I was working on my final sermon of the year for December 29. The passage of Scripture I chose was from 1 Samuel. As a prophet of God Samuel was a unique character. He was a transition figure in the history of Israel. He was the last of the Judges, and the first of the Major Prophets. But what set him apart was his role in representing God in anointing the first two kings to rule Israel: Saul and David.
The following paragraph is part of Samuel’s farewell speech to the people of Israel from chapter 12.
“Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the Lord has set a king over you. If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good! But if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.”
This got me to thinking. The United States came into being because a group of Christians from England longed to be free to worship God in their own way. One hundred and fifty years later the Founding Fathers of our nation won an unlikely war against the most powerful army in that day. And the leader, I believe, was a man of God’s choosing: George Washington. If you want your heart stirred, and your appreciation for our beloved country renewed, just read any of the innumerable books that have been written about this exceptional man. Washington was a man of deep faith, who knew that if this rag-tagged band of farmers and merchants, known as the “Minute Men,” had any chance of defeating the superbly trained British Army, God was going to have to perform some miracles. And that’s just what God did.
Over the 237 years of our nation’s history we have enjoyed the blessings of a republic, allowing us to vote into office those who would represent us in the halls of government. Early on the majority of those serving as our representatives were strong believers in Jesus Christ as their Savior. The laws they enacted, along with the formation of the Constitution, laid the foundation for the path our nation would pursue. These laws reflected their faith in God and His Word, the Bible.
Even the travesty of slavery had its death knell written in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. “All men are created equal” was the first shot fired across the bow of slavery.
What has happened over the years is a gradual shift away from faith in God as the provider of the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as Americans, only to be replaced by an ill-placed faith in men who have served as president of our country. The thinking goes something like this: Regardless of political persuasion, the next election always offers hope in bringing about the necessary changes in leadership so your guy and your party will either retain or regain control. So let me ask you: Where is God in the midst of all this political shuffling for ascendency and power?
We would do well to look closely at the words offered by the prophet Samuel. “If you fear the Lord and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the Lord your God—good!”
These words could well apply to us today. We need to look to the Lord God for salvation, courage and strength. And we need to elect those who know God personally and will do what he says based upon the Bible. God is under no obligation to bless any one person or us as a nation if we do not willingly walk with him. And if we continue to elect presidents and other officials to office who do not honor God with their lives, then we will continue to get the mess we find ourselves in at present.
So, what’ll it be? A heart dedicated to God, trusting in the One who made us and loves us? Or the path of self-determination where man sets his own agenda for the course of the world?
Have you ever asked yourself why earlier times in our nation were so different? Why you could leave your doors unlocked? Why a person’s word on a matter was his bond?
When Christ is invited into your heart you are a new person. You want to walk the way Jesus walked, and be like Him in every way. America used to be like that. People respected the rights and properties of others.
It can happen again. It begins with you. Give Jesus your heart today! What a great way to begin the New Year!