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CBN.com It is obvious to most of us living in the present society of the United States of America, that things are not what they should be, or used to be. I frequently travel to other nations and from many people in other lands I often hear the question, "What's happening to America?"
The symptoms are obvious and the list of problems is long and seems to increase with every news headline: Crime violence, the economy, disasters, social and political corruption injustice in the courts and the land , racial tensions and strife, etc. etc. etc. Just fill in the blanks _________ . On a more subjective level we find disillusionment, lack of vision, distrust of government, frustration with bureaucracy and on it goes. However it seems to me that all of these are symptoms, not the root problem.
I have a small tree in my back yard that died last year. I didn't know it was dying until the leaves turned brown and fell off. In the middle of the summer, death had set in. To remedy the situation we had get down to the root and deal with the disease, not attempt to paste the leaves back on. In America we are doing a lot of pasting or as was stated some long time ago to another society in decline, "You are whitewashing a wall that is about to fall down."
Oftentimes dealing with root problems is painful. It more often than not means an operation and cutting out the disease. Ask anyone who has had cancer. When we realize there is a problem we go to a doctor. Once the specific disease is defined we then go to a specialist for his diagnosis. Then we get another opinion. After all the evidence is gathered, we then look at the options available to us, and make the best decision. If you want to live and the infection is in a limb, amputate the limb or die. The choice is that basic. In the United States we are unwilling to make that choice as a result we are dying. Denial, or band aids on cancer won't save the patient.
When it comes to society, who are the specialists? Obviously, we have sociologists, psychologists, historians, economists and politicians, to name a few.(Whatever happened to prophets?) Then we have "opinion makers," and everyone else on TV talk shows. And then there are the rest of us who are just trying to get through the day and pay the bills, raise the children, keep our jobs, and share our own personal thoughts with friends, and really question whether one individual can make a difference anyway. It's the survival mentality. Or apathy.
Drilling In the Dark
There was a time when our society lived by agreed on rules of behavior. There were standards that we adhered to. If the sign said 55 MPH on the highway, generally we kept within the speed limit. If we went over the speed limit the officer with the siren and the big gun stopped us and gave us a ticket. A short time later we were in court pleading our case before a judge and either fined or acquitted. In our present day world all that is being questioned. The road signs have been taken down and every one is driving at their own rate of speed. After all it's my right and you can't impose on my rights; it's a free country
But the flip side of the coin is "no man is an island." In the USA if we don't agree on the laws that govern us, we can vote, we can appeal, we can demonstrate, we can go through due process so that any purported injustice can be remedied. Of course that often takes time, and there are many who don't want to wait, so they take the law into their own hands, thereby becoming a law unto themselves. Like the "Unabomber" or the self named "Freemen." It's called self justification and goes something like this:
"Who determines the "the rules of the road" and who says 55 MPH is the safest speed? Who says I can't drink and drive? I've been doing it for years and I haven't killed anyone....yet..... Who says marijuana is bad for you? I've been smoking it for years and my brain hasn't fallen out... yet..... Yeah, so what I've been makin' it with the woman down the street and she's still married; no one knows and what people don't know won't hurt them....I didn't really lie on my income tax form, I just didn't itemize the income. In any event taxes are too high, I worked for it and I'm entitled." In other words "everyone does what seems right in his own eyes," and on it goes ad infinitum .
As the host of a former television program called Straight Talk I have personally faced off with people of this disposition, concerning many issues. On one show in particular some "Skinheads" I was attempting to interview, walked off the set in a frenzy screaming a string of words that had not often been heard in these hallowed halls, including "You can't tell me what to do! Don't try to impose your point of view on me! It's not a moral issue, and anyway morality can't be legislated!". To underscore their point they threw some of the furniture, took a swipe at me personally on the way out and then lay in wait in the parking lot for my exit. They felt rather strongly about what they believed. So did I. Nonetheless, we all live by a higher law than our personal opinions, whether we accept it or not.
