Dateline: 4 September 2013
A week from today will be the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attack. I suppose every adult in the country remembers where they were when they heard the news that day. I was inside a New York State prison. The whole place went into lockdown. No one in, no one out. Inmates were quickly sent back to their cells. The Muslim inmates were all smiles. They were high-fiving each other.
I managed to get a call out to my wife. She was at her mother's house, watching the television. She said it was terrible. I remember telling her it was The Fourth Turning— America would never be the same.
Since that day, we have seen the rise of the American police state. Further consolidation of power in the federal government has come. Individual freedoms in this country have disappeared at an alarming rate. Our economy has experienced an economic depression. Our national debt is is at unprecedented (and unpayable) levels. We have initiated wars against nations on the other side of the globe, and killed their people, and Americans have been killed in the process.
What went wrong? How did all of this come to be?
Well, I guess it depends on who you ask. If you ask me, I think a good insight into what happened can be found in Proverbs 16:7...
When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
I think the same principle applies to nations, and I can't help but think that America has not pleased the Lord for a very long time.
Pick a sin. Any sin. And America has embraced it in a startling way, especially in recent years. The statistics are alarming. Abortion. Divorce and broken families. Children born out of wedlock. Pornography. Homosexuality and redefining what a family is. Greed and the love of money. Unjust weights and measures (fiat money). Materialism. America has embraced all manner of sins that displease the Lord. And, worse yet, we use our money and our international influence to promote these sins throughout the world.
Does anyone remember the Mayflower Compact? I'll bet it isn't even in the government school books any more. But it is, nevertheless, considered one of the important founding documents of this nation. Here it is...
IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid: And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience. IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.
Did you see that part about coming to this country and establishing a colony "for the gory of God and advancement of the Christian Faith?" Do you think those men's ways pleased the Lord? They acknowledged God. They trusted God. They feared God. And they establish a form of government, in accord with their beliefs.
But things have changed, to say the least. Our government is now secular. That means it does not acknowledge God. It does not fear God. It does not honor God. The God of the Pilgrims and the other founders of this nation is no longer tolerated by our governmental system.
The secular thinking is that by not tolerating any Christian influence in government (including government schools), then there will be no religious influence. Neutrality is the desired goal. But that's a laugh. There is no such thing as neutrality.
When a person rejects Christianity, that doesn't for a second mean that they have no faith. It simply means that person has put their faith in someone or some thing else. The same goes for governments that have rejected God. What effectively happens when a government rejects God is that the government assumes the role of God. It recognizes no higher authority. And it takes the glory due to God unto itself.
There is, of course, precedent for this sort of thing. Take, for example, Herod Agrippa.
I happened to be reading the book of Acts (in the Bible) the other day and my eyes locked on chapter 12, verse 21-23:
And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.
When Herod, the Roman-appointed ruler of the region, gave a speech to the people, they looked to him as their God. Herod gave not God the glory. So God smote him with worms. Then he died.
It's more normal for someone to die first , and then the worms come. But not with Herod Agrippa. First the worms came. Then he died. That must not have been a pleasant sight.
What struck me about that story is that it is a compelling metaphor of America in these early years of the 21st century.
We as a nation have done just about everything a nation can do to displease God. And so our enemies have invaded us—enemies within and enemies without. And we find our nation beset with all manner of social and economic "worms" that are effectively working to bring America down.
Yes, America has faced challenges in its past, and we have surmounted them. But this nation has never before been so alienated from God as we are today.
The question that is now before us is if America will be brought down to it's knees in repentance, and discover God's mercy, or down to it's death like Herod Agrippa.