It’s the question of the day. Can we stay God’s hand of certain judgment? Several years ago, Adrian Rogers found the answer to these compelling questions in Psalm 80, and his message is as timely as ever.
1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, Thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; Thou that dwellest between the cherubim, shine forth. 2 …stir up Thy strength, and come and save us. 3 Turn us again, O God, and cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
Israel was praying for national revival. A nation with a glorious heritage, delivered from the gnawing chains of Egyptian bondage, led through the Red Sea and Sinai Desert, Israel came into the Promised Land. Never has there been a nation quite like them. Because God was their King, He blessed them to such a degree that when the Queen of Sheba came, she said, “The half has never yet been told.”
God had given Israel a Lord (Himself), a land, and a law. But Israel turned from God, denied the Lord, defied the law, and defiled the land. God withdrew His blessings and calamity came. In Psalm 80, Israel is now praying, “O God, cause Your face to shine on us. O God, turn us back to You. Do it, Lord, and we will be saved.”
America is not Israel, but there’s a striking parallel with what’s happening to America today. I don’t believe I’m outside the bounds of Scripture by making an application from this psalm to America. We want God to bless America. But we must confess that America as we know her now has forgotten God and totters on the brink of destruction.
Even so, I believe there is a way for America to recover.
I firmly believe this nation with its Christian beginning was a nation God planted. America did not come into being by happenstance but by the will and plan of God Himself, Who placed the American dream in the hearts of our Founding Fathers. As you read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, the spiritual heritage of America runs all the way through them. When the little rag-tag Continental Army was fighting the British at Valley Forge, General George Washington went out to kneel in the snow to pray for his army. When a stranger came to the Continental Congress and wanted to know which man was Washington, a friend said, “When the Congress begins to pray, Washington will be the tall man who will go to his knees.”
Why has America been the richest nation on earth? Because the sun shines more here? More rainfall? We’re stronger? No! These are blessings from God. “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord.”
A Grave National Danger
In verse 12 the psalmist said that Israel was no longer defended. There was danger from both internal and external heathen powers. Today godless, violent forces come against America — from both outside and within. Corrupt politicians and clueless pundits mock God’s principles and those who honor them. God has turned Himself against us because of our sin.
A Gracious National Deliverance
We must acknowledge our sin, deal with it, and confess it. Psalm 80 shows us how to pray for national revival. This is the prayer God will bless:
14Return, we beseech Thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; 15And the vineyard which Thy right hand hath planted, and the branch that Thou madest strong for Thyself…. 17Let Thy hand be upon the man of Thy right hand….18So will not we go back from Thee: quicken us, and we will call upon Thy name. 19Turn us again, O LORD God of hosts, cause Thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.
This is the gracious national deliverance God promised Israel — the deliverance we need and can be ours if we will confess, repent, and call upon His name.
Satan’s strategy is to keep good people silent in evil times. Will you speak up? Do you know what the issues are? For instance, are you letting your voice be heard against pornography, perversion, corruption, and the murder of the innocents?
God is still a God of mercy. Just as God could do for Israel, He can do for any nation that repents. Today America must look to God. The Pentagon — economists — politicians — educators — cannot save us. Only God can save America. Without a spiritual revival there is no hope for our nation. We must return to God so God will return us.What time is it in America? It is knee time. Time to be on our knees, time to be on our face, before an Almighty God.