Friday is the birth date for the United States of America, the 232nd celebration of this country’s independence. It seems only like yesterday that we celebrated America’s bicentennial, an event that took place less than two weeks after I graduated from high school.
I’ve witnessed plenty of changes in our country over the years and, what I don’t recollect personally, I heard at the knees of my parents, aunts and uncles, and my grandparents. Knowing people who remember when residential electrical and/or telephone service first arrived, who actually owned a Model “T”, or who fought in the second, never mind the first world war tends to broaden one’s scope on how dramatic the changes have been. I heard a lot of stories about life during the Great Depression, a time that truly tested this nation’s resolve.
My feelings about these and other changes are mixed — civil rights and freedom for all Americans has been realized, but many people are taking the word “freedom” and twisting it to mean “license” to do whatever they want. I’m not going to rehash the obvious, rather I’m urging Christians to do what we should never tire of doing: interceding in prayer to God on behalf of this nation.
“If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)
If you read through the Old Testament, you soon realize that the problems facing America today are similar to the problems facing the nation of Israel thousands of years ago. The Israelites turned away from God, chose to follow idols, and found themselves practicing every sort of debauchery possible. Leviticus 18 offers a clear illustration of the sins practiced and the result of that sin — God promised to vomit them out of the land for defiling the land.
Unlike some who teach that all Americans must repent in order for God’s blessing to return, I believe 2 Chronicles is directed at people who “are called by my Name.” For Israel, that applied to the Jews of that day; but for America, the call seems directed at professing believers — followers of Jesus Christ.
I believe that instead of railing against the sinful practices of so many of our fellow Americans we should examine our own hearts and come before the Lord in repentance. Once our hearts have been made right before God, then we are in a position to cry out to Him on behalf of others. Who knows, but it may not be too late for this country and God could choose to heal our land.
Sure, I understand the application of this verse applies to Israel primarily, but it also serves to remind Christians the world over of one important point — we need to have our own hearts cleansed and we’re to intercede on behalf of others. Why? So that we can live in peace will all men.
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time. (1 Timothy 2:1:6)
I believe that the United States of America is perhaps the greatest nation ever to rise up on this earth. Israel, of course, is the nation that God chose to be a light to all of the nations, but God has blessed America in so many ways that some have lost sight of that fact while others aren’t even aware of it.
I know that I can’t change people’s hearts and minds, but I know of Someone who can. The most effective “weapon” we have in this world is prayer, so let’s use it often to intercede on behalf of this great nation.
May God truly bless America with a repentant heart.
Photo Credit: Mark Alan
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