“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
I have been giving considerable thought about the fractured condition of our national and local communities, and whether there is a pathway that will take us out of our situation. As a nation we have demonstrated such arrogance for God’s ways, as we worship in our pantheon which includes the gods of materialism, pleasure, education, etc. What can I do?
Like many, I can easily provide an over simplified analysis of the situations; point my finger at individuals who in my assessment are contributors to the problems, and offer suggestions that will cause us to return to “normal.” However, is a return to “normal” what we really need?
My reading brought me into Isaiah and Micah, which is directed toward a people who had abandoned God, and their unique covenant calling and purpose, to indulge in practices and lifestyles of the surrounding pagan nations. They now faced strong neighboring nations who acted without mercy toward its conquests.
Israel / Judah dismissed God’s passionate love for them, ignoring His call to repent, choosing to pursue their lives of pleasure and comfort, which involved in idolatrous worship. They wanted all their “rights and benefits,” but ignored their responsibilities to their God, deliverer, protector, and provider.
They continued in their deception, believing their actions and decisions would bear no consequences. Finally God spoke through His true prophets concerning their perversion of God’s truth and ways. Micah refers to them as though who abhor justice, pervert equity, violence, accept bribes, and prophets who prophecy for money. Meanwhile, they said “is not the Lord among us? No harm can come upon us.”
Through Isaiah, God said “enough” with your passionless religious exercises. “I will not listen to your pleas; I will hide my eyes from you.” Their life was drastically changed as they were conquered by Babylon. Solomon’s Temple, which was a figure of pride for them, was destroyed.
BUT God, in the midst of the pending crisis, still offered to receive them if they would return to Him. In Jeremiah 29, God speaks of His plans for their welfare, future and hope, while telling them how to live in that foreign land and that He had not forgotten them.
The Good News! God always has a remnant that remains true to Him. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, He instructs those called by His name to humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways,. THEN He will hear from Heaven, and will forgive our sin and heal our land.
The call is to all who are called by His Name! We must lead the way for our families, church, community and nation by allowing Him to change us to be true witnesses of our King and His Kingdom. The world does not have a desire for more dead religion and empty promises: it has that in abundance, but it longs for hope and answers to their unrest. Even if they don’t recognize it, nor would they initially acknowledge it, they long to know the living God and His Kingdom.
May our lives be a clear and distinct manifestation of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven!
Pastor Allen Baun