Our nation has turned away from its source of strength

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It has been said that when a nation begins to decline, that morality, respect for others and virtuous living become absent or nonexistent within their population.

The nation of Israel went through this same cycle over and over again. When their situation in life worsened they would call upon their high priest to make intersession for them through sacrifice and prayer. Unfortunately, before they came to this point they would often turn their backs, falling away from the God of all creation.

It has been said that when a nation begins to decline, that morality, respect for others and virtuous living become absent or nonexistent within their population.

The nation of Israel went through this same cycle over and over again. When their situation in life worsened they would call upon their high priest to make intersession for them through sacrifice and prayer. Unfortunately, before they came to this point they would often turn their backs, falling away from the God of all creation.

Some theologians suggest that the nation of Israel can be looked at as the unfaithful wife of Jehovah. The nation, once they began to worship other gods, putting their trust in idols made of earth, wood or stone, set themselves on a path towards destruction and judgment.

Many believe America to be on the same road to destruction as we watch substance abuse, abortion as well as violent crime escalate. Basic human rights, common decency and love for one another appear to be on the decline.

At America’s roots was as a dream, a grand idea, a city set on a hill, which would give light to the entire world.  My family was part of that expedition and is representedby two separate signers on the “Mayflower Compact.” 

The “Mayflower Compact” was signed on Nov. 11, 1620 onboard the Mayflower shortly after the ship came to anchor off Provincetown Harbor.

Israel also shared America’s dream of being governed by God, a city set on a hill and a light to the entire world. Unfortunately, the nation had fallen into the same moral decline and complacency that is evident in our country today.

In Jewish history we see between the period after the Judges and before the Kings that the children of Jacob had turned from following the God of their father’s and began worshipping idols; gods of earth, wood and stone. The nation’s decline also produced immorality beyond our comprehension which included false religious practices, temple prostitution and child sacrifice. They had turned away from fellowship with God, to godless practices neglecting His presence as well as His guidance for their nation.

Within the pages of 1 Samuel 5:1-6:21 there is a story where the Israelites go into battle with the Philistines without first asking for God’s guidance. The result is their defeat as four thousand of Israel’s finest soldiers perish on the battle field. The fledgling nation’s elders discuss why the Lord allowed them to be defeated. One of the elders suggested hauling the Ark of the Covenant from Shiloh into battle with them; believing that because God’s presence was somehow contained inside the gilded box, that through this superstitious power they would be able to now conquer their enemies.

This decision not only results in their defeat with many more soldiers dying, but allows their enemy to capture the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark, which was the place where God’s Shekinah Glory would hover over the mercy seat, was now in their enemy’s hands. As with any spoils of war the victors hauled their trophy back to their capitol city, Ashdod, setting it in their temple next to their deity. Early the next morning, they discover their god lying face down on the ground before the Ark. Puzzled, they set it up again only to find, the following morning, their idol lying face down on the ground with its head and both hands broken off.

Our God has a wonderful sense of humor! Can you just imagine this picture of the Philistine’s half fish, half man god lying face down in a posture of worship directly in front of the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord? 

The “take away” is that we should only put our trust in the Lord! Praying and seeking His guidance is paramount to a healthy, successful and prosperous life. Proverbs 3:5, 6 NKJV says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

I have made this section of Old Testament scripture my personal “life verse.” If we stay close to God and allow Him to guide our lives then we will not fall into a pitfall of superstition and arrogance. It is only when we continue to trust in God, His authority as well as in His Son, Jesus, that we will prosper living in our new resurrected life. 

God, the Creator of heaven and earth, cannot be contained in a box. The world’s only true hope, our nation’s only true hope is a right relationship with our God. When we begin to make God our priority by seeking His will, His kingdom then and only then will He hear our prayers and heal our land.