Today’s reading is Deuteronomy 11:
Most of us reading this are likely from the United States. Christians in the United States often pray for those in other countries for help with basic needs of food, shelter, clean water, electricity and for peace for those who may be in areas with civil unrest and war. The United States as a nation is very blessed. It is rich with natural resources and has geography as it its friend with protections on both sides of oceans as a physical barrier against many potential enemies. God has clearly blessed the U.S. and its citizens with all we need.
A pastor I know once told a story about picking up a visiting pastor from another country at the airport. It was the first time this visiting pastor had ever been to the US. Already just driving from the airport and not even here for a few hours, the visiting pastor saw all of the surroundings and said he would pray for citizens in the U.S. The pastor from the U.S. thought it was a little strange he would say that so quickly and asked him why. He went on to explain that he thought it was likely harder for us in the U.S. to find God because we did not seem to “need” God to provide like in his home country. People in the U.S. have all of our basic needs yet and then some, as well as have luxuries everywhere.
You don’t have to look too far in the history books of the U.S. to find the founders of this country and those since have gotten a lot wrong. They made a lot of mistakes. Just within the last 160 years our country was fighting for whether Black Americans should be free and just within the last 55 years whether Black Americans should have equal rights. Women were not allowed to vote until 1920. Sad and hard to believe, isn’t it? Although the founders of our country and leaders in even more recent years were flawed in much of their thinking to say the least and did not correctly interpret and live out God’s will from his Word, the one thing they did mostly seem to get right and realize was that they needed God. They needed God to provide and realized they were sinners. Again, they needed to do a better job of getting truly to the heart of His Word and love and understanding what God thinks is right and wrong, but they did at least realize they needed God.
As I’ve quoted many times in past writings, Romans 8:1 tells us, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Most interpret this to mean that God does not punish us who believe in Jesus for our sins…He already paid that price for us. This does not mean bad things won’t happen to us and He won’t let things occur in our lives to ultimately draw us back closer to Him, but there is no punishment for our sins for those of us who follow Jesus. Also, when God lets something happen to us we think is bad and which might be a punishment, it is in fact not a punishment and may not actually be bad at all if it draws us and others back to Him. Today’s reading though offers a stark warning in Deuteronomy 11:16-17 to a nation, in this case Israel, who does not follow God and does not think it needs the one true God, Him. I don’t know about you, but this is very concerning to me as I see our nation moving further and further away from believing it needs God. As a nation, we are trying to remove God from everything to please and not offend a few who don’t believe in Him. We are also saying people are ok to do whatever makes them feel good, despite what His Word says.
So..what are we to do as Christians and followers of Jesus? It is amazing how the Word tells us that too, right? We should do exactly what he told the Israelites to do. He says in Deuteronomy 11:18-21 that we are to implant His Word in our heart and put His Word visibly around us in our homes and everywhere and teach the Word to our children. Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” We absolutely cannot rely on our public schools, media, the entertainment industry, and other people in our children’s lives who may have influence to help them understand right from wrong and God’s will. My wife and I talk more and more, almost weekly, that we must step up and take responsibility to teach them as parents and grandparents what God’s Word says. We can do so by taking them to a Bible following church and reading God’s Word together. Kids will remember more what we did, rather than what we said. We must model God’s love and will in our words and actions, and they must see us reading the Bible and in fellowship with other believers in church and small group. We must invite our neighbors and friends to church, so that they can know God’s Word and will and inspire them to head down the same path to follow God and lead their own family to Him. This effects future generations and what our country will look like 50, 100, and even 200 years from now.
This is not about politics. This is about transcending politics, serving a higher Kingdom, and loving God the way He’s called and instructed us to do in our own family and community.
Please join me in praying for our country and for us turn to Him one family at a time so that God will continue to bless our great nation like He has to this point and in the same way He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 11 if they continued to follow Him and His Word.