[Darris] Given a chance, what would you ask your country's leader as he or she starts their term in office?
In the days of biblical Israel, a king had various advisers in his court telling him how to run the nation based on the Word of God. Samuel guided Saul. Nathan counseled David and the prophet Isaiah brought God's Word and will to Hezekiah. These men of God were independent voices representing the Word of God to the king.
The elected President of the United States takes office on January 20th. What might he hear if a servant of God entered the Oval Office? What kind of biblical questions might he put to the President of the United States? What questions should I ask if I were sent to the Oval Office? What would you ask?
Join us on Beyond Today as we examine some "Biblical Questions for the President and You."
[Announcer] Join our host, Darris McNeely and his guests, as they help you understand your future on Beyond Today !
[Darris] Consider this. The United States and other major nations are facing some serious problems. The days of reckoning began the day after this election. High fiscal deficits, entitlement programs and a moral slide into the abyss are carrying America to a day of judgment.
In America the bright prospects of hope and change have dimmed. And what the President promised has not been delivered. Fear is a very real part of the American scene right now.
The rest of the world is intensely interested in the decisions made by the leadership in America. Despite a level of anti-American resentment, most people know that what is decided in Washington D.C. does impact the world.
Which is why the President of the United States, and the rest of the world's prime ministers and leaders, could benefit from a biblical perspective when it comes to governing.
Let's start by examining a very big question put to both Presidential candidates during the last election campaign. During one debate, both men were asked, "What is the greatest threat to America's national security?" Now the answers that were given were what we would typically expect.
Let's look at what they identified.
Both men mentioned the Middle East tension since the eruptions of the so-called "Arab Spring" in 2011. Egypt, for instance, is going through major changes as Islamic fundamentalists assert Islamic law. In Libya and Syria there is a great deal of turmoil which threatens the stability of other Arab states.
Iran's drive for nuclear weapons was next on this list. No serious leader really sees and feels that a nuclear capable Iran is good for the stability of the region or the world. Israel certainly doesn't.
The rise of China as an economic and as a military power is also high on the list of threats. You see China holds in its hands billions of dollars in America's debt and is challenging long standing American supremacy in Asia.
Finally on this list, the candidates mentioned America's 16 trillion dollar debt—and growing—as a threat to national security. And it surely is. Even the world's most powerful nation can spend itself into bankruptcy.
But none of these are the most serious threat to national security. The threat posed by each are really symptoms of a deeper threat that no one has identified.
The most serious threat to America's security, and it applies to every nation, is something you won't read about in any news source.
What is it? We can learn what it is from a source found very close to every President of the United States. It's God's Word, the Holy Bible.
Now you might be laughing and you might be saying this won't work. But before you reach for that clicker, let me show you something. Let me ask you a question. Can you show me what really is working?
Why not turn to the Bible and ask the President, and every other world leader, some straight questions? You would be shocked, but this approach would be the start down a path that would lead to some solutions.
Every President is sworn into office with his hand on a Bible. This custom began with the first U.S. President, George Washington and it continues today. In the pages of this book is the answer to the question of the greatest threat to national security, not just for the United States but for the other nations of this world.
The greatest threat to national security is your sins, my sins, and the sins of our nation and your nation.
Let's look at Deuteronomy chapter 28 in the Bible. It is a place where one of the great world leaders of the past, Moses, stood before the nation of Israel and rehearsed the most important covenant or agreement ever made by a sovereign people.
Forty years earlier their parents stood at Mt. Sinai and there they made an agreement with God to live by God's laws called the Ten Commandments. These would be the basis for their civil and religious government. No other compact among the nations comes close to the simplicity and the beauty and the justice embodied in this charter. Those people vowed to obey and to worship God and God, He in turn promised to bless and to protect them as His chosen people. "All the words which the Lord has said we will do" they promised (Exodus 24:3).
Now, to the children of these Israelites, Moses was repeating the terms of the agreement. Let's look at what some of was said and draw some questions that are vital to today's world.
In chapter 28 of Deuteronomy in verse 1 it says this, “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.”
Here in this statement is the promise of national security, not just for Israel, really what God was saying would impact any nation that obeys and worships the God of Abraham. God intended Israel to be the single nation on earth to which all others could look upon as a godly example to follow. No other nation would be governed by His laws. As Israel prospered because of God's blessings they would attract the attention of the others and they would come to Israel to learn their "secret." They would learn to do what Israel did.
It goes on in verse 2, “And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
Now what kind of blessings would follow from obeying God? Well the list follows on in Deuteronomy. But when you look at it carefully, you see that the blessing comes from obedience to the voice of God, to His commandments and to His teachings.
