Prepare the Way
I don't think I am saying anything new when I write that America is clearly in crisis. I have never seen the kind of division that's as rampant as it is today or perhaps there has never been the type of communication tools i.e. social media and news to disseminate information as widespread and quickly as there are today. Whatever the case I believe desperate times call for desperate measures. And I believe as believers in our nation there is a way that we need to respond, a way the Lord is requiring of us.
Let's start with God's sovereignty and man's responsibility. The Scripture clearly teaches it is God's will that all should come to repentance and acknowledgement of the truth. We know as believers we are instructed and admonished to pray for the kingdom and will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
It starts with repentance and acknowledging we have fallen short of the glory of God. Should be pretty obvious.
Next after we acknowledge our guilt before God we must turn to God on behalf of our nation with a cry for mercy. No president can save. No human power can redeem. No person on earth can change the human heart. No one but the Lord Almighty can change the depravity of the human heart. Humbling ourselves before our God is the only response in times like these. Desperate times call for desperate measures. God forbid we remain content to continue our public discourse and rhetoric without a heart wrenching return to the Lord.
Repent on behalf of this nation and cry out to God for revival in this land.
It's been said that God does nothing outside of the prayers of his people. Abraham stood in the presence of God and made intercession. He asked that the city of Sodom be spared for just 50 righteous people. Genesis 18:24,
Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?
Like Abraham God is asking us to petition him on behalf of whatever nation God has placed you. As believers our responsibility is to stand in the gap for our nation and ask for mercy.
The nations are Jesus's inheritance
Last summer I was praying for a friend and found myself overwhelmed with the heart of God for the nations of the earth. God was challenging him and I to believe God for entire nations to come to Christ.
Psalm 2:8-10 explains that the nations of the earth are the inheritance of Jesus promised by the Father,
I will proclaim the Lord’s decree:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earthyour possession.
You will break them with a rod of iron;
you will dash them to pieces like pottery.”
Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Every knee will bow before the Lord one way or another. Let's pray that it happens sooner than later.
Prepare the Way
In the days of John the Baptist we see the nation of Israel far from God. Justice was not being done. Greed was prevalent. People were going through the motions.
So God raised up a man named John in the middle of nowhere, the wilderness, to prepare the way for the Lord's coming. His message was not peace when there was no peace. He called the people to repentance and acknowledgement before God.
He didn't beat around the bush. Like an arrow in the hand of a warrior he sent forth the word of the Lord with power and conviction and turned a nation to God. His very life was a sign and a wonder and many turned from their sins because of his light in the wilderness.
His message is one that I believe is just as much relevant today as it was over 2,000 years ago. The heart of man is still the same as it was back then and it can only be changed by repentance.
No amount of debate will do. God's word is clear. God's holy prescription is to return to him with all our hearts, open to God's prescription and his word.
Like Job who said,
"Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things to wonderful for me to know... Therefore I despise myself and repent in sackcloth and ashes." Job 42:3b,6
We as the Church have failed.
We have't represented Christ as we should have.
We haven't been concerned for the things that are on God's heart. We've neglected the orphan, widow and the oppressed. We've been silent when we should have spoken.
We've spoken when we should have been seeking the face of God.
We've been more concerned with buildings and programs than about engaging the world with the message of true peace. We've been more concerned with comfort, lights, camera and action than we have been with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We've been lukewarm to the things of God. Like those in John's day we've become complacent to the things of God. We've become comfortable with church but we've fallen into patterns of religious motions but neglected the matters of justice and truth and righteousness. I believe now more than ever is a season of repentance and cleansing on behalf of our nation.
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees in his day for understanding how to predict the weather but failed to discern the signs of the times they were living in.
Jesus rebuked the Church of Sardis for being lukewarm to the things on God's heart though they had a reputation in the eyes of man for being alive, saying this,
To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
I believe we are in a John he Baptist moment. America's crisis has hit an all time high. When a nation is in crisis we must return with all our hearts.
In the days of John the Baptist crowds came and said to him,
"What should we do then?"
John answered, "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the new who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same."
His message cut at the root of greed and selfishness. He said share and give.
He then said to the tax collectors to stop stealing and for soldiers to not extort money or accuse people falsely and to be content.
As in the days of John, I believe people are still asking that question, "what should we do."
John knew the times and he knew what to do. Do we?