Why would anyone who encountered God, his power, direction, and love turn away? Tough times come to us all. Some turn from God instead of turning in closer. The Hebrews did in Egypt and later in the wilderness. They told Moses to go away and later in the wilderness on Mt. Sinai they turned from God by making a Golden Calf and worshipping it. They repented, recovered, and continued on their quest for the Promised Land. After entering the Promised Land, they went through cycles of blessings as they would sin, be chastised by foreign powers, repent and be blessed again. How hard it is to learn that when times are hard, sometimes because of personal decisions, the place to be is close to God not far?
Are our nation and our churches as guilty as ancient Israel was of accepting God’s blessings and then going their own way? The illusion of invincibility is a frequent side effect of prosperity. It is easy to believe you do not need God until you do.
George Washington said. “No country upon Earth ever had it more in its power to attain… blessings…. Much to be regretted indeed it would be were we to…depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to, so plainly, I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. The Great Governor of the Universe has led us too long and too far… to forsake us in the midst of it… We may now and then get bewildered, but I hope and trust that there is good sense and virtue enough left to recover the right path”.
However, consider these trends: (1) The undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home. (2) Increasing taxes and spending of public money for welfare and entertainment. (3) The mad craze for pleasure, with sports becoming more exciting and more brutal. (4)The building of gigantic armaments, when the real enemy is the decadence of the people. (5) The decay of religion, with faith fading into mere form.
Do those sound familiar? They are the five key reasons for Rome’s downfall, as set forth by Edward Gibbon in his classic work “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. Could the United States be headed down a path similar to that of ancient Rome? From the first years of America’s history the founding fathers acknowledged God’s providence and recognized that the nation’s destiny was in His hands.
What can be done to reverse decline in a nation? What can be done to help a nation continue to be blessed? Moses tuned his eyes and ears to God to help his countrymen while a fugitive from justice in a foreign land. David, a shepherd boy, appalled no one stood up for God, trusted in God’s power not his own as he rushed the giant Goliath to stand in the gap. These stories from the Old Testament books of Exodus and 1 Samuel tell the struggle stories of people in another time and another land. What about today in the United States?
Richard C. Halverson said that after thirty years in Washington, D.C. as Senate chaplain, “The greatest single reason for failure in government, to the extent it has failed…and the progressive secularization of our culture with corresponding social decay…is the prayerlessness of the people of God!
July 4 is a celebration of freedom past. Why only celebrate the past when you can live in to the future through prayer?