Written by Ed Cardwell:
- “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;”
KJV Psalm 33:12
- “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
KJV Proverbs 14:34
- “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
KJV Psalm 9:17
Our nation’s leaders would be prudent to consider the timeless wisdom in these three key verses so solemnly expressed by the ancient writers of the Bible. After all, it must not be forgotten that our Founding Fathers relied heavily on God’s Word in framing the basic documents upon which this great nation was built.
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“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;”
(KJV Psalm 33:12)
At the top of this trinity of timeless axioms of Scripture is the fundamental principle of America’s greatness. These precepts should be taught throughout our education system from the nursery through college. Our sons and daughters must learn, if we are to survive as a nation for God, that the birth of America was not an aimless extension of progressive history; America was neither an oddity nor an accident. America was the fulfillment of a divine promise of blessing upon a small group of God-fearing men and women who dared to stake their entire future upon the infinite mercy, the eternal goodness, and the supreme sovereignty of Almighty God.
It should be carefully noted that in the actual Hebrew text the writer identifies clearly who the Lord is. Our translators have followed an ancient pattern of substituting the word ‘LORD’ for the actual name of God. To the people of God His name was sacred and thus they thought it blasphemy for mortals to speak His holy name.
God revealed His personal identity in Exodus 3 when He spoke with Moses at the burning bush. In response to Moses’ question regarding how he would answer the Israelites about who it was who was sending Moses to lead the people out of Egypt, God said, “I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
In English we read the name of the Lord as: ‘I AM THAT I AM’, but in Hebrew it is actually a verb which we transliterate as ‘YAHWEH’. ‘YAHWEH’ is from the verb ‘to be’ and is most difficult to translate. Some writers have said it could be translated ‘I cause Myself to be.’ But the mystery remains. No one can capture in human language the essence of God. He is beyond our grasp; we cannot find, nor can we create, a word that defines Him or delimits His infinite glory and perfection. He is the Almighty, El Shaddai, the eternal One, who inhabits eternity! (Isa 57:15)
So the Psalmist has clearly identified the source of America’s blessings. It is the Lord God, YAHWEH Himself. Not just any god; not the demon gods of the Babylonians or the Romans or the Hindus, or any of the other pantheons of false deities, past, present, or future; YAHWEH, and YAHWEH alone, is worthy of our praise and worship. He has kept His promises throughout the history of mankind. On this truth, our Founders staked the future of our nation.
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“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.”
(KJV Proverbs 14:34)
From time to time throughout the course of our history, we have learned, as the ancient people of God learned, that blessings come with responsibilities. To do right and just according to His statutes is to honor the name of the Lord, and the blessings flow in abundance. (It was said many years ago that ‘America is great because America is good’.) On the other hand, to violate His laws and to reject His precepts and judgments is to dishonor Him, and the blessings are interrupted, even halted, and severe difficulties arise. Blessings are withdrawn from people who turn away from God and begin to substitute vain and empty philosophies for Biblical principles and revealed truth. When they resort to adopting the world’s ideology, the world’s values, the world’s mentality, and the world’s attitude, then they forsake their loving Benefactor, the Source of the light of true wisdom, and darkness steals in to plunder their soul. They eventually begin to worship the creation rather than the Creator. When the curses become a present harsh reality, man is powerless to find the cause of his distress for his waywardness has blinded him.
America has had her troubled times. She is imperfect because she is made up of imperfect men and women. But because of her covenant with the God of the Bible, she has been blessed more than any nation on earth in the history of the world. People from every nation have given up everything to come to America to enjoy her freedom and abundant life. They have sacrificed all to reach our shores to partake of what America has to offer – freedom and opportunity.
However, we must acknowledge that one of the earliest and gravest sins of our past was slavery. No doubt that this was a sin of widespread greed. It resulted in more than a century of fierce debate and legal struggles and eventually ended in a civil war, a war that cost more American lives than all of the major foreign wars combined.
Sins have lasting results; some have severe consequences. As the descendants of Abraham, the father of three faiths, continue to wrestle with his sin with Hagar after more than four millennia, America continues to struggle with its shameful past more than 150 years after that war and despite many weak efforts toward reconciliation. The problem is, and has always been, the incorrigible human heart. The sin nature of the human heart is a condition that requires a divine remedy: a totally new heart from a new birth – from above! (John 3:3-8)
Many other sins have crept into the mainstream of American life: taking the life of the unborn child, and now even some of those that are born. Nothing could be more offensive to the holiness of God than the sin of killing a defenseless child. Yet it continues unabated, and many rejoice that we are so ‘progressive’.
