In May of 2011, the situation in the Mid East looks anything but joyful and there is certainly not much to rejoice over. The nations are in turmoil over Israel and Jerusalem. So called democracy and freedom movements among the Arab nations have resulted in even more radical Islamic control. Pressures for war have increased with sides threatening to switch almost daily. The entire region is unstable and I doubt even the nations of the region know what they will do next.
However, God knows, for it is He alone that is in control. He is the One who, after the captives of Judah and Jerusalem are brought back to the land of Israel, will bring the nations down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat for judgment, because they tried to divide His land and scatter His people –
“I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land.” – Joel 3:2.
(God has a LONG memory and when He says “all nations”, He means all nations, both historical and current!)
We Americans have a vital interest in remembering how the story of the Mid East all started. It began with a call from God and the faithful obedience to that call.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going. – Hebrews 11:8
Israel was founded on a call from God and as long as the Israelites followed God and looked to Him for guidance, they prospered. Through Abraham, Israel became the first, and only, Jewish nation. God promised that the desert would blossom and the wilderness would rejoice for them. And though it became a desert wasteland during Israel’s dispersal among the nations, now that they are back, the desert is once more blooming, almost as if the land itself is rejoicing at their return. Although many thought Israel was no more, God was not worried for His Word always comes to pass in His own time.
There is one other nation on earth that has a similar history – America. History calls its founders Pilgrims and Puritans but they did not call themselves that. They simply called themselves Christians. They came to America following the call of God, just as Abraham had done for Israel. The Pilgrims already lived a life based on covenant relationship with God and each other but, as they were about to form a legitimate government, they drew up the Mayflower Compact, their covenant agreement with each other which stated:
“Having undertaken, for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian Faith and the honor of our King and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by the presents solemnly and mutually in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid, and by the virtue hereof to enact, constitute and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, sets, constitutions and offices from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony …”
This Mayflower Compact became the pivotal document in the development of constitutional government in America. The Puritans likewise came with a call from God. John Winthrop, in his sermon titled ‘A Model of Christian Charity’ made that famous statement of purpose: “We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all the people upon us.” quoting Matthew 5:14. Winthrop spelled out clearly his vision for America:
“We are a company, he said, … professing ourselves fellow members of Christ … The end is to improve our lives and to do more service to the Lord … that ourselves and our posterity may be better preserved from the common corruptions in this world …. We must love brotherly without dissimulation; we must love one another with pure heart fervently.”
Because of them, America did indeed become the beacon to the world for freedom and liberty. They taught the only path to true freedom is freedom from sin through Jesus Christ. They not only taught this in their churches but also in their schools. Harvard was founded in 1636 for just such a purpose. The Harvard Rules and Precepts stated:
“The main end of the scholar’s life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life. Therefore, to lay Christ in the bottom is the only foundation of all sound knowledge and harmony.”
Years later, this truth was still strong in the minds of those early Americans:
“In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”
– Preface by Noah Webster in his 1828 Dictionary
So here we have two nations being formed out of a call from God. One epitomizes the Old Testament and one epitomizes the New Testament. But, the purpose of God is to bring the two together in Christ Jesus to form one – Ephesians 2:15, the ‘one’ being the people of God, made up of both Jew and Gentile believers.
God deals with them much the same: He prospers them when they follow Him and He punishes with natural and man-made disasters when they turn away from Him. History teaches us how Israel ceased from being a nation for a time because of consistent sin and rebellion. Is there any reason to think that will not be true for America as well?
The Holy Spirit is saying to us, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place – unless you repent.” – Revelation 2:4, 5
As we have just had our national Day of Prayer, we should remember what we were like when we first started as a nation. But, I want to say to you, ‘No nation is any stronger than the individuals in it! And no church is any stronger than the members in it!’ Matthew Henry, who wrote the well known Bible Commentary of yesteryear, commented “If you don’t first have church at home, you will not have it when you come together either.” As we witness the decay of our nation, we cannot, indeed we dare not, trust to some government leader to give us “hope and change”. When we return to the way we were when God first called our Pilgrim and Puritan fathers, then we will get the leaders that can lead us into greatness.
Please, Oh please, remember what Jesus taught, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Abraham was called and our Pilgrim and Puritan fathers were called, but they were also chosen because they were faithful to obey the call.
We must take this message PERSONALLY and not think someone else will do it. God is calling to YOU. Will you obey and answer the call?
Here ends Chapter 13.
Not much has changed in our nation since I wrote this book, except the time. The time is now much shorter than when I first began warning. We should all heed the last call and warning from the Book of Revelation –
And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. – Rev. 22:10-12
In other words, ‘he who is filthy, go on, live it up, you don’t have long! He who is righteous, let him go on to be more righteous for I am coming soon!.