Wednesday, November 7 4:45 a.m.
Last night when I went to bed, the news pundits had projected a winner in the election, even though many (if not most) of the votes had actually been counted. According to them, Barack Hussein Obama had been re-elected.
As I write this, I haven't checked the news, and so I don't know who won or even if there is a winner yet. Some states have mandatory recounts in the event of a close race, and last night it seemed to be a close race.
When I went to sleep, I had a peace about the election, though I was grieved about the voting. Grieved not because of the results--which were unknown, even though the pundits were elbowing small children and old ladies out of the way to be first to project a winner--but rather, I was grieved because of where we are as the most unique country in modern history.
American began as an idea and a refuge for those who only wanted freedom to worship the Lord in their own way. They wanted to experience physically the liberty given to them spiritually through Christ. So the pilgrims left Europe, a place where they were persecuted because of Who they worshiped and how they worshiped Him.
They came to North America, where they were indeed free, but the circumstances were hard. As a result of this experiment, the God-planted seeds of liberty began to grow. It grew for 168 years, and then the our new Constitution guaranteed through law the rights endowed to us by our Creator.
The Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments, began with these words: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or
prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of
speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to
assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The dream of the Pilgrims, inspired by God, was the law. All people had a place to worship freely, and had recourse against the government if it tried to interfere with that right. They established a process for elections to ensure that the people could not be ruled by a simple majority. In other words, a democracy did not protect the rights of the people--a democracy protects the whims of the of the 51% majority. That's how freedom begins to wither.
They established a representative Republic, where rights endowed by the Creator couldn't be wrested away from the people by a tyrannical government bent on its own purposes on some momentary impulse of 51% mob rule, but would instead be compelled to be deliberate. The branches of government were designed to be in conflict with each other so that too many laws restricting too many freedoms would be difficult to pass. Even the constitution itself could not be changed without a 3/4 majority approval of the people being governed.
The founders did everything within the power of man and secular government to protect the rights of individuals to live their lives in a peaceable manner. To enjoy their liberty. To worship and express themselves without interference from the government. To bring to fruition the work of God in the founding of this new and unusual country.
Unless the people themselves decided to change it. And take away their own freedom.
Over the generations since then, the fruit of that freedom--which grew from the seed of the liberty of Christ--has provided the world with a graphic portrait of the grace of God lived out in the lives of people and a country that trusted Him.
Of course, because people are involved--flawed people--America has made mistakes. No one is perfect, especially in a fallen world. But the spirit, or idea, of America is what has driven us to be the most exceptional country in modern history. None of our wars have been wars of conquest. The only ground we have asked for away from our shores is the space for cemeteries for our war dead. Our wars have been fought to protect our freedom or to provide freedom for others. We haven't been perfect in those efforts, because we are, after all, flawed people.
But over the last few decades, many of our people seem to have decided that protecting freedom is not the one of the most important ideals of America. Rather, in our quest for comfort, we have forgotten (intentionally) about the seed of our freedom so that we can "live the way we want."
I am not sure where the slide began, but there have been watershed moments that illustrated the fact that we were, as a nation, in open rebellion against the Creator who gave us our freedom. Prayer being banned in schools was one of the most overt. There have been many since then.
That societal evolution has brought us to the point that those of us who worship and honor the Creator of the universe, the heavenly Father who gave us all our freedoms, are considered radical extremists.
Which brings me back to the election yesterday. I was grieved that America and Americans had turned away from God to the point that so many millions voted for a man and a national party that has as its primary goals (as stated in their platform and borne out through their actions and campaigns) to protect the killing of our children from conception until the moment of birth and the issue of homosexual marriage.
The other party is not much different.
Today, a person of faith who believes the Bible is true and who seeks to honor and glorify God with their life probably couldn't be nominated, much less elected, to any major office. The vote last night (however it turns out, for I have still not checked the results) proves it. Neither candidate for President is a Believer, as far as I can tell.
They both say they are. One apparently has values similar to Believers. The other one does not.
I voted for the one who has values similar to mine not because I think he is a Believer, but because I think there is a SLIGHT possibility he could make it possible to stop the holocaust and practice better economic stewardship. It's a bit like having to deal with two drunks--one who believes they can continue to drink and wants the car keys, and the other, just as drunk, but realizes he probably shouldn't get behind the wheel because he is going to continue to drink. If you leave the room, the "bad" drunk could still get the keys. So you take action by making sure he doesn't get the keys, and you close the bar. That doesn't make the "good" drunk sober, but it keeps the "bad" drunk from killing someone.
I voted because Jesus instructed me to be salt and light in a fallen world. Salt affects flavor, and light illuminates the Truth. I have tried to shine the light of the Truth with my words, and my vote was the salt. He told us to be in the world, not of the world. That's just my personal conviction.
But this is the truth illustrated by this election (and no, I still don't know the results): if so many Americans have turned away from God to the point that they would vote for such a man and governing party, it doesn't matter who was eventually elected. Because it is the heart of the people that matter, and that heart is the barometer of the spiritual condition of America.
Jeremiah 29:11 is widely quoted as an assurance for Believers during elections. "For I know the plans that I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
But we often stop reading too soon. Verses 12-14 completes the Lord's message, and it is the most important part and the key to everything else:
"THEN you will call upon Me, and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you in exile."
What we miss in quoting the first part of that passage is the fact that Israel was in exile when God gave that word to Jeremiah, and that those plans He has for us come AFTER we come to Him and pray to Him; after we have searched for Him with all our heart. That's when we find Him and he brings us out of exile.
We have not gone to Him. We have turned away from Him. We have not prayed to Him (as a nation), we have made it difficult to pray publicly. So we haven't found Him, and He won't bring us out of exile to the place we were before.
If we are going to believe the message, we can't pick and choose which parts we want to believe. Either God is God or He is not.
I believe He is, and that's why we are in trouble and have been for many, many years. I believe that we are living in the times of Romans 1: 18-31. The pattern is easy to follow. (the emphasis is mine)
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
Therefore, God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and, although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
This passage came to mind last night before I went to sleep, because of the fact that our political process is a reflection of our culture, and a culture always reflects the heart of the people.
So regardless of won the election (no, still don't know), we are in perilous times. We are harvesting the fruit of our abuse and neglect of the stewardship the Lord requires of us. Whoever won did so because it was the Lord's purpose.
But I believe His purpose is to bring a proud, arrogant nation to its knees because we have turned away from Him, and He will not be mocked, and He will not share His glory. He is slow to anger, but His wrath is a terrible thing for those who do not fear Him.
It is not a time for celebration or hard work or anxiety. It is a time for all of us to be on our knees (joining those of us already there), and come to Him and pray to Him; to seek Him and to find Him. Because He loves us, and what we need more than anything is an encounter with the Living God.
Now is the time for repentance. Where will He take us if we do not?