Drugs are rampant on our streets, in our board rooms, on our campuses, and our young are driven to depression, poverty, crime, and even suicide. But the producers enjoy the benefit of financial gain and governments are joining in to wallow in the lucrative enterprise.
Sexuality and sexual behavior are beyond adequate and polite description. Our stage of immorality surpasses that of the ancient pagan world with all of its lewd, abominable vices. We are way beyond the degradation of Sodom and Gomorrah, who now pale in comparison. Yet there is no shame.
Godlessness seems to prevail now in our land, the name of our God is disgraced, and we have become a monumental reproach before the world.
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“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.”
(KJV Psalm 9:17)
This is a solemn reminder for anyone who loves America and cherishes what our country has stood for since its founding. Thomas Jefferson once wrote, “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever.”
Even as a great nation we are not exempt from the laws and the precepts of God. He created this universe and it is under His complete authority and control. No one can remove himself from this orderly design. Mankind is under the curse of his sin, and death is the ultimate consequence.
It seems, however, as if our nation as a whole, from the leaders on down, is shaking a rebellious fist in God’s face and is declaring our total independence from Him. He has been deleted from our schools, from preschool all the way through the university. He has been banned from almost every walk of life. To even mention His name is becoming an anathema. Having abandoned the Source of our true blessings, and as a natural consequence, many are lost in darkness and are traveling headlong down every conceivable ruinous path to perdition.
This once proud nation had been a radiant beacon of light to the world. We were free and prosperous and healthy because we acknowledged God as the sole benefactor of all our good. Then, as the ancient prophets wrote, we began to see our goodness as coming from ourselves, and we forgot the Lord who was the source of all blessing, and we turned to worship ‘things’ instead. We have forgotten God in our government; we have forgotten Him in our businesses and corporations; and we have forgotten Him in our conversation, and even in many of our pulpits.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote what was on the heart of the Lord after recording all similar wrongs in Israel:
“Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (KJV Jeremiah 5:9)
As long as we breathe and until the culmination of our history is played out, there is still time to repent, to turn around, and save this great heroic undertaking that has led the world in so many productive ways, spiritually and materially.
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This ‘trinity of wisdom’, which unfolds for us the blessings and the warnings, is a trustworthy theological philosophy of history. It is a blended union of a triune eternal principle that can be trusted to explain the cyclical movements of nations through time, the causes and effects, since the beginning of creation.
- God is good; He is the ultimate in good. He is a loving God who wishes all to come to repentance. That appeal has appeared throughout the Bible by design; it is hidden from no one.
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (KJV 2 Peter 3:9)
“And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him.” (KJV Isaiah 30:1)
- Righteousness begets blessing: To do right, to think right, to be right, to be merciful and to do justice exalts our God, but wickedness and rebellion are an affront to Him and to His standard of holiness.
“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” KJV Hosea 10:12
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (KJV Micah 6:8)
- Abandoning God breeds catastrophe: To treat the Creator as irrelevant is a terrible mistake with disastrous consequences. To deny His existence is to be a fool. (Psalm 14:1)
One can see what it has done to our nation. Does anyone believe that all our troubles, our difficulties, and our disorder has come out from nowhere, out of pure coincidence? By forgetting God and turning away from His laws our leaders have become ‘blind leaders of the blind.’ There is no wisdom; there are no solutions. Only lies and deceit, bitter rancor, feeble excuses, and every other evil thing that accompanies the darkness of the heart prevail, and there will be no respite. As long as our God is not part of the equation, we will flounder, groping around as the blind, having all kinds of cleverly devised and futile responses, but no healthy, permanent solutions.
The Lord Himself identified the age-old problem through His prophet Jeremiah and pronounced the indictment upon His rebellious and wayward people:
“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.” (NAS Jeremiah 2:13)
But there remains hope and a remedy:
“Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;
24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (NAS Jeremiah 9:2-24)
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May the LORD God of heaven grant us the courage to face our national dilemma that it is rooted in our apostasy, and may He open our eyes to our sinfulness that we may in humility and sincerity of heart return and seek the Lord while He may yet be found.