“...I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” —1 Timothy 2:1,2
Beloved, let me take you back in history for just a moment to another turbulent time…
It was an unbearably hot day in the summer of 1787; just eleven years after America had declared her independence. Delegates from our thirteen states had gathered to create an historic document to unite them under one government. Sweat soaked their clothes so badly…they had to change their shirts twice a day! And their tempers, as torrid as the day, were flaring.
Men who were formerly side-by-side in their battle against England were now at war against each other! These states were anything but “united,” and they weren’t ready to be under any authority but their own.[i]
A personal letter from James Warren to a friend in England described America’s condition at the time: “‘Money is the only object attended to, and the only acquisition that commands respect. Patriotism is ridiculed; integrity and ability are of little consequence.... We are now in a state of anarchy and confusion bordering on civil war.’”[ii]
At this historic meeting, Benjamin Franklin decided to give the document they were creating one last shot. He addressed George Washington and the assembly:
“‘How has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor.... And have we now forgotten this powerful friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?’
There was dead silence in the room...but he was not finished, and now he turned again to Washington. “I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: ‘that God governs in the affairs of man.’ And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?’ ”[iii]
Beloved, how I wish America would heed those same words today! In a day of “political correctness” when so many Christians are apathetic about taking a stand for righteousness, you and I need to be reminded of how God governs the affairs of men…how He cares about the state of our nation and longs for us to turn and acknowledge His omnipotence. We need His assistance in America today as never before. The turmoil in our country over moral issues and political rivalry demands our fervent prayers and our willingness to stand up as Benjamin Franklin did and dare to call America to turn back to Him!
The birth of our country and its early history are so much like Israel’s story. God redeemed Abraham’s descendants from Egypt with a powerful hand. They were ecstatic at first, but soon they began to neglect His Word. They didn’t feed on the Word of God as the living bread it was (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Instead they cast it aside. They didn’t study to know this God who had redeemed them and learn to live in His ways.
This apathy quickly led to apostasy. Israel was commanded to remove all idols and enemies who worshipped them from their land. In other words, border lines were drawn, firm absolute border lines. With regard to their enemies, God said, “They shall not live in your land, because they will make you sin against Me; for if you serve their gods, it will surely be a snare to you.” ” (Exodus 23:33). God expected His people to drive out those who lived in the land who didn’t comply with His Law.
Israel rebelled against this simple command. Instead of driving idol-worshippers out, they married them. Foreign wives seduced them to worship and to serve their false gods and idols. God had forbidden any such compromise: “You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces” (Exodus 23:24).
Anything short of “utterly overthrowing [idolatry]” and “breaking [idols] in pieces” is apostasy. Compromise is impossible; apostasy is no less than turning away from God — from absolute right and wrong to relativism. During the period of the Judges, “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6) — something God had forbidden in His Law (Deuteronomy 12:8). He had told His people to do what was right in His sight (Deuteronomy 13:18).
God didn’t put up with apostasy for long. When Solomon finally turned from God by compromising with his wives’ foreign gods, the Lord struck hard. The kingdom was split. Ten tribes formed a northern kingdom (Israel), and two formed a southern kingdom (Judah). Then the two kingdoms went to war. This split severely weakened the nation.
As the people continued to sin, God brought in foreigners to rule over Israel — four consecutive empires in fact: the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman, stretching from roughly 605 b.c. to a.d. 324. Oppressed by Muslims in later centuries, Israel never recovered. Its people continued to scatter across the globe until 1948 when Israel was declared a nation and its people began to return. Today those immigrants are surrounded by enemies, and their only hope is Jesus’ return (Matthew 23:38,39; Romans 11:25,26).
Beloved, like Israel in Solomon’s day, America is on the brink of moral disaster. Apathy leads to apostasy, immorality, and anarchy! But you and I can do something about it. We can stem the tide by voting for righteousness and by fervently praying for our country and for the upcoming elections!
May the Lord bless you, Beloved, and may He continue to bless and preserve our great nation!
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Host, Precepts For Life
Co-Founder, Precept Ministries International
[i] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, From Sea to Shining Sea (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1986), pp. 17.
[ii] Peter Marshall and David Manuel, From Sea to Shining Sea (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1986), p. 17, citing Page Smith, The Shaping of America, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1980, pp. 38, 24.
[iii] Marshall and Manuel, From Sea to Shining Sea, p 18.