The idea of obedience to God as part of a nation's character seems so ancient and really out of date. Yet America was founded on clear biblical principles. The founding fathers understood that adherence to the Ten Commandments was a way to make the United States Constitution work within society. True, they were not written into it, but there is no doubt those men who read the Bible, many of them knew what type of moral character was needed for the nation to prosper. The character of the people had to be formed by the spiritual law of God.
Let's pause for a moment and let's think about the Ten Commandments. You know it's been said that these Ten Commandments were not commandments but only suggestions. Well that's not true! No greater law has ever been given by which man can be governed both collectively and personally. Taken as a whole the Ten Commandments are the basis for a way of life that can create a just and a moral world. If each one of us would just make a commitment to live by these laws a powerful transformation could be created.
You need to look into what these laws mean and you can make them a positive and productive part of your life. A little later in the program I am going to tell you how to get a copy of this free booklet, The Ten Commandments .
Obedience to these laws is at the heart of a nation's security. And in Deuteronomy we are told about the promised blessings from obeying the Ten Commandments.
Look at how they match up to some of the critical issues that are facing America and other nations today.
"Blessed," it says in verse 3, “shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.”
This section outlines both general and specific results of a social structure rooted in God's spiritual law. Verse 3 is talking about a good and ordered life for everyone. It is describing a peaceful and tranquil setting where people can pursue life, liberty and happiness. Now think about this for a moment.
In America's Declaration of Independence it is written: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
That is exactly what God promised here in the Bible. He shows the way to a happy life where people can work and provide a good living for their family.
It begins with a solid moral foundation based on God's spiritual law. Ask yourself what it is that you want most of all in life. Really, it's a good health and a happy life. A life of peace; lived secure from fear of any kind. You want to live free from fear and free from guilt. Free from all the personal and private insecurities that come with this human experience. In short, you want to be happy!
I learned this dramatically one time in a counseling session with a person who was fighting the demons of a genuinely unhappy lifetime. "All I want out of this life is to be happy," they screamed this into my face. "I just want God, or someone, to lift this gloom and make me happy!" What I learned then was neither I nor anyone can make a person happy without a person first walking with God according to this agreement here in Deuteronomy—"because" it says, "you obey the voice of the Lord your God."
Now going on in verse 7 of this section, “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”
The promise directly addresses a nation's security from its enemies. In a violent and troubled world of the past century, the United States has been a defender and a guarantor of freedom for many nations. Twice in the 20th century American troops went to Europe to liberate the continent and France specifically. During the Cold War the American military checked the further spread of Soviet totalitarianism. Today the American Navy guards the seas and allows global commerce to thrive.
However, terrorism continues to eat away at world security. Threats of a nuclear armed Middle East cast a shadow of fear on the world.
Why does war and strife and evil continue to raise its head creating war and suffering? Is there a deeper cause to these problems than we are really willing to admit?
Because a nation obeys the law of God, God foretells their enemies will flee before them seven ways. Does this happen today when we see terrorists attack Americans in Libya with impunity? No it doesn't. What God is saying in this verse is that the moral character of a people is tied directly to its national security. He is saying that you and I have something to do with the security of our nation. That's right! Your character, your neighbor's character and that of everyone where you live impacts the peace and safety of our country. It's a time for some direct talk about this and time we face the individual responsibility that we have before our Creator.
There is a story from the seventh chapter of the book of Judges that illustrates the personal responsibility each of us has. You know about the story of Jericho and the walls that came tumbling down. We sing that song about Joshua and his famous battle that ended in victory for God's people, Israel. But what most don't know is that there is another story beyond that, the next scene in that story.
Joshua next sent a reduced force of men against another very small city called Ai. Yet, instead of an easy victory this strike force was ambushed, and 36 people were killed. And they all ran down the hill, all running from the field in fear, their hearts melting like water it says. What was expected to be an easy victory turned into a humiliating disaster.
Joshua and his aides, they were dismayed and fearful. "How could this happen?" they said. "We're bigger! We're stronger! How could we be defeated? How do we overcome this threat to our security?"
The answer was not in their might nor their strength. The problem was in the moral character of the people. God allowed this defeat to expose a sin that if hidden and unrevealed would infect the entire nation for generations. God had to expose it then and there and in this story we have a very important lesson for today. Your country's national security is at stake if this lesson is not impressed upon us and if it's not taken to heart right now.
