Now is the time for Congress, national and church leaders to wake up! It’s not too late, but it is much later than most people think. These are the “last days,” but do not get caught up in exactly how many days or any foolish time predictions. We see clearly that America is reaping what has been sown. The cost of forsaking God is always heavy and the consequences great. European nations are quaking while America also trembles with joblessness, economic insecurity, runaway national debt, a leadership crisis and a Congress that either can’t or won’t communicate.
Do you think refusing God’s truth and wisdom while living in selfishness, idolatry, and rebellion might have anything to do with our problems? In the Old Testament, God says, “You rejected my counsel and paid no attention when I corrected you… You hated knowledge and chose not to fear the Lord. Therefore you eat the bitter fruit of living your own way.”[i] In the New Testament, He declared, “When you knew me as God, you did not honor me as God or give thanks, but became vain in your thinking and your foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, you proved to be fools. As a result you were given over to degrading passions and practices. Your appetites became your God, and perverted practices became common, leading to depraved thinking.”[ii]
Such is the case in our day. The answer? Turn to God in repentance. There is no shortcut, but the way of the cross leads home. When we turn to God, wisdom will be heard and heeded. This is our need in this hour. May I suggest you prayerfully read Isaiah chapter five. Let me summarize the message:
“Because of my love I created you to be a fruitful field (vineyard) and blessed you in every way by removing obstacles and providing protection. I expected the best and got the worst: bitter fruit. It was rottenness to the core! So I removed the hedge of my protection, and you were trampled by the enemies of life, fruitfulness and fullness. I expected justice and got oppression, and I saw violence against the helpless, including the helpless unborn in the womb.
“After buying houses and land but failing to love me and others, the people found loneliness because of their vanity. Their houses and even mansions will be deserted. Because of bad policies and manipulation the nation’s productivity and economy will collapse. In foolishness many will try to live it up but will fail, experiencing spiritual exile and hunger. The arrogant will be brought down with none too big to fail and no more bailouts from any idol or worshipers of them. Those who have been dragging their sins behind themselves with ropes made of lies will be filled with sorrow even while they mock God, saying insulting things to Him like, ‘Hurry up and do something, let the Holy one do something.’” (Well, He is, and it is judgment brought on by rejecting truth and sound principles.)
Isaiah continues: “What sorrow to those who say evil is good and good is evil…that dark is light and light is dark…that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter. What sorrow to those who are wise in their own eyes—who are heroes at drinking and boasting about how much alcohol they can hold. Woe to those who take bribes, protect the wicked and punish the innocent.”[iii] Who would have ever imagined that in America people would be asked to openly approve the abnormal as normal and the unnatural as natural including same-sex marriage which can produce no children. At the same time many condone destroying the innocent unborn and call it freedom of choice. Sad! Only God can heal our land.
As in Joel chapter two, Isaiah points to the same consequences of sin revealing how the enemy — the consuming army of judgment will work in unity — never breaking rank, not tiring, willing to go without sleep to destroy any hope of recovery without God’s intervention. Their arrows are sharp, and their bows are ready for battle. The enemy comes like a flood, a tornado, or a roaring lion seeking whom it can destroy. It will pounce on the prey with none to deliver because the deliverer has been rejected. Darkness and distress prevails in the land.
This is where we are as a nation. Many people have chosen to live with their fist clinched in the face of Holy God exclaiming, “It’s my life, I’ll live it my way!” Where are you? May God help each of us to find ourselves as Isaiah did in chapter six. Beholding the Lord high and lifted up in all of His holiness and glory we should, as He did, cry out in brokenness, “Woe is me, I am unclean.”
There is something very significant about changing our posture from pointing at others to recognizing our need for forgiveness and cleansing. We must stop confessing other people’s sin and confess our own. It is then that God releases the necessary cleansing fire, and we can experience forgiveness and freedom.
After experiencing the purifying fire, I pray each of us will respond to God’s question, “Whom shall I send as a messenger to the people?”by declaring, “Here am I, Lord, send me.”
With all of my heart, I am seeking to be a messenger—to be salt and light—piercing this present darkness. In the face of judgment for our rebellion, our loving Father in heaven offers mercy and forgiveness. May America receive it one life at a time. National sins are the public manifestation of personal sin, which includes indifference. When we choose not to express our convictions and concerns, we have expressed the lack of both. Dietrich Bonhoeffer told the sleeping church in Germany as Hitler and The Nazi Party rose to power, “Not to act is to act!”
It is an irrefutable fact that “we reap what we sow.” The high cost of sin and indifference is always loss. God, however, offers to lift us up out of any horrible pit. If we do not recover as individuals and a nation, it will not be because we did not know but because we said no to the Way, the Truth and the Life, along with the mercy He so freely offers.
[i] Proverbs 1:23-31, paraphrased
[ii] Romans 1:18-32, paraphrased
[iii] Isaiah 5:20-23