Monday, August 10, 2009

Heal our nation? Look inwardly first

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 79:5 (NIV):

“How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever?
How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
Pour out your wrath on the nations
that do not acknowledge you,
on the kingdoms
that do not call on your name.”

Uh, that would be us, the United States of America, founded on Christian principles way back in 1776. For 200-plus years we were known as a Christian nation, led by Christian leaders. Today? I don’t know. I am scared for our country. I’m frightened that Christians are being threatened with silence, from the airwaves, to schools, to the workplace. Our government is headed toward socialism, forcing a free medical health care plan – even for illegal immigrants – on us that would include provisions for free teenage abortions. Oh, and if your mom is in her 80s, the government has a right to intervene and take over her life, including determining when she dies.

When you look across our nation, it is not acting much like a Christian nation. You might be saying, “That’s all well and good, but I’m just a pour, private citizen. What can I do?” Simple. Pray, just as Asaph is doing here probably shortly after the Babylonian invasion had leveled Jerusalem (see 2 Kings 25). Suddenly the landscape of Jerusalem had changed. God-fearing Jews were being sent off to foreign lands, and the mighty Babylonians were in charge.

Asaph (or one of his descendants) was outraged at the injustice he saw all around him, so he cries out TO God, not AGAINST him. There’s a difference. Asaph is angry at the situation, but he isn’t angry at God. During times of disaster, we must trust God to deliver us from tough times. Are we facing tough times in America? You bet. But most of our public ills were brought on by our greed for more of everything. More money, more toys, better-paying job, bigger house, bigger cars, more fun, more merriment. Oh, and more sex and pornography, meaning more abortions and more divorces. The toys were put on credit, meaning more debt. More time in the office to pay the creditors, and less time in the home, which means letting liberal teachers to raise our children.

Like Asaph, we must realize why the calamity around us is happening: It’s our sins. God was so thoroughly disgusted with the Israelites worship of false idols that he let the Babylonians conquer Jerusalem and the scattering of Jews began in earnest. In verse 9, he asks God to “forgive our sins / for your name’s sake.” Before we can heal our nation, we must look inwardly and heal our own hearts. Get your own life in order before you criticize the political landscape around you. Then get on your knees and pray for the injustices you see around you. God is our only hope.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, before I ask you to heal our nation, I ask you to heal my heart. Lord, I ask that you cleanse my heart of my sin. Amen

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