Friday, February 18, 2011

'Tis the Season for Mockery!

"You have become guilty by the blood which you have shed, and have defiled yourself with the idols which you have made. You have caused your days to draw near, and have come to the end of your years; therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all countries. Those near and those far from you will mock you as infamous and full of tumult. Look, the princes of Israel: each one has used his power to shed blood in you. In you they have made light of father and mother; in your midst they have oppressed the stranger; in you they have mistreated the fatherless and the widow. You have despised My holy things and profaned My Sabbaths....." --- Ezekiel 22:4-8

The republic of the United States has fallen upon very difficult times. Actually, this has been building up steadily since the early '60's when defiance and giving Almighty God the infamous obscene gesture became quite common occurences throughout our culture. It has been seen through the mass media, the prevailing attitudes in government and court decisions, business and corporation affairs, the entertainment industry, educational institutions, and drastic changes in the basic social building block in our culture that is known as the family.

It has been a negative toboggin slide since those years of the early '60's although there were very negative influences in active play since the early 1900's. It was within the professing Christian church at large that seeds of doubt and skepticism were being sown which would over time impact all segments of U. S. culture. The basic seed of poison was the idea that the Bible is not a totally trustworthy book and using our intelligence coupled with the ability to implement the powers of human reasoning we then could have a correct understanding and interpretation of the holy Scriptures!

Much of the skepticism centered on the Person and accomplished work of Jesus Christ. Satan is very smart and knows that if he can get us to doubt the integrity of the Scriptures with the added bonus of doubt concerning the identity of Jesus, His miracles performed, the purpose of His death, and His victorious resurrection, then he has easily won the battle. The result is a professing Christianity that is as impressive as a fish out of water and flopping helplessly around on land!

And what is God's response to this ongoing defiance that is expressed in countless ways over the decades as time marches on?

First, God will convey messages of warning through a very unpopular group of persons known as prophets. These are people who will never grace the cover of Time magazine as the "person of the year." They will never win a popularity contest. It is not uncommon for these to be ridiculed, mocked, violently persecuted, and at times put to death. Scriptures in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament confirm clearly that this is how it is now and how it was for those through whom God issued warnings and the appeal to repent and return to Him.

Second, God begins to launch a series of calamities of various kinds upon the people who have claimed to be a people "under God," but have chosen to reject His standards which make for a sane, serene, sensible, secure, and sovereign state! As these actions are taking place, it is appropriate to say, "Things are not going well for our nation, its people and their leaders, politically and religiously!"

Third, God works in an unusual way in the world with those people who claim to be His people but who abandon the standards He has put in place that distinguishes the nation as one that truly fears and respects God. God declares that He will make them a mockery in relation to the other nations of the world.

Rodney Dangerfield, the comedian, had a very familiar saying which was used repeatedly in his stand up routines -- "I get no respect!" And so God arranges through events that a nation of people will get absolutely no respect. In the past the United States was a nation highly respected throughout the world and there was a time when the flag of the U.S. was respected wherever it was flown. Perhaps the peak for this was during and at the end of WW II. Such is no longer the case. It is not that unusual any longer to see the flag torn down, trashed and burned!

Will it dawn on our elected officials and our church leaders that the pressing need at this moment in history is for our nation to truly repent of its many sins and abominations and turn back to God? And this has to be done on an individual level as well as at the corporate level? At this point in time there is no indication that repenting is an act to be taken seriously and if anything, masses feel they "haven't done anything wrong!"

Mark it down -- God has much more in His inventory of "chastising tools" -- and if that doesn't work, then He brings out another plan of action - it's called judgment! None of us will want to be anywhere within the boundaries of the 50 states that make up the republic of the United States when that happens!

And a PS - note the claim that the Creator of this mighty universe makes in regard to His authority and power to establish a nation or tear it down and bring it to nothing, depending on critical choices made by the people and their leaders -- it is detailed in Jeremiah 18. And because I am in a very good mood at the moment, I'll let you look it up and read it for yourself! Something to sleep on tonight - pleasant dreams :-)

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land." --- Daniel 9:3-6

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