You know, it is easy for us to say that we trust in the Lord our God. But what do our lives say? It’s easy for us to say if God is for us then who can be against us but, what do our words and actions say?
I read prophesy, and I love the Lord. I have worn the pages of Joel out in my Bible praying those three precious chapters during this election season. But, here is the thing. Prophets served a very different role to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament – they were the “evangelist preachers” of their day. They were the ones called to declare the Word of the Lord to those who needed to turn and live by Faith in Yahweh. Their role was cautionary, exhortative and revelatory.
We can draw parallels between the history of Israel and the history of other nations in this world. America is a Gentile nation made up – like the Roman Empire – of pagans (worshipping satanic or pantheistic gods), Chrisitians (worshipping and believing in Yahweh Elohim through faith and by the grace afforded us in His Son, Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, and Jews (an increasingly growing Messianic community as well as traditional and stricter religious sects of this original Hebrew faith).
The problem with trying to call the future of a gentile nation based on the history of a Hebrew one is that the religious natures are different. Israel prostituted herself to the foreign gods of the nations surrounding her as the Prophets cry out in the Old Testament (TANAKH). The Pharisees of Jesus’ time could not see the Messiah for the dollar signs dancing in their heads and the power that they held onto with their fingertips. The Spirit of Whoredom may rest on a nation and/or individuals but it does not have to be an eternal destiny. The truth of the matter is that God knew that all the events of this nation’s history would unfold before one of them came to be – and He has a plan for it that brings good to His people (Christians and Jews alike) as well as brings Glory to His name. We have to be a people committed to glorifying the name of the One True God – Yahweh Elohim who came to us in Flesh, the Word made Flesh, who completed the nature of the Law and provided Redemption for all of mankind, Jew and Gentile alike.
Rome, the greatest and most influential sustained civilization in world history, fell because the hearts of the entire nation grew increasingly more wicked. They served pagan gods, observed the cruelest “sports” in the name of entertainment, persecuted Christians and Jews alike, mocked God, and concerned themselves only with the betterment of their own whims and desires – serving a man they could call god. Their senate ran amuck, their rulers became more and more maniacal – Nero was believed to be insane. Their society was left in ruins and the struggle for civilization and power ensued.
The crusades and barbary wars were the first where muslims and Christians went to war. The church in Rome instituted its own brand of idolatry – divining the Pope and prosecuting any who would disagree with the Papalcy as heretics and witches. Many were slaughtered and executed in the name of God and gods. Religion then was used as a weapon and a power play. The priests had the power and the people who did not adhere to a priestly word were labelled heretics or worse, enemies of the state. When England broke with the church in Rome, another great battle ensued. A battle for the Word of God to be made available in the form of a Bible to every person.
I listened recently to a recounting of the history of God’s Word coming to the printing press and the way that people who had been forbidden by order of kings and the church to do so, took their lives in their own hands to make the Bible available for the average person to read. The king of England along with the Pope in Rome greatly despised these actions – their fear, that the people would no longer adhere to their leadership.
England had a state church when the first settlers came to America. Today, that state church is in decline and the church buildings – ancient and once revered are being transformed into bars and nightclubs even as we speak.
But, back then, people of several European nations made their way across the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern coastal lands of what would later be known as The United States of America. The colonization of America led to a desire for freedom, which is at the very heart of God’s Word. These people gained enough distance from England and its king to realize that
The United States of America began as a nation devoted to God. It’s founding fathers were sold on the necessity of honoring the principles and the inherent created rights of mankind given to us by God, our Creator. They were not in favor of class warfare, religious restriction, government control and state ownership. They were interested in liberty, freedom and pursuing truth. The history books have lost sight of the fact that before African American slaves were brought to this country, indentured servants or slaves were brought over. There are differences, but the mistreatments were very much the same.
In the Bible, physical and mental slavery are the hallmarks of divine discipline. The nation of Israel was enslaved to Egypt for more than 400 years and then went into captivity to the King of Babylon which would result in another several hundred years of captivity before they were once again freed. As a matter of fact, they were freed again to live as they wished in their homeland and then the Greeks came and destroyed the temple and scattered them about. As the Greeks declined, the Mcabbees revolted and reclaimed Israel’s right to be a nation. But, when Rome came on the scene – Israel was once again under foreign rule. They were indeed part of the Roman Empire. Interestingly enough they had limited power of self-government (much like the colonists in America) and they saw themselves as free (differing from the Americans). Jesus said to them that He came to set them free and they replied that they did not need to be freed of anything because they had never been slaves to anyone and were not living as slaves then. WHAT? They had gone into captivity at least two other times and were living as “free” captives in a Roman society.
