A TIME FOR SORROW AND REPENTANCE
Chaos is the state of total confusion. Creation is God bringing order out of chaos. I wonder often what it must have been like in a pristine world that was created and in perfect order. I will never know in this life. Chaos is the very nature of sin. It brings disorder out of order. It destroys rather than creates. Chaos is the enemy of joy and peace and order.
There are ways to keep chaos in check. Religion, particularly Christianity has the means to hold back the darkness if, and this is a big if, the believers would only practice Christianity. I know that we were not founded as a constitutionally Christian nation. And everyone should know that Evangelical Christians are not interested in establishing a theocracy. The is an accusation from the looney left. But the fact is, our nation was established on Judeo-Christian values. This includes the idea of the rule of law, morality, basic human value, and even the ability of humans to rule themselves by means of a lawful government based on the value that God, our maker gives us certain inalienable rights. Even the non-Christian founders believed in these values. Jefferson was a Deist, an anti-Trinitarian, yet he held to these values and even attended church.
Our nation is descending into chaos. We are entering into a state of total confusion, a state of anarchy. We are segregating ourselves by race, ethnicity, class, religion, sex, age, subcultures, politics, music, food, computers, smartphones, etc. Just today I read that two “friends” got into a fight and stabbed each other over which phone was better, Android, or iPhone. We are becoming a nation of gangs, tribes, clans, and war councils. Each group hates the other groups. Try participating on an internet forum, even Christian ones, and see what happens. Want to be embarrassed of your fellow countrymen, read the comments on news articles. We have become a collection of shameful societies.
What is missing and what used to hold us together is a moral foundation that added order and, can I say it, common sense, to the nation. As we gained prosperity in the U.S., we neglected the moral character of the nation. We attended church every now and then, Christmas and Easter. We decided that spending our wealth was more important that worship. Who wants to sit under the judgmental preaching of some uneducated preacher (most hold more degrees than the average citizen) or sing outdated, boring hymns or meaningless little choruses? But when we remove ourselves from the hearing of the Word and the hymns of the faith, we easily forget who we are. Even if you are not a believer you benefit from hearing what God says about things. But, today you may not hear that because ministers are often more concerned about being funny or popular or, (my favorite) relevant as if God’s word could ever be irrelevant. If you listen to denominational leaders, all you hear are worldly promises which are never empowered by God but by the charismatic nature of the speaker.
Sometimes I wonder if the words of the prophet Amos have been pronounced over us: “Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge, O house of Israel: She has fallen, she will not rise again– The virgin Israel. She lies neglected on her land; There is none to raise her up.” (Amo 5:1-2 NASB) I’m not trying to be a pessimist but real. We neglect the simple things of God and look what has happened to us. Have you noticed how course TV advertisements are, saying things in public that most of us still are uncomfortable saying in private? I see so many ads for whiskey and other alcohol products that it amazes me. It looks like so much fun to drink hard cider. I don’t have a particular problem with alcohol, but from the ads you think we have become a party nation, and a nation of drunks. You cannot have fun if you are not at a raging party with a drink in your hand. I think that soon marijuana ads will be doing the same.
We seem to be a nation partying like the end is near and God is going to lose. On the other, we are becoming a violent and vulgar nation. Look at the rape and murders that have taken place in Panama City during spring break. We have so much to be proud of. A student accused a teacher of slapping her. The student’s parents marched into the school and knocked the teacher out without an ounce of effort to see if it was true. But, students have become uncontrollable.
In the city where I was born, Memphis, a black man helped an elderly white woman to her car because she was afraid of all the teenagers who were swarming the quick stop where she bought gas. This was a great example of kindness. But the man was attacked by dozens of youth and beaten. I have no idea why. The man tried to move away from the woman he helped and from his car where his family was trying to protect them. He was carrying a gun but decided not to use it, how could he live with killing a kid for doing something stupid? He is a great man and a hero as far as I am concerned. But why do we live in a world where teenagers are so chaotic, so immoral, with absolutely no impulse control? How does a sweet beauty baby become such a monster in a few, short years? The answer resides in the chaotic nation where they are born and most of all, parents who are just as evil, that is, if there are parents around at all.
Unless God intervenes, unless a great awakening comes, those words will be true, “She has fallen, she will not rise again.” I think it is time for national sorrow and repentance. I really don’t want to see some wild preacher screeching and slobbering some kind of prayer or admonition to the nation. No one has the right to scream out judgment because we all have been judged; preachers and pastors and religious leaders; deacons and Sunday School teachers, and church members and non church members; politicians and voters and teachers and lawyers and professors, and carpenters and plumbers and auto mechanics. All of us are judged and this crashing society scarred by death and degeneration and crudeness is evidence of the judgment against us.
It is a time for sorrow. When Jonah preached to the people of Nineveh, a few interesting things were revealed. The people of Nineveh were not the people of God like Israel was. But God was concerned with their moral life and judged them. God concerned himself with our moral and ethical behavior even if we don’t believe in God at all. And he has every right to judge us. But when Jonah preached to them the judgment of God, from the king on down, the stopped what they were doing and entered a time of sorrow and repentance. The tore their clothes and covered themselves in ashes, which was the ritual for sorrow and repentance in those days, and they said perhaps God would hear them and relent in his judgment. They had no expectation that God would, but they hoped that God would show them mercy. What was God’s response to true repentance? “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” (Jon 3:10 ESV)
It is time for a solemn, sorrowful state for our nation. Even if just the churches would enter into this kind of time, maybe God would relent in the judgment that is coming.