Last night President Barak Obama delivered his annual State of the Union Message in which he touted the idea that we’ve turned the corner and everything is just fine and wonderful now. One has to ask, “What planet is he living on?” Rather than address his assertions, which I will leave to the political pundits, I would like to address a condition that is more fundamental to the state of our union—the spiritual state of our union. This is most important because it is the spiritual condition of the nation that generates all the other manifestations of a nation’s well-being. The principle is true:
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord and the people He chose for His inheritance,” (Psalm 33:12).
It follows then that the opposite would also be true–cursed is the nation whose god is not The Lord. So whether we live in a state of blessing or under a curse will depend on the role God plays in our national life. Abraham Lincoln reminded us when he appointed a national fast day in 1863 in the midst of a terrible civil war when he published a declaration for all posterity that,
“It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God…”
He knew that the future of the nation was in the hands of a God of justice and mercy. He attributed the scourge of the war to our national sin of enslaving our fellow man who is created in God’s image.
We must be reminded once again, that the well-being of our nation will continue to be a function of our relationship to the God of the Bible. The Bible speaks clearly to nations as well as to individuals, and neither can be neglected without voiding the intent of God’s Word. Our standing in the world, our economic prosperity at home, breakdown of social order, all these are the result of our relationship, or lack of relationship with the God upon whose glory this nation was founded according to the Mayflower Compact, and according to declarations of national leaders up until recent times.
Rather than acknowledging the overruling power of God, we are now erasing every vestige of our Christian foundation from the public square. Just this week it was reported that an army recruiting station in Phoenix was ordered by “higher ups” to remove a sidewalk poster that declared, “On a mission for both God and Country.”
Is it total ignorance concerning the dependence on that overruling God that has given us success in battle from the Revolutionary War where General Washington openly declared that it was only God’s favor that would enable them to prevail, and who reminded the young nation that “the propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a people who neglect His rules of order and right?” to the prayer that President Roosevelt prayed over the radio as our troops landed on Normandy Beach to defend our freedom and our “religion?”
Is it any wonder then that as we began to shove God out of our national life we have also found victory in war to be more elusive? It’s no mystery. Frederick Douglas, an African American escaped slave and civil rights leader who instructs us,
“I have one great political idea. . . . That idea is an old one. It is widely and generally assented to; nevertheless, it is very generally trampled upon and disregarded. The best expression of it, I have found in the Bible. It is in substance, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; sin is a reproach to any people” [Proverbs 14:34]. . . This constitutes my politics …the whole of my politics. . . . I feel it my duty to do all in my power to infuse this idea into the public mind…”
It is in that same spirit that I feel compelled to say that we are spiritually bankrupt, and if we continue on the current path away from God we will only experience more of the curse. There are only two overriding forces on this planet. The natural force of evil which can be seen throughout the world where the Gospel has not reached, and the other force is the blessing of God’s grace shed on those nations that acknowledge His sovereignty, as we did when we stated in our national motto: “In God We Trust.”
If we truly wish to see our grandchildren grow in the peace, prosperity and liberty that we have known we must return to the God of our Fathers. We need political leaders who will boldly declare what great men before them have, that we must return to God to enjoy His blessings. I yearn to hear a candidate begin his stump speech with the declaration that,
“We are one nation under God, and it is in God that we place our trust. That will be the defining framework of all my governing ideas. All my initiatives will be directed to see His blessings shed on the people of this great nation.”
How I dream of hearing the courage, the boldness, the love for God and country that would empower a candidate to make such declaration. That’s a banner I believe most Americans will still rally around and support.
Leadership must begin in the pulpits.
Every good and godly blessing enjoyed by our citizens originated in the pulpits of the nation from the preachers of the Revolution, until such times like the sermon by Reverend George M. Docherty which inspired President Eisenhower to add the phrase “under God” to our Pledge of Allegiance. Remember it was The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King who led the nation to repent of prideful discrimination against fellow Americans. Where are the “ pulpits ablaze with righteousness” today?
It is incumbent upon the ministers of this nation to preach and teach about the duties of Christians in their stewardship of liberty. We must repent of our neglect of this part of the Gospel. The “full” Gospel must include the stewardship of all God has entrusted to us, including our government, “of the people.”
So then, the way forward is for every man, woman and child to “own their dependency upon the overruling power of God.” We must then take our personal faith into the public square. We must pray for spiritual revival while we do all we can to elect men and women who will rule in the fear of the Lord using biblical principles to form their political philosophy.
If we are to be spared of the curse, we must become once again, “One Nation Under God.”