Has God turned His back on the United States? What can you do during these difficult times?
[Darris McNeely] July 4th is this week. And in case you haven't noticed in the United States, there's already been a lot of fireworks. Not talking about the neighborhood bottle rockets going off in the evening. I mean the kind involving violence, rioting, lots of mayhem. With all the language attacking America, it has taken some of the enthusiasm out of the celebrations that we always have at this time of year. I've been working on a Beyond Today program and titled "Has God Turned His Back on America?" That's a sobering question. Could it happen? Has it already happened? Here on Beyond Today, we believe that the God of the Bible brought all nations into existence according to His purpose, including America and the English speaking peoples based on the promises that He made Abraham. Those blessings were unearned. So, can a punishment be coming for failure to follow His commandments? Like you, I grieve for what I have seen happen to my country in recent times.
The America that I grew up in was a patriotic place. Each morning in my grade school I pledge the allegiance to the flag as that flag went up the pole with the notes of the "Star-Spangled Banner" playing in the background. I was taught to respect the flag, the nation, and all my fellow citizens. So, when I see scenes of violence in the streets, burning of the American flag, I grieve for my country. I love my country. I don't like everything that has happened either in recent history, or for that matter, throughout America's more than 240-year history, but it's still home. I recently read a fascinating book by social commentator Michael Medved. His book, "The American Miracle" tells how the founding of America was according to a divine plan, and that God was involved in many ways to not only provide this land, but he also guided many of the founding personalities who shaped the early history of America. When you read the story, you come away thinking, yeah, there's something special about America that cannot be denied by someone with an open mind.
Let me share a little bit of what Michael Medved writes in his book, "Since the days of the pilgrims, leaders of the new society that arose in the New World have embraced the core concept of a divinely determined destiny. For nearly 400 years, Americans nourished the notion that God maintained an intimate, protective connection to their singular nation. The founders and builders of this remarkable republic believed deeply in heavenly favor for their efforts. At the very beginning of the world-shaking of events of the American Revolution, these proud patriots affirmed the idea that a divine designer had deliberately engineered the American miracle. Foreign observers recognize that the United States as a vehicle chosen by fate for promoting goodness and human advancement far beyond its borders, and so too tens of millions of intrepid souls from every corner of the earth have staked their lives on the unshakable belief that God Himself prepared America as a land of refuge and new life. Whatever our current doubts about the nation's present and its prospects, the sense of a divinely directed destiny is never more than a generation or two in the past. Immigrants of every era have sensed something magical, preordained, and powerful in their risky journeys to the new world. For those who choose to begin again in this nation of fresh starts. America can never be an accident."
And that's the end of the quote from Medved's book. This in no way excuses America for its mistakes and its grievous sins. Its treatments of the American Indians and black slaves is not excused. Its mistake in international relations are not excused either. The teaching that America has been blessed with unique, divine blessings from the God of Abraham does not say that it is exclusively blessed, nor does it say that every citizen has been treated as equal before God. But the story of America should be understood with the added biblical dimension of God fulfilling the full physical dimension of His promise to Abraham.
And that adds meaning to all history for all people, that gives not only understanding but hope and it draws you to the deeper meaning of the truth. That God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×). God has not only fulfilled the spiritual promise, but also the physical part of the promise as well. The two are part of the one true gospel of God. The apostle Paul wrote in Galatians, and the scripture for saying that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you, all the nations shall be blessed." Yes, the promise God made to Abraham was meant to be a blessing for all the nations and the peoples of the earth. And in many ways, we see how this has and will be fulfilled. So, why would I ask, has God now turned His back on America? It's not just because of all the recent problems that we've endured. It goes deep, the decisions that have been made at the highest levels of our government, especially the Supreme Court.
Over nearly 60 years, the United States Supreme Court has made rulings impacting the nation's relationship with God and the laws of God. From the removal of prayer in public schools to legalizing abortion, from legalizing same-sex marriage to redefining the very nature of sexuality itself. The court has legislated behavior and violated the natural order of life, and discourages belief in God. And this all within a country that puts on its currency the phrase, "In God We Trust." Perhaps I should ask, has America turned its back on God?
There is an interesting story from America's founding days that occurred at the convention to write the American constitution. When that constitution was being signed on September 17th, in the year 1787, wise old Ben Franklin was present and he made an astute observation. After months of discussing, the momentous day came to sign the document, it is all there and all the delegates were gathered in the room where the deliberations had taken place.
After Franklin signed the U.S. Constitution, he sat down, he looked back toward the front of the room to the president's chair at the front of the room, and he focused on the half sun that decorated the high back of that chair. James Madison, who was the convention secretary faithfully recorded what Ben Franklin said to those delegates who were closest to him at that moment. He criticized, Franklin did, the painter's, "who had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun." Franklin went on to say, "I've often and often in the course of the session, and the vicissitudes of my hopes and fears as to his issue," looked at that sun behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun. Indeed, the sun did rise on the United States of America, and on balance it has been a good day in which the nations and the peoples of the world have benefited from America's presence.
But today, we may well ask, is the sun setting on America? No, it is not set. But the Bible shows there is coming a day of judgment and reckoning on America, and for that matter on all the nations of the world. Before that day happens, there is a time for you to understand what lies ahead for America and the world. There is time for you to see the fullness of the gospel of God and develop a deeper relationship with Him. The modern descendants of Israel will have to endure a terrible period of punishment and captivity for not repenting of their sins and taking seriously the role God has given them. The sun will set but not just yet. This is your moment to understand, to repent, and to change your life before it happens.