What is that lesson? What was the sin that threatened Israel? It was the sin of stealing. The breaking of the Eighth Commandment which says, "You shall not steal." There was a man named Achan who had violated God's rules of war and he had stolen gold and other loot from the ruins of Jericho against the express command of God to burn and to destroy everything in the city and not keep any of it. Achan had stumbled upon a treasure and while no one was looking, he took something of it for himself and he hid it within his quarters. No one knew he had the money. But God did. And God was not going to let the sin of greed and stealing take root at this time among the people.
Not fair, you say? What! Everybody today steals something. No one is perfect. Well, you are almost right, many people do steal something even if it is something small. And that is why this story is in the Bible. There is something for us to learn today about our conduct.
Sin, the violation of God's spiritual law—the Ten Commandments, is woven into the fabric of every nation in the world. Because this is true, we see a world in conflict and suffering the consequences of broken law. And God holds a nation claiming any part of His name to a standard based on His law.
Achan's story of hidden sin and God withholding His blessing on the people teaches us exactly what we read in Deuteronomy. Honor and obey Him and one's enemies will flee seven ways. Disobey, dishonor, walk all over His law and pretend to be something you aren't and He causes confusion and threat. You and I have a part to play in the national security of our country.
God has a question for you. Will you stop sinning? Will you begin to obey the Ten Commandments, and all of His way today?
These questions strike at the heart of every one of the prophets of the Bible, beginning with the prophet Moses here in Deuteronomy. Every one of us has a responsibility before God to live by His laws and they are at the heart of every good thing we would want in life and for our nation.
So again, what is the greatest threat to America and the world's national security? It is the moral character of the people. It is the type of people we will choose to be before the Creator and Judge of the world. Our national character and our moral fiber of all people determines God's blessing and protection. America has the potential to be a great and a good people but it needs a careful examination in light of the law of God. Are we really a nation under God? Is Great Britain? Is the State of Israel or Australia or Canada or any other nation on the earth? These are the biblical questions for the President, the Prime Minister and for you.
Now earlier I mentioned I would be offering you a booklet that outlines each of the Ten Commandments in an easy to understand style that explains what they would mean to your life. That booklet is The Ten Commandments and you can get a free copy of this book and I will tell you how in moment. But let me first read a small section to you to show you how this book can transform your life based on the love God has for you.
You see love is the centerpiece of God's teaching and it is at the heart of the commandments. Here is a section from the booklet:
"Jesus Christ defined the purpose of God's law as teaching us how to apply the two great principles of loving God and loving each other. He made this clear when someone asked Him, 'Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?' How did Jesus respond? '"'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind." This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets"' (Matthew 22:35-40)."
Love is the basis for God's law and God's love is the basis for His grace given to us. This booklet can show you how the law of God can transform your life into what you have always desired—a successful and a happy life free of fear and with a heart and mind open to the infinite beauty of human existence.
In North America, you can receive this free booklet by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or go online to BeyondToday.tv . If you live outside of North America, to request your free booklet please go to our website or write us a letter at the address that's on your screen.
It's also available for download electronically to your iPad, your Kindle, or your Nook. As always, all of our publications are provided free as an educational service.
When you request the booklet you will also receive a free subscription to our magazine, The Good News . Each issue of this bi-monthly magazine contains in depth articles covering Bible prophecy, Christian living, and Bible-related features. The Good News magazine gives you more information than you receive here each week on Beyond Today . You need this magazine to stay informed and also to challenge your worldview. The Good News breaks through the clutter of information today and provides a dose of spiritual reality you can't afford to be without.
In addition, I encourage you to visit our website. We are continuing to produce daily video commentaries on breaking news and important topics. Join us throughout the week for BT Daily and get additional material to help you better understand life and hear commentary and analysis on the news. We know it can make a positive difference in your life.
You know on the back of the dollar bill it says, "In God We Trust." If a nation puts on its currency the statement, "In God We Trust" and does not trust that God then how can we expect Him to offer His gracious blessing and protection? It's another biblical question for the President and for you.
We're now joined by my fellow Beyond Today hosts, Steve Myers and Gary Petty.
When we look at this matter of the Ten Commandments and these questions for the President, any world leader, and us individually and ask some of these very hard questions, it comes down to really asking and understanding what happens to a people when they don't keep the commandments of God.
[Steve] I think the challenge is if you look at history and you look at the societies that man tried to govern—are any around today of the ancient times? No. You look at the history of Israel. They didn't obey and when people don't obey what happens? The societies eventually fall apart. And so mankind doesn't know how to govern himself. That's really the plain truth of what the Bible teaches.
[Gary] What we don't want to admit Darris, as human beings, is that there are spiritual laws. Science tells us there's all kinds of physical laws. But you go jump off a ten story building, you're in trouble. You're going to hit the ground, right?—with terrible consequences. Well there are spiritual laws that are designed by God and it's how human beings are to live and it governs relationships. We break those spiritual laws and terrible things happen. So, we have to understand that the breaking of these laws have terrible consequences on any society and in individual's life.
