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Pastor Jim Luthy
Is God ignoring our nation? The evidence might make us wonder if the God of all creation has forgotten us.
I offer our environment as evidence. We in the church like to call it creation, giving God glory for it, but also leaving him responsible for it as well. We don’t tend to care much about it, even though God has given us dominion over it. Those who do care tend to turn creation into something to be worshipped itself, worshipping created things rather than the Creator.
The tension between consumption and conservation is at an extreme high, mostly because our land is not healthy. In the Northwest, we are in the midst of an incredible drought, pitting the livelihood of farmers against the survival of a sucker fish. Our recent heat wave claimed several lives, including a well known professional football player. With energy supplies giving in, the debate over whether to drill for oil in pristine areas of Alaska is also heating up.
Our current environmental crisis is not simply an idealogical issue. It is not just a political issue or a social issue. If we understand that God created man and told him "to work it and take care of it," then we might also understand that when the environment is out of whack it serves as an indicator of spiritual disconnectedness. It is like the engine light on your car, warning you that something is wrong. And when that light comes on, we go to an authoritative source, like the car dealer, to ascertain what the problem might be.
For us, I think the answer can be found in Hosea. Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land: "There is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgent of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. Because of this, the land mourns (can you say Klamath Basin?), and all who live in it waste away; the beasts of the field (buffalo?) and the birds of the air (spotted owls?) and the fish of the sea (salmon?) are dying. (Hosea 4:1-2)
The God who does not change brought word through Hosea that the land of Israel was suffering because there was no faithfulness, no love, and no acknowledgment of God in the land. Instead there was violence, much like what we see on the evening news. And as this unfaithfulness continued, the land began to suffer.
I want to tell you that this is the same God who presides over our nation today. He doesn’t change. Could it be that our current tensions over the environment would be much better addressed spiritually than politically? Our nation’s greatest need is not more regulations and more money but a return to God in faithfulness, and in love, and in worship—acknowledging him as Lord over all creation. Most of the blame that occurs in our environmental debate seems to be directed either at the large corporations or the environmental activists. But let’s not be too quick to point fingers at those who are not in the church.
After Hosea’s charge against the land, he issued a charge against the prophets and priests of Israel. He began by saying, "Let no man bring a charge, let no man accuse another." In other words, nobody could come and point fingers as though he or she were innocent. He continued, "for your
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