the game. Let’s take score:
Iran is out to kill us and we just arranged a treaty that allows them to do that. ISIS is also after us. Ditto the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Palestinians.. Just this week another jihadi stormed through Chattanooga killing 5 military men and no official will say that act is connected to militant Islam. We can’t even name our enemies, let alone confront them. Add to that the Genesis 12 promise to Abraham “I will bless those that bless you and curse those that curse you” and the fact that it has been carried out over and over for the last 4500 years. And we have a president that has kicked Israel in the shins for the last 5 and half years. This whole mess earns us a -500 points.
We are trying to operate a democratic nation filled with two generations that have been badly educated by parents, schools and churches. Relatively few people in this country are biblically literate. Very few know anything accurate about the past, rendering them incapable of thinking intelligently about the future. And way too many of us had to raise ourselves, and neither know nor care how a decent person should behave. Another -500 points.
Connected to the latter is the condition we’re in morally. Even the Supreme Court plays fast and loose with age-old moral prohibitions, mandating gay marriage (a 1st class oxymoron). The acceptance of the inherently promiscuous homosexuality removes all other sexual mores and without those there is no family and without family, no society. The willingness of mothers to sacrifice their children to the god of sex is not much different from the ancient phallic cult practices. We’ve lost nearly 60 million babies this way since we okayed abortion in 1973. That alone has to be worth another -500 points.
How are we doing financially? Our national debt equals our gross national product. Over a third of the population is out of work, 49 million on food stamps, even more people underemployed, and the Fed has been manipulating the stock market by filling it full of phony dollars. No one in Congress seems particularly interested in stopping the bleeding and the executive branch keeps poking new holes. Another -500.
This is to say nothing about the Constitution being in tatters, the military and police being under constant attack, and Christians becoming targets of lawsuits and general vilification, not to mention the other divisions in this country – poor vs. rich, black vs. white, left vs. right. Our president never stops stirring up divisive crises, nor will he even consider closing our borders. We have borders? Who knew? Another -500 on the chart.
So, are we dead? No. Not yet. We have a lot going for us. The Constitution still exists; it just needs dusting off. The Israelites at one point had annual public readings of the Law; maybe we should do that with the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. +500. We still have Bibles and most of us can read them, if we will. +500.
We could disband many of the federal agencies and the millions of regulations those agencies have used to tangle business and stifle the economy, and all sorts of amazing things would happen. Business would thrive, people would have jobs, get off welfare, pay taxes with which we would pay off the debt. +500
This would inspire the astounding ability of Americans to produce more and more innovations, which would bring in even more profit and therefore taxes. And, thanks to fracking, we have enough energy to accomplish anything we want to do. +500
How do we solve the education problem? We get government out of the school business and we get rid of the unions. If we open up school choice, educational problems will solve themselves through innovation and competition. Science is helping now, too. More and more, science is discovering the validity of the biblical worldview. Science no longer playing for the other side. +500
We finally have methods of spreading truth – now, when truth is being badly maligned, we can fight back. Radio and television have proved their ability to disseminate valid information. We can all take part via the Internet. Christians are even making inroads on Hollywood turf. We wouldn’t be under attack if we weren’t making a difference. +500.
But what about our moral morass and our divisiveness? What about our families? What about our lame churches? That goes to the heart of it all. “Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.” Jeremiah (26:13) said this to the Israelites 39 years before the Babylonians descended upon Jerusalem and hauled the Jews back to Babylon. During part of this time Judah was under the reign of Josiah, who instituted many reforms and attempted to bring Israel back to God and His Law, but it didn’t last, didn’t “take.”
The question is, is America another one of God’s national demonstrations? Are we going to prove again that man cannot choose the right way even when he’s been given everything needed to succeed? Or, are we going to heed His warning, revive our faith and climb out of this hole?
America has been through several very effective revivals – the Great Awakening in the mid-1700’s, the Second Awakening in the early 1800’s, and another right before the Civil War. Each time the nation took a huge surge forward. It can happen again. We are neck-and-neck down this stretch of history. God has provided the people, the energy, the ideas, the Bibles, -- everything we need to make America greater than it has ever been. But our attitude toward Almighty God is the key factor; either we change our national mind about God, and about Christ, or we go the way of every nation that has ever fallen – we won’t be a cut above; we’ll be exactly where Assyria is today, where Babylon is, where Rome has been and soon will be again.
We listen to the news and despair, but we need not. “Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matt 19:26) And the writer of Chronicles records God saying, “If my people, who are called by my name, humble themselves and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)