[Darris] Each one of those is a very powerful law in and of itself. If only one of those laws were ever observed, what a dramatic impact it would have on society.
[Gary] Think about if nobody stole. Think about never having to lock your car, never have to worry about anything. It would be amazing.
[Steve] I think part of the challenge is that some of that isn't instantaneous. You know, if this particular commandment is violated it doesn't mean that a lightning bolt is going to come down and strike you instantaneously. And so I think what you see is this cumulative effect as well. And so when you look at this story of Israel in the Bible, you know there were times that things were good, when they repented and they drew closer to God. But there were other times that they violated the law of God. They worshipped pagan gods and as a cumulative effect because of doing that, they eventually went into captivity. And so the lesson is if we don't turn to God individually and as a nation we won't come to anything.
[Darris] I read a book about Bible history a few years ago and it was commenting about the Ten Commandments and the author said that really at the heart of most people is really a deep hatred for what he called "the Ten—"The Ten Commandments. Does this really demonstrate a hatred for God? Do you think?
[Steve] Well, if God says do this and we don't do it, I don't know if we at least overtly think that we're hating God or we're hating His commandments. But if you don't' do what you should do, if you don't obey when we should obey, what is that saying? It's really saying the same thing.
[Gary] Will we spit in His face but say I love you? I mean we don't realize that when God is the Creator of life how much He hates sin. And that sin is the transgression of God's law. How much He hates it. I mean He sent Jesus Christ here to die for the broken laws so to resist that is really a hatred towards God.
[Darris] Really what I was trying to get across in this program today is the fact that when you look at how God has dealt with mankind throughout the story of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, it does come down to a matter of His commandments and of His law as the basis of a relationship. And when that isn't there, then there is a broken relationship and problems, whether it's with Israel as we talked about or even on an individual level, people suffer and their lives are not happy and prosperous as a result.
I wonder what it is it will take for a nation to come to grips with this and to understand and to turn to God and understand that people have a responsibility for national security in that sense.
[Steve] Well look at what the Bible says. If we look at what the Bible says it tells us that there are difficult times ahead and when we are shook right down to our very foundation, right down to the core and we realize we are not able to fend for ourselves. We're not able to understand which way to go, when we realize we need to depend on Almighty God, when we need to listen to His Word, when we need to follow what He says, then we're going to listen. And we've got to look to God for the answers in our life. It's our only hope.
[Darris] We're not there yet are we?
[Gary] No. No. In fact what it's going to take is catastrophe, where we're stripped of everything till we get to the place where God is all we have. Then we'll turn to God, then we'll love God, then we'll learn His way.
[Darris] It's an important lesson for us to learn and we do this program today with the hope that you will turn to your Bible and begin to learn things that perhaps you've not thought about before.
So, don't forget our free offer: the booklet on the Ten Commandments, The Good News magazine. I don't think you're going to regret the time and the study you put into both of these Bible study aids along with your Bible.
Call right now: 1-888-886-8632, or go online to BeyondToday.tv and get your free booklet and your magazine subscription. And if you are watching outside of North America, please write us a letter and we'll make this available to you.
The problems that are listed by our nation's leaders as threats to national security are but symptoms of a greater problem. The nation's moral character has been crippled because it has not followed the basis of the agreement with God as outlined in Deuteronomy. This promise by God to give us national security if we follow Him, is the basis for the only valid relationship between God and any nation at any time in history. Break its terms and there are consequences. There are threats to national and personal security.
The greatest threat to America's national security is its moral and spiritual condition, all of this before God. When we violate His commandments and the terms of this agreement, there are consequences.
We are coming to a time when every nation will have to face this issue. But you and I can turn it around in our life today.
We'll be right back for a final word after this:
[Narrator] Christ came to earth with a central message of the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? Most have never heard or understood what Jesus actually taught on this subject. The United Church of God is hosting free seminars held simultaneously around the world.
[Steve] That Kingdom is coming to earth—that was the message of Jesus Christ. It's not a Kingdom that's off up there in heaven but it's a Kingdom that Christ is going to establish right here on this earth.
[Narrator] Go to KOGSeminars.org for details to find one near you. Kingdom of God Bible Seminars—giving the message of hope for tomorrow, beginning today.
[Darris] Thanks for watching today and remember to join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come" as we look Beyond Today . I'm Darris McNeely.
[Announcer] For the free literature offered on today's program, go online to BeyondToday.tv. Please join us again next week on Beyond Today!