Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How Rotten Can a Country Get?

King Ahab

This is from the blog Jared Byrns:
Imagine a country that was founded on the worship of the One True God and blessed by Him beyond all imagination. Imagine yourself to be a citizen of that country—one who loves that country and who loves God. Now, imagine that your country has spent the last 70 years drifting away from this godly foundation. What you see around you is that those who lead in the government, the culture, and even the religious establishment have totally forgotten their principles and the reason God put them there in the first place. As the people have wandered further from God, they have followed leaders whose hearts are far from God, and those leaders have led them still further from God in a vicious downward spiral.
The nation is now openly hostile toward God, breaking every commandment they can possibly think of and shaking their collective fist at God, defying Him to do anything about it. They are consumed by lust for power and possessions. Satanic ideas and influences are flaunted throughout society. God’s rules about sex and marriage—set up for our protection—have been thrown out the window. Self-control, once considered virtuous, is treated as an outdated notion, and people are encouraged to throw off all their restraints. The people bow down and worship trees (which they ensure are protected), while parents murder their own children because they’ve been convinced it will make their lives better.
Acts of violence have become commonplace, both against others and against oneself. The Word of Almighty God is given no credibility, while blasphemous spiritual gurus, the positions of stars, the palms of our hands, and visions seen in smoke can authoritatively show the way forward. And anyone who dares claim that God’s Word still applies to man today faces intimidation, exile, or worse.
If you think I’m writing about America, guess again. I actually wrote this while thinking about Israel (the Northern Kingdom) in the 860s BC, during the reign of King Ahab.
  • Ahab was guilty of idolatry the sin of Jeroboam (I Kings 16:31)—who set up golden calves in Bethel and Dan so the people would worship those instead of worshipping God at the Temple in Jerusalem (I Kings 12:28-30).
  • Jeroboam was said to be even more evil than any ruler before him (I Kings 14:9), but Ahab was even worse (I Kings 16:30); so much worse, in fact, that he treated Jeroboam’s sin as a trivial matter (I Kings 16:31).
  • He married a pagan princess named Jezebel, and followed in her pagan worship (I Kings 16:31).
  • He set up an altar to a demonic pagan deity called Baal (I Kings 16:32), whose worship involved ritualized prostitution, child sacrifice, unrestrained behavior, and self-mutilation.
  • He set up groves for the worship of Asherah (I Kings 16:33), whose priestesses practiced divination and fortune telling.
Into this corrupt society, God called Elijah. He sent him right into the heart of power—and the heart of darkness—Ahab’s court. God sent him with a simple point: Enough!
I presented this information at the beginning of my sermon yesterday morning; so what is the point of sharing it with my church and my readers? The point is that you weren’t totally wrong if you thought at first that this was about America: the parallels between America today and Israel 3,000 years ago are shocking. And these are worrisome times for American believers who love this country but recognize that our first loyalty is to a higher kingdom. We love our home, but fear what she is becoming.
We don’t live in a Christian nation anymore and probably haven’t for some time. But that’s no reason to lose hope and throw in the towel. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, and this is not the first time our God has faced this situation. Just as in Elijah’s day, God can and will still use people who are obedient to Him. And our job is not to force people back into some imaginary Golden Age of Christian America; our job is to call others to be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Don’t buy the lie that the darkness can overcome the light. The light wins. God can send revival to His people and awakening to the nation whenever He sees fit; and the darkness is powerless to stop it.
If Elijah has taught me anything, it’s that God’s glory shines brightest when the world looks its darkest.

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