Part 2 of a series, A Nation in Trouble
As a nation, we are, indeed, in trouble. In looking for reasons or answers as to why the United States is in trouble, we look at our leadership as a main reason that the country is moving in the wrong direction. In reality, it is not the leadership that should bear the responsibility–it is the people who put the leadership in place. A nation is defined by its people. It is the culture, mindset, and lifestyles of the people that make up a nation. The Christians of America, as an example, can define the direction and course for the country. If Christians do not stand up for Jesus Christ and His Word, and also fail to provide leadership and guidance to others, they will struggle in their effective representation for Christ and in providing leadership for the nation.
It has become apparent, over time, that our nation and our church has allowed the erosion of morality and good behavior within our society. The gradual but precipitous decline of morality should never have occurred, but it is also an indication of how many have a lack of regard for God or the presence of God in our lives. Is the church losing the battle over the morality of our nation and its people?
The nations have fallen into the pit they made; their foot is caught in the net they have concealed. The Lord has revealed Himself; He has executed justice, striking down the wicked by the work of their hands. The wicked will return to Sheol— all the nations that forget God. For the oppressed will not always be forgotten; the hope of the afflicted will not perish forever. Rise up, Lord! Do not let man prevail; let the nations be judged in Your presence. Put terror in them, Lord; let the nations know they are only men.
The greatest concern for our country is to forget about God, who He is, and what He means to us. While He has not forsaken us as a country, He has given us reminders of who He is. On occasion, He has to shake us up and remind us that we are not in control of the lives of people or the course of events. He reminds us that He is God and that He is in control.
Exaltation does not come from the east, the west, or the desert, for God is the Judge: He brings down one and exalts another.
John Calvin and Martin Luther, leaders of the Protestant Reformation, believed that both the church and the nation were created by God for the good of mankind and that they should work together in furthering Christianity. The nation’s government should promote a safe and free environment for its people to do the church’s work.
For we are His creation–created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.
2 Corinthians 9:8
And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
The church has an obligation to prepare men and women to serve within the government. Why? If believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are dedicated to serve a just God, they will govern the nation and its people in the same way. God will always show Himself and represent Himself in such a way where His presence is known for all to see.
Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.
Christians can be excellent citizens as long as they are not asked to violate the precepts of God, who is the higher authority to whom their primary allegiance is due.
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men.”
The people of God must truly live by the Word of God in their life and actions and not compromise it.
After the Protestant Reformation, many of the churches saw the great need to create learning centers for elementary education, for if each person was to study the Bible for themselves, he or she could gain knowledge and be educated because of the ability to retain and understand God’s Word.
2 Timothy 2:15
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the word of truth.
Church leaders gave considerable attention to the founding of schools on the three levels of elementary, secondary, and university education, for the purpose of creating better education of students as servants for the church and the nation. Both John Calvin and Martin Luther emphasized the need of education in order that the individual could be trained for both service and for leadership.
In 1693, Williamsburg University was founded for the purpose of training ministers. In 1701, the Puritans founded Yale College. In 1746, the Baptists founded Rhode Island College, which eventually became Brown University. Rutgers University was founded in 1825 by Christians, but all of these universities were founded for the purpose of continuing education and the training up its participant to serve the Lord within the church and within society.
Let the whole earth tremble before the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it came into being; He commanded, and it came into existence. The Lord frustrates the counsel of the nations; He thwarts the plans of the peoples. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation. Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord— the people He has chosen to be His own possession! The Lord looks down from heaven; He observes everyone. He gazes on all the inhabitants of the earth from His dwelling place.
Are we losing the reverence and fear of God? Are we missing who He truly is? We need to remember that He is a mighty and awesome God, and He acts according to His will.
Job 26:7-14, 34:10-13, 40:2
God works through His eternal purpose; yet, we try to bring Him into areas that ultimately limit His ability to work in our lives. We have to remember that He is a righteous God, and as He is accountable for His own righteousness, He holds us, as a nation and as a people, to live according to His righteousness (and not on our own view of righteousness). We have to overcome our selfishness and our evil desires to live outside of God’s will. Regardless of how we choose to live, the Lord’s will, His plans, and His purpose will stand. He will break or crush those nations that are outside of His will. Until we relent and recognize God for who He is, our nation will continue to weaken and be relegated to even less significance as a world power. The nation that loves God and lives according to His will and purpose will be blessed and prosper. The Christians who remain obedient to God will bring prosperity to the nation. “Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord–the people He has chosen to be His own possession!” (Psalm 33:12)
Are we paying attention to what is happening around us as a country? We are gradually seeing a nation of people with cold hearts and with less dedication in seeking the Lord. We need to pray for everyone, including believers in Jesus Christ, for deliverance, strength and encouragement in these difficult times. Keep trusting God, loving Him, and believing in Him. He is more than able. God is aware of all that is going on in our lives, both good and bad, and He promises that He will care for those who recognize Him and have faith in Him. He will keep His people.