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A Nation in Trouble

These are notes I found on my laptop that I felt was timely for our nation. I think these notes are from a sermon that Dennis Metzger preached at First Baptist Hamilton.

1. Solomon tells us that there is a specific characteristic that protects a nation.

In Proverbs 14:34, he wrote:

“Righteousness exalts a nation; but sin is a disgrace to any people.”

2. God is involved in the affairs of nations.

He has not just created us, and then stepped back to see what would happen as we stumble about on our own. Somehow, in a way that we may not quite understand, God is involved in this universe.

Psalm 22:28 tells us:

“For dominion belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.”

Daniel 2:21 indicates that God holds a very crucial role in the affairs of nations:

“He changes times and seasons; He sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.”

Paul reminds us that those in authority–rulers, kings, presidents, all receive their authority from God:

Romans 13:1 “…there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

So, God is involved in the affairs of the nations. He is the sovereign Lord of all there is. While God gives us individual and free will, and never violates that free will, He nevertheless works out our own choices for His total sovereignty.

3. Since this is so, Christians have a specific responsibility toward their government and leaders:

1 Peter 2:13-14 is very clear about how we are to relate to those in authority:

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.”

Time and experience has taught us to be skeptical of what we are told. And so, when Peter instructs us to “submit ourselves to every authority…” we find that very difficult…until we read again three significant words: “for the Lord’s sake…”

My guess is that this command was no less difficult in the days when Peter wrote–different time, different place, different leaders; but the same problem. How do we accomplish what God had in mind for our leaders?

In 1 Timothy 2:1 Paul exhorts Christians to do four things on behalf of our rulers:

“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone–for kings and all those in authority…

Then Paul tells us why we should pray in this manner:

“That we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Pray for our leaders. Prayer may be the only way that some things in our government will find mercy and not judgment, at the time when Christ Himself will judge the nations.

4. In Deuteronomy, Moses issues a warning to the nation of Israel as they enter the land the Lord had promised them. [8:11-20].

This is a powerful passage. It begins with a powerful warning: Beware. Beware of what? Lest you forget the Lord your God? How might we forget?

By not keeping His ordinances, commandments, statutes.

By allowing our hearts to become proud: “I’ve done all this myself. My power, my strength, my hand had gotten me all of this.
What is the result of forgetting the Lord?

Deut 8:19-20 If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. Like the nations the LORD destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the LORD your God.

God has given us the warning. But are we listening?

5. Scripture indicates that there are judgments that come upon a nation that forgets God-

Jeremiah 7:28

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.”

In Isaiah 3:1-5 there is an event in Judah’s life that should be a warning to us:

“See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah

both supply and support:

all supplies of food and all supplies of water,

the hero and warrior,

the judge and prophet,

the soothsayer and elder,

the captain of fifty and man of rank,

the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.

I will make boys their officials;

mere children will govern them.

People will oppress each other–man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable.”

In this historical judgment of the people of God:

Supply and support will be removed
All the skilled and the wise of the nation will lose their power and influence and instead will be lead by rulers who will behave like capricious children
The people will be oppressed. Rebellion will be the order of the day and the rebels will exalt themselves over those who deserve honor.
There are judgments that fall upon a people who forget their God.

6. But there is hope. Jeremiah and Jonah indicate an important principle of divine judgment and mercy:

Jeremiah 18:7-8

“If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned.”

Jonah 3:5-9

“The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.”

In this passage when Jonah warns the wicked city of Nineveh of God’s impending judgment, the people heard, took the warning to heart, and did three things:

1. They believed

2. They fasted and mourned in sackcloth and ashes

3. They repented from their wickedness and violence

And the result was remarkable [vs 10].

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”

There may still be time for us; but my guess is that time is short. When will we decide that righteousness will be our goal, and the anchor point of our national lifestyle? Why must we constantly bow to the wishes of organizations, political action committees, liberal labor unions, the ever- present entertainer who because they have performed well before the camera, believe that they have earned the right to speak on our behalf?

7. In II Chronicles 7:14, God clearly describes the way to national repentance leading to restoration. Let us look at this important passage. It is the key passage to which we often refer at a time like this:

The passage is directed to the community which places its faith in God. We are not the whole nation. But we are His people. If we do three things, God in turn will respond in three ways. If we…

1. Humble ourselves and pray–if we recognize that we are a nation who need the Lord that we cannot operate independent of Him and if we pray–humility and prayer indicate our sincerity before the Lord

2. If we seek His face–if we, as a people of God on behalf of our nation in total abandonment of our own pride and seek God and His ways

3. If we turn from our wicked ways, if we repent–change our minds concerning sin–if we do these things, God says for our nation he will do these things:

1. He will hear from heaven

2. He will forgive our sin

3. He will heal our land.

I am calling for the Christian community not only to recognize these Biblical principles but to put them to action. Too long we have said one thing–even that which we truly believe–and either by design or neglect have done nothing.

The admonition of Scripture is: “Be doers of the Word and not hearers only.” I pray that you would take these principles and stand with me as we put them into action. For the sake of our Savior our nation, our selves. [6b] It begins one person at a time.

It is when we respond in that manner that we will understand the truth of that Scripture passage on the Liberty Bell:

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.”