America as a society is analogous to the philosophical metaphor of the "one and the many." We are all in a lifeboat together and one guy decides to drill a hole in the bottom of the boat, because "it's his thing," he's into drilling holes. It's his right. What do the rest of us do? We have a profound dialogue about the problem but he's still drilling while we're talking. We can threaten him....he's still drilling . We can take the drill away by force. However, that's a violation of his individual rights But who determined those rights anyway? We finally conclude that in the United States we have a literal Bill of Rights, which in turn is backed up by the Constitution. These laws are maintained by the law enforcers and we as a society in our boat agree to live by them. If one guy "drilling" threatens the welfare of the society and he doesn't adhere to the law. Overboard he goes. He is putting us all in jeopardy.
As a nation we are not just breaking the law, we are becoming lawless. Violation of the law means we are breaking societal laws and acting as if they don't exist. We know the law but choose to ignore it and therefore become a law unto ourselves. The fact is there are a lot more of us drilling holes secretly in the dark than we realize. "What you don't know will hurt you" and the ship of state is going down.
Rules of the Road
Is there a "higher law" than the Constitution? Are there absolutes?
As a nation we no longer believe in absolutes. "What is truth?" is a philosophical discussion, not something or someone we live by. Our national currency bears the inscription, "In God We Trust." Since we are constantly demanding recognition of the "separation of church and state," I am amazed that this motto hasn't been removed from our money and from the Pledge of Allegiance, and we sing "God shed His grace on Thee," at ball games; however, do we really believe it? The facts seem to say, it is really lip service ; we don't trust in God. Our so called "god" has a small 'g' and is no longer the God of the Bible. That is simply a book we place our hand on as we make vows in court and swear in Presidents. Occasionally we place it on an altar when we get married and relegate it to a shelf after we're married. However, in light of our current divorce rate it is certainly not a book that governs our marriages....or our schools....or the workplace.....or our neighborhoods......or our relationships....or our ethics....or our morality. It's just a book. Not by any stretch of the imagination is it a realistic "road map" for guiding our lives, or as a literal absolute standard for managing a society. As someone recently stated, "For America, the ten commandments have become the ten suggestions." The fact is God is not welcome in so called mainstream America, He is relegated to the backwater of "good ole" boys, TV preachers with big hair and more recently the "religious right." For many, that is not the God they want to entrust their lives to. That is understandable; however in rejecting an image of God without substance, we have bought another lie. We have not only thrown out His book, we have thrown out the author.
What We Didn't Learn From History
As someone stated, "If we don't learn from the mistakes of history, we
are doomed to repeat them."
Ask the ghosts of Babylon, Greece, or Rome. More recently, what about the victims of Germany's so called 1000 year Reich or kingdom? Is Great Britain still great? Does Britannia still rule the waves? What makes us feel we are an exception? If we in America believe ourselves to be exempt from repeating the mistakes of the past we will find that we are violating another principle that leads to the inevitable collapse of societies, "Pride comes before destruction."
In his classic work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon cited five primary causes for the dissolution of the Roman society:
As another wise sage opined: "There is nothing new under the sun."
The Grand Exit
A Biblical decree is given to the seer/prophet Daniel by Almighty God
" The purpose of this decree is that all the living world may know and understand that the Most High rules the kingdoms of the world, and gives them to anyone He wants to, even the lowliest of men."
