"Remember the Former Things"
Recalling the grace of God shed on our nation
"O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, for purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee and crown thy good with brother- hood from sea to shining sea!"
We, as Americans, are preparing to go cast our votes at the polls. America has truly been blessed by God! I suppose God's blessings are a lot like water; you don't miss it till the well runs dry. I fear that the water in the well is getting low, not because of God's unwillingness to bless a righteous people but because the people are increasingly becoming more unrighteous. How soon will come the tragic day when people will remember that there once existed a land of liberty and religious freedom, but no more? I am certain that much of our nation's problems lie in our increasingly immoral choices. Infidelity, abortion, and the glamorizing of activities that ought to cause great shame, have all taken their toll, as well as greed, corruption and a great lack of civility and consideration for others.
A Nation That Does Not Remember
"Remember this, and be assured; recall it to your mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other." (Isaiah 46:9,10). Israel had become as a nation what we are quickly becoming. God invited them to remember how He had carried them and delivered them. They had turned from their Protector. They had forgotten their roots. They had forgotten the true source of their national strength.
Woodrow Wilson said, "A nation that does not remember what it was yesterday does not know what it is today nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about." I am absolutely confident that God has blessed this country because of the righteous goals of our forefathers. But modern America is forgetting its very foundation. The institutions, the courts, the media are seen attacking the principles which begat them! I fear that, in the words of Hosea as he described the nation of Israel when it was in a similar spiritual state as our own, we shall "sow the wind and reap the whirlwind." (Hosea 8:7).
There is a story of a man who had gone to South
America. A citizen of Argentina asked him if he could explain why North America seemed so pros- perous while South America had so much poverty. The man answered, "Perhaps it is because the Spanish conquistadors came looking for gold while the pilgrims came looking for God." How sad that so many have stopped looking for God and are chasing after gold. Certainly if the same man were to make another observation today he would won- der why it is that we have sold out on what once made us so prosperous. It is no surprise that our nation is hurting. We have abandoned the source of our strength! No wonder that we are beginning to reap the whirlwind!
One Nation Under God
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom He has chosen for His own possession." (Psalm 33:12). The Bible has much to say about the true source of national strength. It says "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). Our coins say "In God we trust". Our pledge says "One nation, under God". Our Declaration of Independence says, "For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." One of our founding fathers, John Quincy Adams, said "The first and almost the only Book deserving universal attention is the Bible." Another of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, gave this ominous warning: "God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever." And with all this and far more, there are those today who want to suggest that these founding fathers sought to found a secular nation! Not so! They sought to found a non-sectarian nation with no state church. That is so. But not a nation where concern about God was absent from the deliberations of the ruling powers!
Our nation may resolve to remove God from its courts, schools, homes, coins, pledge, government and finally from its conscience. But as it does, it will destroy itself. God's justice cannot sleep forever.
Lawlessness Destroys Liberty
"In those days there was no king in Israel; but every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17:6). It appears that we may already be entering an age of anarchy. Criminals are protected while they laugh at our legal system, knowing that they will be back on the streets in hours. Dishonesty, lying and cheating is O.K. because everyone does it. Corruption is rampant in government. People are afraid. Security and peace of mind are gone. Lock your doors. Don't leave your keys in the car. Get it in writing. Train your children to fear strangers.
There are powerful people in this country who would like nothing better than to see the end to the influence God has had on our nation. They are well described by Paul who was describing the society of his day by quoting Isaiah and the Psalms: "Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is on their lips; whose mouth is full of bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood, destruction and misery are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:13-18).
Whoever wins this election, our prayer is for them that they might come to realize that there is a strong connection between faith, righteousness and the strength of a people. "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean. Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless; defend the orphan, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow." (Isaiah 1:16-18). There is always hope. Who cannot see that this nation would be a better place if its citizens loved God with all their hearts, loved their neighbors as themselves, and treated others the way they wish to be treated? Israel failed to heed God's call for reason and was destroyed. Perhaps America will listen and thrive. Perhaps not and die. But whichever way it goes, Jesus will still be King.
By Jon W. Quinn
Expository Files 23.10; October 2016