Good morning, Mr. President! Good of you to make room for me in your busy schedule today.
I notice your days are getting hectic and crowded as the economic situation becomes more complicated. As your travel schedule increases, I understand these meetings between you and me may become less frequent. Let me spend time today answering the question you wrote to me after our last meeting.
You asked, "What would be the one thing I could do as America's president and the leader of the free world to ensure peace and prosperity?" It is a good question. It is the right question.
It echoes what King Solomon said when he became king of Israel. He said to God, "You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:7-9).
Mr. President, you are no doubt getting spiritual advice from other counselors. What I am about to tell you will not be found in their counsel. It will be hard for you to grasp and accept. But if you desire the best for the nation and its people, you will listen carefully and consider.
A form of religion
America's fundamental problem is it does not know the true God. Now, it claims to be a Christian nation. The founding fathers believed in God, the Bible and even invoked the Ten Commandments as vital for any nation to prosper. On the American currency is inscribed, "In God We Trust."
The majority faith in the land is Christianity. Forty percent of those asked claim to attend church each week, but actual attendance figures say the total is much lower. I could quote a pile of statistics to you, sir, but you already know that many claim to believe in God, religion, the Bible and many things spiritual. But it is the substance of those beliefs that we are concerned about.
When actual practices and beliefs of professing Christians are examined in the light of what the Bible says, a wide discrepancy is found. Many of their central teachings about God and Jesus Christ are not found in the Bible. The list is long and ranges from the true nature of God to the teachings of Jesus about the Kingdom of God , from the timing of Christ's birth to days on which He died and rose, from the day on which Christ worshipped to the teaching of what happens to a person at death. Confusion reigns when it comes to basic knowledge and understanding about God and His teachings.
The result of this confusion is a nation that has a form of religion but not the whole truth.
This may sound surprising. You may ask how—when all these churches do good works and proclaim God's message—it could be said that America is not following God? The answer lies deep within the story of how God works with His people.
The reforms of Asa
The Bible tells the story of a time in the nation of Judah when King Asa took the nation through a spiritual awakening and reform. The nation of Israel had been divided into two peoples, Israel and Judah. The resulting confusion impacted the spiritual life of the people, always a tenuous one since false religion continually lurked at the edges of society, seeking inroads against the true knowledge that God had placed within the laws and constitution of the land.
Asa began his reign by removing the altars to foreign gods and all the sacred high places, pillars and wooden images of idols—gods that were not the true God (2 Chronicles 14:3). He issued a decree urging the people to "seek the LORD God of their fathers, and to observe the law and the commandment" (verse 4).
It may seem strange that the king of a nation founded by God would need to be redirected toward observance of the Ten Commandments! Yet this is what we read. Judah was a nation literally "under God," and they had forgotten much and needed to be reformed. Mr. President, does this sound familiar?
But the story continues. Asa was a capable and sincere king. He cared for the quality of life among the people. He maintained a standing army to protect the borders and ensure peace. God, we are told, protected them and maintained their national sovereignty in the face of hostile neighbors (verses 11-12). Israel had made a covenant with God and even though the nation did not always faithfully follow that covenant, God always upheld His part of the agreement and faithfully protected the nation. Until the day He let them go into captivity, God was patient and merciful with the nation.
While Asa had undertaken significant reforms, he had not gone far enough. One day he was confronted with another directive from God, sent through a prophet, Azariah the son of Oded. The prophet boldly walked up to Asa and spoke these words: "Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The LORD is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law" (2 Chronicles 15:2-3).
A different god
Israel thought they worshipped God. But here the prophet said they didn't worship the true God. How could that be? Easy. Their hearts had been turned away from the true God by the idols they worshipped. The promises and enticement offered by another ideology and lifestyle led them to worship the image that represented that desire. Whether it was a ritual that promised sexual fulfillment and fertility or another god that promised personal success, people were eager to fabricate an image of that god, thus obscuring their understanding of the true God of their fathers.
That is how idolatry works. It places a veil over the eyes, the ears and the mind of man to cloud the true understanding of the true God. Whatever we as humans place in front of our eyes and worship in place of God becomes our own idol. That act renders us incapable of discerning truth in worship of God. One can profess a belief in God, but if one's actions serve another image of a substitute god, then that worship is futile.
Mr. President, America today may profess a belief in God, but in reality it worships at the altars of many different gods created in the image of the believer. Oh, most don't carve out wooden images or offer sacrifices on altars dedicated to pagan gods today. And most do not worship a god of the sun, moon and stars. People are far more sophisticated than that.
No, they worship other gods, gods of celebrity, status, power and money. People worship themselves, made in the image of God, when they spend their energies pursuing these false values. When they think they can chart their own destiny and master their own fate alone, without God in their lives, then they are just as guilty as those in the ancient world who made a god out of every force of nature.
Psalm 115 speaks of those who fashion idols of silver and gold, the work of their own hands. Idols have hands that do not work, mouths that do not speak, eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. They are inanimate forms that do nothing but distract the worshipper from the true reality of God. Here is the irony. Those who fashion these images become like them, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear; they are blind and deaf to true spirituality.
Mr. President, the people over whom you rule are in need of the true God. Not the false, lifeless image of a god that has been palmed off as the true God. The nation is in need of a true servant of God teaching the pure law of God and turning the people's hearts back to the love of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
It is this God who has stood above the nation since its founding, protecting it against all enemies and blessing it through the ages. To this God America owes all thanks for the power and wealth it has amassed. Its national greatness comes from the faithful blessing of this God, not its own might, power, wisdom or genius.
It is this God who tells you today that America has been for a long time "without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law" (2 Chronicles 15:3).
The question is, what will you do with this awareness?
You have a chance. The nation has another chance. Only God knows when He will remove His hand of blessing and allow a tide of oppression to wash over the nation, sweeping away His benefits, along with America's blessed position among the nations.
You have the opportunity to listen to the warning and foresee a time of great trouble ahead. You have a chance to lead a revival, a true change that will bring the only real hope of survival.
As the prophet said to the king in the past, "When in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them...Be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!" (2 Chronicles 15:4, 7).
Mr. President, the choice is yours. WNP