Above the Fray (part 2)
The God of American civil life is distinct from the God revealed in the Word of God! We Americans are often guilty of creating our version of God from thin air, a God that comes from our imagination with no basis in the Word of God!
In almost every State of the Union address in recent decades the speech has ended with God Bless the United States of America! But what is meant by that? What kind of God is being appealed to? Does He have any standards with which we are expected to abide by to receive His favor and blessings? Or does He just dole out wonderfulness to anyone regardless of heart and life?
But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, (17) Seeing you hate instruction And cast My words behind you? (18) When you saw a thief, you consented with him, And have been a partaker with adulterers. (19) You give your mouth to evil, And your tongue frames deceit. (20) You sit and speak against your brother; You slander your own mother’s son. (21) These things you have done, and I kept silent; You thought that I was altogether like you; But I will rebuke you, And set them in order before your eyes (Psalm 50:16-21)
The above scripture says it all. Theologian R.C. Sproul speaks of the God of the American public as being as a “deity without sovereignty, a god without wrath, a judge without judgment, and a force without power.1”
Is the God of the American public not in many people’s eyes just a larger one like us?
When many Americans say God Bless America, it may mean so many different things. Listen to this insightful quote from Erwin Lutzer about what God Bless America may mean to a large part of the American public:
It may simply mean: Lord, I pray that you protect us; especially I pray that my family might not die; or may I live in good health, may I be able to pay my mortgage, and above all, Lord, may the stock market not fall so my retirement is secure. They implore the God who does not call upon us to forsake our cultural idols, but rather invited us to indulge ourselves. This is the God of the American flag. In contrast, the God of Moses and of the Old Testament Scriptures is the God who invites us to choose: “Choose Me and receive my blessing; disobey Me and be cursed.2”
God owes me as an American nothing. But I owe Him my ALL. God has provided for all my needs as a Christian according to His riches by Christ Jesus.
The True God of Christianity and the Bible is Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Powerful, Loving, Sincere, Trustworthy, Faithful, and HOLY!
The God of the Bible looks for heart obedience before blessing: Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: (27) the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; (28) and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known (Deuteronomy 11:26-28 -NKJV).
Jesus introduced the idea that Satan comes to steal. kill, and to destroy (John 10:10). Before Adam sinned, earth was a blessed environment of life and light. Death and darkness came with the fall of man. Is “judgment” as some mention an effect directly from the hand of an omnipotent and holy God, or could judgment be simply the effect of the violation of natural and spiritual laws that God set in motion.
Here’s an example.The law of gravity is a natural law that, if I violate by jumping out of a five story window could kill me. If I jumped and the sudden stop five stories down killed me, could I say that God directly killed me. Of course not. His indirect involvement was only in setting the law of gravity into motion.
Any nation or person for that matter that turns from light and chooses to walk in darkness will eventually lose God’s blessings and inherit the effects of darkness being allowed to govern and thrive. This just may be where America is today.
Resultingly, it will not be legislation, government, congressmen, senators, and presidents that will change the course that we are on. It will only be a revival of the heart that is preceded by repentance, and followed by obedience.
For that reason, the answer to our ills as a nation are found in Jesus’ words: But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33). As Christians it’s time for us to focus, not on politics alone, but on Jesus and His commission to us to preach the gospel to every creature. More tomorrow!
1. From Is God on America’s Side? by Erwin Lutzer (Chicago, Il: Moody Publishers, 2008) p. 12 2. (from Is God on America’s Side by Erwin Lutzer (Chicago, Il: Moody Publishers, 2008) , p. 14).