When I was asked to write this article, I couldn’t help but reflect upon my wonderful friends in America, who this coming month will celebrate their 239th anniversary. I love America and have been privileged to speak in so many of its cities and towns since my first North American tour nearly thirty years ago. I’ve discovered that whenever Americans approach a solemn anniversary, patriotism abounds. To share in their enthusiasm is a special feeling. And when you listen to the words of the musical composition, “God Bless America” you can truly sense why this immense land was so very, very blessed.
This is why it is so sad to witness the plight of America today. Caught in a debt vice, now eighteen trillion dollars by government, possible bankruptcy looms if the nations who hold vast amounts of paper become frightened by the danger of a falling dollar and weakening economy and refuse to participate further. Or a myriad of other things, like no-win wars; a military strung out all over the world leaving its own borders emasculated; rising crime, morality and drugs; corporate greed; terrible weather conditions; illegal immigration, and despite being among the first to rise to humane emergencies, America is subject to a growing hate by mainly non-Christian nations around the globe.
Why is this happening to America?
Let’s begin by examining the foundation in the eyes of Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian who began a study of America in 1831 and subsequently published his “Democracy in America.” I quote just three passages that appeared in a past issue of “The Pathfinder,” a publication of Christ’s Gospel Fellowship, Spokane. Tocqueville wrote:
“Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequence resulting from this new state of things.”
“I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors ….; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.”
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. The reader should look at America’s current role in world events and its relationship to Almighty God and ask themselves, “Is America still good?”
Now, let’s quickly examine what God has to say. We have to recognize that America is the great nation, the good land described in Deuteronomy 8, with all its bountiful blessings. In exchange for these blessings, God asked just two things, as recorded in verses 10 & 11. He said:
“When thou has eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he has given thee.”
Beware that thou forget not the Lord thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day.”
Then, in verses 17 & 18, He foretold what would happen and gave cautionary advice:
“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath given me this wealth.”
“But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”
The first thirteen verses of Deuteronomy 28 describe the great blessings that would accrue to Israel if they adhere to all the commandments. To a great extent early America, and for that matter, all the other Israel nations, endeavoured to observe God’s Word and were rewarded accordingly. Well, somewhere along the way America and the other Israel nations, beginning with leadership, forgot and brought on the curses described in Deuteronomy 28:16-66. A thorough reading of them should at least demonstrate the true identity of Israel.
It would be nice if some magical wand could be waved and America would revert to the goodness and the greatness that de Tocqueville recorded, but despite its still huge Christian component clinging to the foundation, since early in the twentieth century the nation and the vast majority of its leadership have been rapidly falling away from God. As Pastor Karl Schott observed in his Pathfinder article, “David, king of ancient Israel, gives us wisdom and direction when he was inspired to write: ‘The God of Israel spoke to me, He who ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.’” This is so true, but just as it is necessary for government leaders, it is equally so for economic and ecclesiastical leaders. As a once yearly visitor to America, I witnessed an accelerating falling away from the faith and the adverse effect of this is reflected in every aspect of American life, resulting in those massive problems mentioned earlier. America is at a crossroad, one branch leads to a calamitous future if the present course is maintained, the other to a return of goodness and greatness if repentance and prayer lead the way.
Can America get back on her feet without God? No! Her people must fervently pray for forgiveness. There is no other way. I would like to think this is going to happen soon. Yet, I think America has a great deal further to fall. God has it all planned out. But I do think often of those early visits to America, yet knowing that she had veered to the calamitous future at the crossroad. But, happily, all will turn out right at the end, when the good people fall to their knees and recite that glorious prayer of Hosea 6:1-2, “Come and let us return to the Lord…”
(a rewrite of a 2007 article)