The Prescription for a Fallen Nation
Posted in Leadership by Benham Brothers | April 28th, 2015
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If the Church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority.”
Given the importance of the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the issue of “same-sex” marriage, we felt it was important for us to publish a sermon our prophetically bent dad preached a few weeks ago. We’ve abbreviated it for length, but we feel it’s a wake-up call to Americans:
We are witnessing in America today a change of epic proportions. As a nation we have chosen to cast the God of the Bible, the God of our Pilgrim Forefathers and the God of our Founding Fathers, to the ground. We have chosen to abandon God and His laws for new gods and a new set of laws. Many call this change, liberation – God calls it rebellion.
We, in America, have become like a kite on a string that believes it can soar to the heavens if only it could break the chains of the confining string. Little does it realize that once the string is cut, all possibility for flight ceases. It is, after all, the string that enables the kite to fly.
The God of the Bible was the string that enabled the little kite called America to soar. It was His providential hand that made us free unlike any nation before us. It was by following His design that America became “a shining city set on a hill” that the world might know that the Lord is God. … But, as time passed, we forgot His many blessings and Providences. We forgot the unseen hand that lifted us to these heights. We grew tired of Him. We were wearied by His moral constrictions. We desired to be free from Him, to do what we want. Our president said it best, “We are the people we have been waiting for. We are the change we have been looking for.” In essence, we changed gods – we cut the string!
We forsook God and His law, and we became a law unto ourselves. We rejected God and replaced Him with ourselves, doing what was right in our own eyes.
The book of Judges puts it this way: “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. … They provoked the Lord to anger. … In His anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them.” (Judges 2:10-14)
Please note the italicized phrase. It is repeated five times in the book of Judges. At that time there was a standard that judged between good and evil. People knew when they were evil. God was the author of that standard. When Israel strayed from Him, He allowed raiders to come upon them. After suffering at the hands of these raiders, God’s people would become painfully aware of their sin, repent and cry out to God to save them. As soon as they cried out, God rescued them from the hands of their enemies. This is God’s heart for His people – He always responds to the cry of true repentance no matter how deep the pit we dig.
But there comes a dramatic change in the last five chapters of Judges. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25) Over time God’s people had become totally sinful with no standard. Each man became his own god, determining for himself what was good and evil. Each man became his own judge and standard. Everyone did as he saw fit. No man knew to repent, for there was no judge.
This change represented the complete abandonment of God and His law. Though His Name was continually on their lips, their hearts were far from Him. It did not happen all at once, nor was anyone really aware that the change had taken place. But now there was no standard.
Where there is no law, there is no sin. Where there is no sin, there is no need of a savior. If people and nations cannot detect the sin within and recognize their desperate need for a Savior, then there is no hope or help beyond themselves. They somehow come to believe that government is the Savior, little realizing that it is hopeless and not our answer!
In the last five chapters of Judges, there was no way to distinguish between good and evil. There was only everyone doing what was right in his own eyes.
Yes, this kind of change (rebellion against God) is alive and well in America – it’s the change “we have believed in.” What we’re seeing today is simply the culmination of the movement from One God (Jesus) and one standard of Law (the Bible) to other gods and standards of law.
It is a movement from content to form (having a form of godliness, but denying its power). It is a movement from justice to fairness (fairness is the greatest enemy of justice, for it has no standard). It is a movement from creation of wealth to redistribution of wealth (from capitalism to socialism). It is a movement from biblical love to the new tolerance (biblical love compels us to get involved while the new tolerance demands we say nothing). It is a movement from character to performance (it doesn’t matter your character so long as you perform). It is a movement from individuality to uniformity (unique individuals created by a unique God shoehorned into the uniform mantra of the state and group think). It is a movement from liberty to bondage, from joy to despair, from life to death.
Another word for change – repentance (metanoia)
The Psalmist asked, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3) The answer, of course, is “Repent and rebuild the foundations!” Recognizing and confessing that we have rebelled against Almighty God and His righteous decrees is essential to begin the rebuilding process. You see, there is another word for change. It is called repentance. The word for “repent” in the Greek is a combination of two English words – change (meta) and mind (nous). The word “repent,” or “metanoia,” literally means to change your mind. God’s promise to return to those who return to Him is its foundation (2 Chronicles 7:14).
God calls His people everywhere in both Old and New Testaments to repent. Repentance changes everything, for it instantly opens the ears of Almighty God to our prayers that He might forgive our sin and heal our land. Repentance signifies that our faith, hope and trust rests solely in Him. It opens the heavens for God to heal His people.
Listen to God’s heart for His people through the prophet Isaiah: “… In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” (Isaiah 30:15) Do you believe this? Neither did the people in Isaiah’s time. They kept trying to rebuild or repair but never repent.
America has forgotten God, but we can return to Him! The time is now.