A nineteenth century commentator put it this way
"Nations are as difficult to rule as the sea itself, they are as fitful, treacherous, restless, and furious; when the multitude has been set on mischief, and have grown weary of their lords, the people will not be restrained by laws. However, God alone is King of nations. The sea obeys him, and more tumultuous nations are kept in check by Him. Human society owns it's preservation to the continued power of God: evil passions would secure it's instant dissolution; envy, ambition, and cruelty would create anarchy tomorrow, if God did not prevent; we have great proof of this in the various revolutions of nations. Glory be unto God who maintains the fabric of social order, and checks the wicked who would gladly overthrow all things." (Charles Haddon Spurgeon)
Yet it is important to understand that God does not impose Himself on any individual, group or nation. We get the leadership and society we deserve. The frightening prospect is, He will leave us to our own devices. In regard to the United States of America, I believe God is making an exit, because our "free choice," is driving Him out. However it is important to understand, He is not going off to have a pity party because we have rejected Him; nor is He abdicating His role as Sovereign Lord. There are consequences to our choices. One commentator three hundred years ago put it this way: "When God leaves a people as to His glorious presence, He comes to them in judgment." (Matthew Henry)
The Great Trade Off
There is a Biblical principle (back to the Book again) that if you accept those who God sends you are accepting Him. Conversely if you reject those He sends, you are rejecting Him. The most salient example of this precept is that God sent His Son Jesus Christ. Do we accept Him or reject Him.? The answer to that question divides history, nations and people. In turn the people who identify with and accept Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scriptures become His people in the society. They are to be "salt' in the society. In other words, by living their lives in accordance with the principles as stated in the Scriptures, they bring flavor to the society; however, if the salt loses it's savor, "it is fit for nothing-not even for the manure pile; it is worthless and it is thrown away." And that leaves the society like a pile of fertilizer. (You can use the vernacular street speech of the day here and you would be right )
When we reject God from the public square the trade off is sobering:
For those who scream at the heavens that they don't want any so called god telling them what to do, they will get what they ask for with the same consequences as rebellious King Saul when he cried out to Samuel the prophet: "I am in great distress and troubled....God has left me. He does not answer me any more, either through prophets or by dreams. What should I do?" And Samuel said, "Why ask me because the Lord has left you and become your enemy."
Likewise with Israel, God had pleaded with them over and over again to repent and turn from their sin, "But they rebelled against Him and grieved His Holy Spirit. Therefore He became their enemy and personally fought against them. Because they have said no to the Truth and have refused to believe it and love it, and let it save them, God will send upon them a strong delusion to believe lies with all their hearts."
The Scripture goes on to state: "So it was that when they gave God up and would not even acknowledge Him, God gave them up to doing everything their evil minds could think of ." The restraints are off and the result is a dissolution of our social, ethical and moral fabric.
What To Do
Back to The Book: "The Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet saying: If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in My sight and does not obey Me, then I will consider the good I had intended to do for it. This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising an evil plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions."
That of course is a word to rebellious Israel, however, I don't believe we are in any less sin than Israel was, and God's requirements haven't changed. The key word is, "repent!" which is defined in the statement: "turning from our evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and actions."
The word "repent" may conjure up images of strange people with pasteboard signs walking up and down the sidewalk screaming at the top of their lungs to "turn or burn." Although we may find the concept offensive or comical, it is a Biblical reality; with numerous examples of prayers of repentance throughout Scripture. In our personal lives it means turning from one way of living to another. We begin by addressing God Almighty in prayer, through the mediation of Jesus Christ His only Son. For those who do so there is literally a new life imparted supernaturally through God's forgiveness. Do understand that it is not God's will that anyone should die in their sin, which is rebellion against God, but rather that everyone should receive His love and grace (as in "Amazing") God's goodness leads us to repentance and He is ready to pardon. Conversely reject His goodness and the consequence is His judgment which we bring upon ourselves "Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive evil?"
For the individual and the United States it is down to choices; "if you are unwilling to obey the Lord, then decide today whom you will obey. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."
For America it may no longer be, God and country; it may be God or country.
As I write this I am going through my own subjective responses. We are well accustomed to rhetoric. We are inundated with a literal regurgitation of verbiage 24 hours a day. What's some more added to the babble? I agree. It is difficult for me to grasp the full objective reality of these events actually happening in and to this country. These are not occurrences any individual would want to see happen or be part of. I am reading the words and the Word as I inscribe them and would have wished that someone else had written this piece; although I know I am not a lone voice in declaring these matters. In the Old and New Testament when men were have purported to have heard anything from God and stood up and said so, "every word had to be confirmed out of the mouth of two or three witnesses." It is still a principle we apply today as journalists. In the Old Testament if the so called prophets were speaking out of their own minds or fantasies, and the events did not transpire, the consequences were terminal. They were stoned!
If it's just me then ignore it like a bad deodorant commercial, but if in any way even part of it is true to God's Word, then "He will watch over it to perform it." In other words, the scenario recited here will be accomplished, or is already being fulfilled ; we just haven't related these occurences as having anything to do with God, but only natural events and happenstance.
I do believe the written Word of God. I believe God. He doesn't change and He is true to His Word, and He says, "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil."
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