November 8, 2015
This coming Wednesday we will be celebrating Veterans Day, a day that is dedicated to honoring anyone who has served in the United States military. The holiday began as a day to remember the end of World War I and was declared a holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. We as a church are proud to have several veterans in our congregation. And I am quite certain that it disturbs them greatly, and the rest of us as well, that there are rumors being widely circulated in this country, that America was not founded by Bible-believing Christians, nor originally based on Christian principles. For on the contrary, our Founding Fathers envisioned a government that would promote and encourage Christianity!
Four days before the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and 'the shot heard round the world', John Hancock (whose signature is the largest one on the Declaration of Independence) wrote a resolution for a day of fasting that included the following: "RESOLVED, That it be, and hereby is recommended to the good People of this Colony of all Denominations, that THURSDAY the Eleventh Day of May next be set apart as a Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer...to confess the sins...to implore the Forgiveness of all our Transgression...and a blessing on the Husbandry, Manufactures, and other lawful Employments of this People; and especially that the union of the American Colonies in Defense of their Rights (for hitherto we desire to thank Almighty GOD) may be preserved and confirmed....And that AMERICA may soon behold a gracious Interposition of Heaven." By Order of the [Massachusetts] Provincial Congress, John Hancock, President.
And God honored the prayers of our founding fathers. He blessed our great country and all who lived and died to establish it, defend it, and protect it. And as long as our country honors Him, He will continue to do so.
Unfortunately, there are many today that not only want to deny our roots, but completely eliminate God from all schools, businesses, public places, documents, and every area of government, federal and state. If the most extreme of them have their way, it will be criminal to even mention God, or Jesus, or the Bible, in a public place. Churches will no longer enjoy the protection and support of the government, but will be treating solely as a business, and one with little respect. Some might think it can't happen here, in America. But it can. Just look at the depth of moral decline our country has sunk to. Scripture tells us that "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34). When you were growing up, could you have even imagined the filth that is shown regularly on television today? How about school? When I grew up, my school day started with the pledge of allegiance to our flag. Prayer was still allowed in schools back then, and my high school graduation opened and closed with prayers led by the local clergy. We didn't have condom machines in the restrooms, and immoral behavior was the exception, rather than the norm. Saying the pledge of allegiance is already disapproved of in many areas.
Elementary school children are forced to watch plays that portray homosexuality as a perfectly normal and acceptable lifestyle choice. Children are taught that parents who object to homosexuality or its indoctrination in our schools are divisive, intolerant, narrow-minded, and bigoted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Approximately one-third of the entire population of the United States (110 million people) currently has a sexually transmitted disease. America has the highest divorce rate in the world by a good margin, and has the highest rate of illegal drug use on the entire planet.
I am not telling you all of this to be negative or to bash America. I was born and raised here, and I want more than anything for God to continue to bless America. But if we become complacent and comfortable and keep letting changes sneak in without doing anything about it, before you know it God will remove the hedge of protection He has put around us. We had two Old Testament readings this morning. In the first (Genesis 18:20-33), Abraham prayed for Sodom, and begged the Lord to not destroy the city, even though it had become overwhelmingly evil. God promised to spare Sodom if just 10 righteous souls still remained within its borders. Unfortunately, the number was even less than that, and you know what happened. In our second Old Testament reading (Jonah 3), the town of Nineveh repented after Jonah warned them that God would destroy them for their wickedness. And God relented and did NOT bring about their destruction. Which path will America follow?
In the Book of Nehemiah (chapter 9) when the Israelites abandoned God, and hardships came because of it, the people confessed their sin to God and prayed. God will restrain His hand for the prayers of even a few souls whose hearts are pure, and who truly love Him and this nation. So let's pray for America! I have revised a portion of those verses to fit modern America, and I ask you to pray with me now:
Lord, for many years you have been patient with America. By your Spirit you have been warning us through your prophets. Yet we pay no attention. But in your great mercy you did not put an end to us or abandon us, for you are a gracious and merciful God. Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, look upon our country and the disasters and hardships that have come upon it because of our sin. In all that has happened to us, you have remained righteous; you have acted faithfully, while we have acted wickedly. Our leaders have not kept your Word; they did not pay attention to your commands or the statutes you warned them to keep. Even as they live in our glorious country, enjoying your great goodness to them in the spacious and fertile land you gave them, they do not serve you or turn from their evil ways. Lord, we your people, beg your forgiveness. Heal our nation, Lord! Let us once again be a nation that honors you above all else. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.