30 Jun 6-30-2012 – “A Fourth of July Wake-up Call” – Pastor Shane Idleman
“We have forgotten God, and 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” (Abraham Lincoln).
Over the last few decades, Americans have seen the destruction of the institution of marriage between a man and a woman, the removal of God’s Word in several areas, and the aborting of millions of babies. Ironically, many of the men and women who died for our freedoms did not die for what we are becoming today. They understood sacrifice—duty to Country was duty to God. Many gave their lives in order that we would be “one nation under God,” not above God.
A Fifth Division graveyard sign in Iwo Jima, Japan, states it well: “When you go home, tell them for us and say, ‘For your tomorrows we gave our today.’” What a travesty when we fail to honor those who gave their lives for the freedoms we now enjoy. This Fourth of July, let’s remember those who gave their lives and those who continue to defend our freedoms.
In the words of Father O’Brien who served in World War II: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.” O’Brien continues: “It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
Let’s be very clear on this: “A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both” (Dwight D. Eisenhower). Historically and biblically, we know that God judged those nations who continually tolerated sin; wrong choices had devastating consequences. Arnold Toynbee, who completed A Study of History in 1961, said: “Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.” And that was a quote from the 1960s.
Historians realize that a republican democracy, like ours in America, cannot last forever. Eventually, there is a collapse due to moral decay and financial irresponsibility—liberty often leads to abundance; abundance to complacency; complacency to apathy; apathy to a loss of freedom. Based on this, where are we today? Unfortunately, countless people are confusing God’s patience with His approval. “Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever” (Thomas Jefferson).
America has been desensitized one generation at a time, one court decision at a time, one compromise at a time, and we are drowning in a cesspool of relativism. “The wicked freely parade and prance about while evil is praised throughout the land” (Psalm 12:8).
There are times to encourage, motivate, and uplift, but there are also times to confront, challenge, and contend for what is right—that time is now! We are experiencing the rapid deterioration of a nation right before our eyes. This is not the time for passivity, but for prayer.
We’ve heard these questions before, and we will hear them again: If not now, when? If not here, where? If not us, who? God said that He looked for a man from among the leaders who would build a wall and stand in the gap before Him on behalf of the land that He might not destroy it, but He found no one (Ezekiel 22:30). This was true in Ezekiel’s day, and it’s true today. We are sinking one step at a time, but God is still looking for good men and women to do what is right.
For those who say, “I don’t want to get involved,” we must remember that we’re already involved—by saying nothing we say something. Our government is a government of the people, by the people, for the people. This means that a believer should be involved in running for office, voting, and/or monitoring those in office to assure that they perform their duties. The welfare of society often falls in the hands of the Christian community.
For those who believe we should remain passive and silent, I challenge you to read the writings of the Old Testament prophets. They lamented, shed tears, and pleaded with the people and the leaders to turn from their sins and to turn back to God—they spoke the truth in love. Even Jesus wept for Jerusalem when He saw that her destruction was near.
I’ll conclude with the words from John Winthrop (1588-1649)—an English Puritan and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, “We shall be a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us; so that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword through the world.”
We are witnessing the rapid deterioration of a nation right before our eyes. But there is hope: 2 Chronicles 7:14 calls out from the past with resounding clarity to America today: If My people will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their land. Without question, repentance, prayer, and humility before God is our only hope.