As a matter of fact, their “Jewish” King, Herod, he was really not a Jew at all. He was an Edomite, from Idumea, which became a region of Judea after the return from exile. The Edomites were descendants of Edom (Esau). Herod was a descendant of Esau. When the Edomites and the Israelites returned from exile, the Edomites were allowed to occupy a small region southwest of Jerusalem in exchange for converting to Judiasm. So in fact, that scene where Herod is mocking Jesus and turning Him over to Pilate to be executed, is the playing out of an age old generational battle between the two brothers Jacob and Esau. Herod was not even a king to rule – He had little power, just status. His power was perceived reality – not in actual reality – Rome could trump His decree at any time.
When the slaves were brought to America by slave traders, who were these people? They were heathen peoples, and not all of them were black. Now, the practice of slavery and the act of willfully selling and making property of a human being is not only dispicable in my mind, but it is an injustice that flies in the face of God and the truth of His desire to free mankind from the chains and bondage of sin. However, slavery was allowed by God to bring a people who did not serve Him into agreement with His will and His Word and redeem them from their sinful lives. Is it possible that God used slavery in this country in just that way?
Some of the greatest hymns of faith are old “negro” spirituals. Songs sung by the slaves as they worked and carried out their duties to their masters. Not all slave owners were unrighteously cruel. Some cared for their slaves, providing them with schools and educating them – and when the Emancipation Proclamation was made. Some slaves chose to stay with their masters out of love and a sense of duty… while others were given a “title deed” to their own lives and even sent off with a small amount of money to start them out.
Slaves were taught and at times forced to honor God and later carried that strong faith into their futures because when you have nothing but your faith it is what you leave behind. I must tell you that when talking to a person of African American descent – I find that if they have a strong faith – they also have a great tenacity about them. A tenacity of faith. An unquenchable, unshakeable bond of the Spirit in their lives. A legacy of faith that far exceeds the legacy of slavery that brought them here generations ago.
There is no denying the atrocious nature of slavery or the injustices that were visited upon the uneducated, and the impoverished slaves who were freed with no money and no place to go. The cruelty of some slave owners and their white foremen is unspeakable. Yet, for those early Americans, it was a way of life that came from England. Slavery in this nation occured many generations ago and carried forth a great battle for those who lived under slavery to be treated as equal citizens under the law.
However, slavery ended more than a century ago. Civil Rights laws have been on the books for some four decades – give or take a few years. Yet, people still carry the haunting and daunting weight of those chains with them now. WHY? My husband cannot get a promotion at work because he is not a black, hispanic, asian or otherwise racial minority and he is not a woman. Affirmative Action? Often women are given the supervisory positions over my husband and they do not understand the way his job works because they have never actually worked in the field, but were hired right out of college to manage the work.
Slavery is an injust, cruel and wicked tradition that is still being perpetrated on the weakest and most uneducated members of society. But, demanding entitlements and rights will not free a slave from those traps of the mind and will — even giving them rights did little to free them. They were physically free while the mental and the future effects of slavery carried in their lives long after slaves and plantations were a thing of the past. Slavery is the result of sin both on the part of those who own slaves and those who become slaves… Not because those born into slavery willfully sinned, but because from the beginning of time slavery has been a part of the consequence for Adam not choosing God in the Garden. It is a consequence just like illness, death, debauchery, mental illness and so on. The source of freedom is not the government – it is our hearts devoted to God. Where is that?
We are not a white America or a black America as President Elect Obama said, We are the United States of America. Yet, the predjudice in this nation is turning. The predjudice does not run one way any longer. There are those in the African American community who are predjudiced against those who are of Anglo descent. People of different races are spending so much time defending their own nationalities and rights that they fail to see the bigger opportunity. What kind of slavery is that? Is it freedom if we are always demanding our rights and never laying them down in favor of another’s freedom?
Many in this nation are demanding entitlements – this is not a racial issue, there are those who are white, black and brown demanding entitlement these days. Yet they are willing to do little to gain those liberties. You see, once upon a time those same entitlements were called benefits. A provision that blessed without the requirement of contribution. Now it is an entitlement, a legal right or assumed right to be blessed without the conviction to contribute. What is that about?
In America today, you are free to be anything you want to be. No matter who you are. Until someone hears you say you are a Christian, or hears you speak the name of Jesus and God. Then all of a sudden you don’t have any rights at all. He has been kicked out of our government, our schools, our homes and our communities. Why on earth would He truly bless us and give us favor, protection and prosperity when we (as a nation) deny Him at every turn?
1 Chronicles 7:14 says “If My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways and hear their prayers and heal their land.” (My Memory)
Psalm 107:10 says “He sent forth His word and Healed their land.” (My Memory)
Joel says over and over that He takes pity on His people, Heals the land and restores the favor and a double portion blessing when His people mourn over their sin, fast, pray and stand together by faith. We do no one any type of service by demanding our rights to “Free Exercise of Religion” if we do not stand across denominational lines by one faith in Jesus Christ and build a wall of prayer and hope that will restore honor, dignity and truth to this land.