What Makes a Nation Great?

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What Makes a Nation Great?

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I love my country. But that doesn’t mean I’m not embarrassed by it at times.

Recent years have been particularly shameful as the U.S. government has heavy-handedly tried to force other nations to change their laws to accept and even promote the homosexual and transgender agenda. American embassies and diplomats overseas were co-opted and used as pawns to advance an anti-biblical, ungodly agenda—essentially forcing our own sin in this regard on others who wanted no part of it.

“We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God … we have become too selfsufficient … , too proud to pray to the God that made us.” — Abraham Lincoln

Meanwhile, the full weight of the federal government was brought to bear against U.S. schools that refused to open up restrooms, dressing rooms and locker rooms to confused boys who thought they were girls and girls who thought they were boys. This was thankfully reversed recently.

On the religious freedom front, no wedding photographer, cake baker, florist or wedding-venue operator was safe from being sued out of business  for exercising their constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion, freedom of association and freedom of expression by declining to participate in homosexual weddings. Government officials and agencies were often eager participants in these anti-freedom, anti-religious onslaughts against American citizens.

The country I grew up in is getting harder and harder to recognize. More and more I can identify with the biblical prophet Jeremiah, called “the weeping prophet” because he shed tears over the sins and deplorable spiritual condition of his nation and the consequences of rejecting God.

How does God view such things? This is the perspective we provide in each issue of Beyond Today magazine and each Beyond Today television program. Often these views—like those expressed above—are not politically correct. And we get our share of cancellations and hate mail as a result. But we must remain more concerned with what God thinks than what people think (Ephesians 6:6 Ephesians 6:6Not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
American King James Version×
).

What would He say about the state of the nation?

“Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people,” wrote Solomon under God’s inspiration (Proverbs 14:34 Proverbs 14:34Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation, emphasis added throughout).

America has been exalted and blessed beyond measure, for reasons explained in the lead article in this issue. But can America remain great? Several chapters in the Bible, notably Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26, describe the blessings that come on a nation for obedience to God and the curses that result from disobedience.

There was a time when national leaders were familiar with God’s Word and understood this. For example, in March 1863 U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day” in which he urged the nation to repent and turn to God.

His words are strikingly appropriate for our day: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God . . .

“We have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient . . . , too proud to pray to the God that made us. It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”

President Lincoln felt a deep responsibility to declare God’s truth to his country. So do we at Beyond Today. For that reason we look beneath the surface to see the news behind the news—the factors that are profoundly affecting the nations of the world.

God’s inspired Word contains many prophecies describing the direction the world is headed and why. Most revolve around the basic truth mentioned above— “Godliness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

Will America remain great? Look around you. Read the articles in this issue and ask how these things apply to you. And ponder Abraham Lincoln’s warning to humble ourselves, confess our sins and pray for forgiveness— before it’s too late.