As we look at how our country is doing right now, we can’t help but wonder what went wrong. With the recent controversy over Duck Dynasty’s patriarch, Phil Robertson’s comments, it seems like it is no longer politically correct to quote the Bible about what it says about sin. Today nothing is wrong or sinful if you say it is okay. The Bible is no longer our moral compass, because we want to do what we want to do. People say, “don’t tell me what I can or can’t do.”
I don’t want to spend much time going over all the problems we’re faced with as a nation because you see and hear about them every day. The late Ruth Graham probably sums it up best with some pretty strong words, “If God doesn’t bring judgment on America soon, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
That’s a provocative statement, isn’t it? Is God upset with America? Is judgment coming soon, or has it already started? That leads to another series of questions. What can Christians do to stem the rushing tide of secularism, relativism and hedonism in our post-Christian society? How do we pray for our nation and make an impact in our culture today?
The text 2 Chronicles 7:14 is probably the best known verse in the Old Testament about revival. “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, (NIV).
There are fours things God requires of His people if we expect God to really bless America and heal our land.
The first condition is to humble ourselves. We aren’t to wait for someone else to give us humility, God says that we are to attack pride and force ourselves to be humble. God wants you to see yourself as He does. Let’s face it. It’s not easy for the average American to be humble because we are a proud people. James Hunter has said: “We Americans generally want to think of ourselves as good people. That, in many respects, is where the trouble begins.” To really humble ourselves, we must admit that we are sinners and that we can do nothing without Christ.
After humbling ourselves, we are commanded to pray. This seems a little easier than the first one because we all know how to ask God for things.
The third condition is to “seek God’s face.” The idea of seeking implies a desire for something of great value. It’s like the man seeking a pearl of great price, who having found it gives all that he has in order to purchase it. When you seek something of value, you rearrange your schedule and priorities until you find it. When we seek something, we are persistent.
The last condition is to turn from our wicked ways. This is the true test of biblical repentance. Are we willing to turn away from sin and turn toward God? This is where our “wills” must engage and take action. The order here is significant. As we humble ourselves and pray and seek God with all that we have, our hunger will be satisfied by the sight of God’s face and we will no longer want to hold on to those things that grieve our “Holy Father.”
How can we know when we are seeking God’s face? When we are willing to put the way we live on the line, to do whatever it costs us to obey God’s will. There’s really no way to soften the command to turn from our wicked ways. God accepts only one response to sin, not rationalizing, not excusing, and not comparing ourselves to others. God says that as long as we’re hanging onto that sinful practice or attitude, He can’t open up heaven and bless us.
Have you been playing around with sin? Recognize it and repent right now. Have you been running your own life and not humbly and prayerfully seeking God’s face? Surrender to Him right now.
Proverbs 14:34 says: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Before God can bless America, we need to bless God and seek His will for ourselves and our country.
pastor of Edgewood Baptist Church