God Bless America?
Really Now, Why Should He?
March 12, 2003 -- The below commentary was written some months ago following the 9-11 events. As of today the certainty of "war" with Iraq is practically guaranteed -- President Bush says we will "disarm" Saddam and the people of Iraq, in spite of reluctance of some professed "allies" to give support. Secretary Rumsfeld says we will probably have to go it alone. Debate is getting quite fierce on the issue of going to war or not going to war. While my position would probably be interpreted as "anti-war," it is more of a position of skepticism as to how we will fare in this venture and to what extent we can anticipate the approval and blessing of God as we do battle. I'm really not all that concerned about the "just war" issue, but more about what God's view of America and its actions at the present moment. After all, do we not claim to be a "nation under God?" The primary Scripture cited below indicates that obedience to God on the part of individuals and collective societies is not as optional as some would have us believe! Others would say references from an ancient book referred to as Deuteronomy has no relevance whatsoever. But do we really want to take the risk on that possibility? God in other portions of His revelation to us makes it abundantly clear that He and He alone raises up nations and tears them down -- the determining factor being one of obedience to Him and His moral laws! So I challenge you to read on and ponder an awesome question -- God bless America? Really, now what solid reasons can you give that He should, in light of the present spiritual, moral, and ethical climate?
The president usually says it at the conclusion of his addresses to the American people and often in those addresses there are statements which stress that the U.S. is a nation of "compassion" -- that we are a people who seek justice for "all persons" -- that indeed we are one nation under God as noted in our pledge of allegiance to the flag.
The resurgence of patriotism following the terrorist attacks of 01-09-11 saw a new emphasis upon singing "God Bless America" accompanied by a deluge of signs, bill boards, posters, bumper stickers, lapel pins, etc. boldly quoting the phrase. Strangely, individuals and groups who traditionally oppose any mention of God in the public arena were silent for the most part.
But, on to the question -- really, why should God bless a nation that in a crisis has made more reference to Him than it has been willing to do for decades? At the same time, the nation is in an unprecedented moral, ethical and spiritual crisis the like of which it has never before experienced in its history!
To see why the question of God blessing this nation is a valid one, read a rather long chapter from the Bible which deals specifically with conditions which a nation must meet in order to qualify for receiving the full blessings of Almighty God. In context these statements were originally made to the Israelite people. However, in larger measure, all nations come under the basic requirement of obeying God in light of His clear revelation which contains moral, ethical and spiritual standards for peace, stability and the receiving of abundant blessings. Obedience to those standards will insure the ongoing experience of being blessed while on the other hand, rejection of those standards will result in increased chaos and ultimate downfall.
At this point in time a people also have to deal with the issue of what place Jesus Christ, the living Son of God, will have in their individual as well as their corporate lives!
OK, here is Deuteronomy 28 -- the first 14 verses detail the extent of blessings and benefits which will be experienced upon the condition of obedience:Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The LORD will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you. And the LORD will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. -- Deuteronomy 28:1-14
Now notice that God takes almost 4 times as much space to graphically describe the chaos and calamity that will take place if the nation persists in massive disobedience regarding His standards:But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you: Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Cursed shall be the fruit of your body and the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. The LORD will send on you cursing, confusion, and rebuke in all that you set your hand to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken Me. The LORD will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. The LORD will strike you with consumption, with fever, with inflammation, with severe burning fever, with the sword, with scorching, and with mildew; they shall pursue you until you perish. And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies; you shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them; and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the earth. Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away. The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed. The LORD will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart. And you shall grope at noonday, as a blind man gropes in darkness; you shall not prosper in your ways; you shall be only oppressed and plundered continually, and no one shall save you. You shall betroth a wife, but another man shall lie with her; you shall build a house, but you shall not dwell in it; you shall plant a vineyard, but shall not gather its grapes. Your ox shall be slaughtered before your eyes, but you shall not eat of it; your donkey shall be violently taken away from before you, and shall not be restored to you; your sheep shall be given to your enemies, and you shall have no one to rescue them. Your sons and your daughters shall be given to another people, and your eyes shall look and fail with longing for them all day long; and there shall be no strength in your hand. A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually. So you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see. The LORD will strike you in the knees and on the legs with severe boils which cannot be healed, and from the sole of your foot to the top of your head. The LORD will bring you and the king whom you set over you to a nation which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you shall serve other gods; wood and stone. And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations where the LORD will lead you. You shall carry much seed out to the field and gather but little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant vineyards and tend them, but you shall neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. You shall have olive trees throughout all your territory, but you shall not anoint yourself with the oil; for your olives shall drop off. You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity. Locusts shall consume all your trees and the produce of your land. The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the LORD your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever. Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the LORD will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of all things; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. The LORD will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the LORD your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you. The man among you who is sensitive and very refined will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind, so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children whom he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter, her placenta which comes out from between her feet, and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of all things in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates. If you do not carefully observe all the words of this law that are written in this book, that you may fear this glorious and awesome name, THE LORD YOUR GOD, then the LORD will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues; great and prolonged plagues; and serious and prolonged sicknesses. Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you. Also every sickness and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law, will the LORD bring upon you until you are destroyed. You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God. And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known; wood and stone. And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. In the morning you shall say, 'Oh, that it were evening!' And at evening you shall say, 'Oh, that it were morning!' because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see. And the LORD will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you, 'You shall never see it again.' And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you. -- Deuteronomy 28:15-68
In conclusion consider an item that circulated on the Internet. It cites a response made by Anne Graham, daughter of Billy Graham, to a question about the events of 01-09-11. Here is the question and Ann's response:Anne Graham on Thursday, 08 Nov 2001, on the Early Show was asked by Jane Clayson, "How could God let something like this happen?" ( Terrorist attack on 09/11/01 ). And Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?"
Added to the comment above are some observations that have been circulating by email among large numbers of persons:"In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body was found recently) complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school... the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK.
Then, Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we said OK.
Then, someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued (There's a big difference between disciplining and touching, beating, smacking, humiliating, kicking, etc.) And we said, OK.
Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, OK.
Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, OK.
Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good.
And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said, OK.
And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said OK, they're entitled to their free speech.
And then the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW."
Why didn't you save the little girl killed in her classroom?
Sincerely, Concerned Student...
AND THE REPLY
Dear Concerned Student,
I am not allowed in schools.
"Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. Funny how someone can say "I believe in God" but still follow Satan who, by the way, also "believes" in God. Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged. Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.
Are you laughing? Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. Funny how I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me. Are you thinking? Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it....no one will know that you did. But, if you discard this thought process, then don't sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in!"
Again, the question -- "God bless America? Really now, why should He?"
Can you come up with better reasons as to why God should abundantly bless America than reasons as to why He should not as shown in Deuteronomy 28 from the 15th verse to the end of the chapter?
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