Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Gloomy Day-After Independence Day

It's the day after The Fourth of July and I know so many people who are sad about the situation of America, see our cherished history and institutions being trashed in various ways, wondering if the nation is even going to survive.

There are calls for prayer for the nation of course, and some groups and individuals do pray for the nation. Perhaps God is hearing, though it doesn't seem so. Things seem to be getting worse rather than better, but of course they might be a lot worse if people weren't praying.

Still, you have to ask why things seem to continue to go from bad to worse. When I ask that question and pray about it the answer I keep coming up with is that the churches are out of favor with God, and not until the churches reform will our prayers be heard for healing the land.

The famous call to pray for one's nation in 2 Chronicles 7:14 is often quoted to exhort Christians to pray for America, but not very often are the conditions in that verse emphasized enough.
2 Chron 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When we pray for America how many of us humble ourselves? Do we even think about what that means? How about fasting as a start? How many do that? What about turning from our "wicked ways?" Do we even think we HAVE any wicked ways to turn from? My impression is that most Christians just blithely pray that God would bless America without even thinking about meeting these conditions.

This exhortation was God's answer to Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the newly built temple, after it had been hallowed to God's purposes.

The passage goes on:
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. 17 And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; 18 Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel. 19 But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; 20 Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations. 21 And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? 22 And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.
Our temple today is built up of living stones, God's people themselves. We are God's house. We know He will never forsake or abandon us if we hold in faith to His promise of salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ, but what if we stray from His teachings? Can we believe we are saved by grace and think it's OK to ordain women or homosexuals to preach? Or are those only the really apostate churches that are no longer God's anyway? Didn't Jesus threaten to remove the lampstands of those churches which had strayed too far?

There are many questions like these that should be asked. I think before we can expect God to hear our prayers for the nation we need to pray first that God would show us where we are out of His will and set ourselves to reform, both personally and corporately in His churches.

I really am convinced that women's not covering our heads in church, and maybe outside of church as well, has shut us out of hope for the nation. I really do, and it's very sad because it's hard to think of this requirement being widely accepted any more by anyone in the churches. It's treated as trivial and it's rationalized and interpreted away by so many respected leaders. Could it at least be asked that people pray that God would show them the truth about this? That's where we need to start anyway, FINDING OUT where we have gone wrong with God so we can reform. We can only find out through His Holy Spirit; thinking alone won't get us anywhere.

I also suspect strongly that the widespread acceptance of the modern Bible versions that really are based on corrupt -- even heretical -- texts, and translations that have been done by men of liberal persuasion who reject much of His word, MAY play a part in this too. I wouldn't dismiss the thought lightly, people, but I know getting a serious hearing for this is not very likely.

These of course are my own hobbyhorses that I've been pursuing in my blogs. Don't take my word for any of it, but DO go read the many references I've given to these subjects; let THEM tell you.

But I'm sure there's more. Any capitulation to liberalism or feminism in a church needs to be confronted. It may be subtle, not easily recognized as a problem.

Or personal sins too. A pastor or elder or deacon who has been divorced? Or compromised teaching about divorce and remarriage? That sort of thing. These things are not just sins, they're actually false doctrine that promotes sin.

I get a sinking feeling thinking about all this. I see so many ways we are out of God's will lately, and so many ways I don't think Christians want to deal with any of it, but rationalize it away, dismiss it as legalism, or otherwise insist that it's not a problem and so on.

If only people would at least pray for light on the subject, ask God to show us where we may have gone wrong as His people. Pray through the Sermon on the Mount asking if we're REALLY obeying Him, perhaps. Anything along these lines would be a huge beginning.

Later. I'm going to stop reading about feminism, which is only depressing anyway, a real horror story and a BIG reason why the nation is in the pits and some churches have gone desperately wrong as well, and reread some Leonard Ravenhill. He wrote a lot about why we aren't having revival and he wrote a book with the interesting title, America Is Too Young To Die. I think that's the direction I need to go right now.

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