A “byword among nations”

jar.jpgAn article at worldnetdaily asks the question, “Is America becoming another Rome?” Congressman Tom Tancredo says the disintegration of the United States has already begun and has written a book about it.

I appreciate the congressman sounding the alarm but he’s a bit late to this party. The decline of the United States — indeed, all of western culture — was outlined years ago by Dr. Francis Schaeffer in his book, “How Should We Then Live?” He even produced a lengthy documentary on the subject by the same name.

The problem has just become more acute in recent years, but the decline has been happening for some time. And, of course, once we recognize what’s going on we are all apt to ask the question…

“Why?”

If we are honest with ourselves the question is really rhetorical. If we take an honest look around we will know why. If we need a hint we can look to Scripture — a novel approach, I know. But, in 2 Chronicles we read:

“And as for thee, if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked, and do according to all that I have commanded thee, and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments; Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man [to be] ruler in Israel.

But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them; and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight, and will make it [to be] a proverb and a byword among all nations. And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house? And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them.”

One who engages in idolatry can well expect God to respond in similar fashion. In America many of us have engaged in idolatry. We worship America. We ask god to bless America. Why do we do this? Is it so that God my be glorified or that America may be glorified? What about our faith? When we see needs, is our first reaction to gather the church and meet those needs so the world “may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in heaven?” Or, do we think “why doesn’t the government do something?”

What about our greatest source of pride? Do we feel the most pride when standing at attention to the sound of the national anthem — even though God’s Word says, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world”?

So what are we to do? The answer is in the 2 Chronicles passage, just a few verses prior…

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The blame does not rest with unregenerate sinners who are out there living like unregenerate sinners. It rests with the Church — with us. Our responsibility is to be a light to this world and salt of the earth. We are to influence our culture not be influenced by it. And most of all we are to worship God alone — not the state. God brings down idols. The decline of our culture and our country is God bringing down our idol.

The irony is this: The only way we can reasonably expect God to bless our country is when we stop caring whether or not God blesses our country. We must place all of our faith in God alone and glory in Him exclusively. We must cast out our idol. If we don’t we can expect our idol to end up as a byword among the nations.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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