Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Judgement - November 10th, 2008

1 Kings 8:23-51 - “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below - you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way…give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, O LORD my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day…Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive…Judge between your servants, condemning the guilty and bringing down on his own head what he has done. Declare the innocent not guilty, and so establish his innocence. When your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they have sinned against you, and when they turn back to you and confess your name, praying and making supplication to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people…When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and confess your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them the right way to live, and send rain on the land you gave your people for an inheritance. When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by any of your people Israel - each one aware of the afflictions of his own heart…then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act…As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name…then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you…When your people go to war against their enemies, wherever you send them, and when they pray to the LORD…then hear from heaven their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. When they sin against you - for there is no one who does not sin - and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy…and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you…and say, ‘We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly’; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul…and pray to you…then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you…for they are your people and your inheritance.” That’s just an abbreviation of that passage - read the whole thing if you get a chance. As I’ve been sitting here praying and spending time in the Word this morning I have a very heavy heart realizing the judgement which is inevitable for this country I love. We have sinned. Our nation is mired in moral depravity unparalleled in human history; 50 million babies have been murdered in the last 35 years, sexual experimentation has not only been tolerated but encouraged, selfishness and the pursuit of pleasure, at the expense of so many needy, has been our ambition and we’ve neglected to remember the poor and needy as God desires; godlessness has become the standard and righteousness taboo and what is truly shocking is that all this has happened because the Body of Christ has not only been passively apathetic about taking a stand but we have actively participated in these sins, becoming accomplices and catalysts to the degradation of this society; we’ve been too much a part of the problem and too rarely a part of the solution. It is with this understanding that I realize God’s judgement is coming. All the issues Solomon describes in this passage are present in our society today - injustice, oppression of the innocent (ex. abortion), economic chaos, disaster, disease, attacks (ex. terrorism), immigration and war - and it was less than 50 years after Solomon prayed this that Shishak, King of Egypt, decimated Jerusalem and the demise of Israel began. We would be lucky and blessed to make it 50 more years without a similar fate. Our country stands at a similar crossroads between good and evil, life and death, a blessing or a curse. We, His Body, have become so lethargic and spiritually dead that we have invited this judgement upon ourselves and our country. We can no longer point the finger at everyone we disagree with politically while refusing ourselves, to walk close to our God. My prayer this morning, like Solomon’s, is that we would turn back to God with all our heart and soul and pray to Him, with a broken and repentant heart, seeking His forgiveness (1 Peter 4:17), realizing we have sinned, done wrong and acted wickedly, finally acknowledging that we are the problem and He is the solution. It is only then, that we will be able to experience His mercy and forgiveness. That, though, is my hope, the promise that if we will continue wholeheartedly in His way, He will keep His covenant of love with us. God have mercy on us, forgive us, restore us and revive us; God heal our land (2 Chr.7:14).

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