Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One Nation, Under Who?

A promise:
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:17 (emphasis added)
And a warning:
"But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples. And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?' People will answer, 'Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them-- that is why he brought all this disaster on them.'" 2 Chronicles 7:19-22 (emphasis added)
In the chapters preceding these verses, we see Solomon build the temple and then dedicate it to God. The entirety of chapter six is Solomon's prayer to God, a plea and an oath, both seeking God's protection and provision, but also stating rather matter-of-factly the inevitable judgment that will befall them should Israel turn away from God.

Solomon is unmistakably aware of the fact that ALL GOOD THINGS COME FROM THE LORD!

He knows that nothing they possess or could ever hope to accomplish would even be remotely attainable were it not for the direct willful blessing of the God who created them and promised to protect them. And he also knows that every one of these blessings can be just as easily stripped away in an instant if God so chooses.

He knows this. He acknowledges this, both before God and before men. And he accepts the consequences, be they ever so severe, should Israel ever turn away from God again.

And God does not take such promises lightly. If you make a commitment to God, you had best intend to keep it.

We know from studying history that they do indeed turn away from God yet again, and they do indeed reap the painful consequences.

The standards that God held for the Israelites were different from those he held for the rest of the world. They were his children, his own special possession. God disciplines those he loves. A parent doesn't discipline a child that doesn't belong to them; you discipline your own children, for their own good.

But the Israelites are not the only group of people who God has called his own. When Jesus Christ came to this earth to pay the penalty for all sin, anyone who would believe was immediately adopted into this Jewish family. We are now sons and daughters of God. We are his special possession as well, and because He loves us, our God will discipline us. He now holds us to the same standard that he has always held Israel. Those same promises and warnings now apply to us: Our God has promised to protect us, to provide for us and to heal our land when we repent and turn back to him. And likewise, should we turn away from him, we should not be surprised when two things happen: 1) His provision and blessing cease; and 2) His hand of protection is lifted, and we are allowed to endure pain and suffering.

And while the bride of Christ, the Christian church, is spread throughout the world, there is one nation in particular which is by definition, a Christian nation: The United States of America. While you might be hard pressed to find any evidence of that long-forgotten fact, this country was indeed founded on the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was established as a place where individuals would be free to worship God in spirit and in truth, uninhibited by the religious demands and persecution they were facing at home. Its laws were founded on the principles of God's laws. And, most importantly, it was dedicated to God, just as Israel once was.

In 1789, for the first time ever, our nation had a functioning government, and upon being inaugurated as our first president, George Washington gave the first inaugural address. In it, he gave this prophetic warning:
"...it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect... No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency...; since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained..." (emphasis added) (George Washington's inaugural address can be read in its entirety here.)
And were it not enough that our government was birthed with these words, George Washington, along with a group of our very first political leaders, marched from their present location to a little chapel called St. Paul's Chapel to pray and to dedicate this nation to God. Just as Solomon made vows to God, so our founding fathers did no less.

And all of this took place not in Washington, where our government functions today; at the founding of our nation, the capitol was not Washington D.C.-- it was in New York. George Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City. And the chapel that these men walked to after the ceremony, the very site where this nation was ceremonially dedicated to God was at the corner of Ground Zero. And when the attack happened on 9/11, the only thing left standing was this little chapel.

The Lord gave us this land. He has blessed us exceedingly. We committed it to Him. We dedicated it to Him. And we have since turned our backs on Him in ways that aren't even numerable. And on September 11th, 2001, God lifted his hand of protection.
"For this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: In just a little while I will again shake the heavens and the earth, the oceans and the dry land. I will shake all the nations..." Haggai 2:6
Our world is shaking, and it's only going to shake harder until the day Christ returns. But this nation has a hope and a promise! God has not forgotten the foundations that we were once built on...
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."
This promise is as much ours as it is Israel's. It's time to wake up, pay attention to the shakings, and get serious about surrendering our lives to Christ. I'm not talking to unbelievers here! Absolutely, I pray that those who are lost would be found, but this verse is not written to the unbelieving people and nations of this world. It says my people, who are called by my name. WE have gone astray. WE have tossed God aside to worship worthless idols. WE are the ones who need to throw our precious lifestyles out the window and GET ON OUR KNEES!

More on how we can tangibly do that in the next post...

*This fascinating bit of information about the founding of our nation is just one tiny piece of wisdom and insight that Rabbi Jonathan Cahn shares in his book The Harbinger. It is written in the form of a fictional story, but within it are FACTUAL details, outlining the message that he believes God is sending us. I posted a video interview that he did a while back, here. I highly recommend that you watch the video and get a copy of the book. It will boggle your mind to discover all the detailed ways in which the events of 9/11 literally parallel the warning signs God sent to Israel.

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