God’s Glory in the Land
I love our country. Generations of my family have fought for her, worked for her, struggled to make ends meet in her. I love this land. But, I believe that there is something dreadfully wrong with her. There is a sickness that runs through her veins that will not be easily cured. This sickness will not be cured through political action, through education, through moral reformation. The illness runs to deep for topical treatments—the cancer must be cut off at its source: the human heart.
It is crucial for me to tell you something else about this land—it is not the promised land of God. America has never been, indeed never will be, the chosen people of God in the same sense that Israel knew the title. That is not to say that God has not richly blessed this land, I believe that he has—and longs to do so again. Still, search as diligently as you may, you will not find America in the canon of Scripture that we call the Bible. Try as you may, you cannot legitimately turn passages of promise to Israel into promises for the United States.
However, living within the borders of this great country is a company of people who do deserve the title of God’s chosen. Living and walking among us is a mass of people who have been called out by God. Living among us is a group for whom the promises of God are alive and vital. That group—the people of God, the church, the body of Christ. And it is within this group of people that I believe we will find a cure for the illness that plagues our land. For, when the church of the living God is rightly walking with her God, this country will benefit, lives will be changed, and the glory of God will dwell in our land.
I. God’s glory will dwell in the land when his people will truly listen to his voice.
A. We must be willing to hear what God is saying to us.
1. The psalmist declared his readiness to hear the words of peace God was bringing to his people.
2. We, too, must be ready to hear God— if we want to be the people we are meant to be: even if what he says is not what we want to hear.
B. To hear God, we must be available to him.
1. Through public worship—gathering together to sing his praises and to hear his demands.
2. Through private devotion—spending time within his Word, praying to him, listening to the still small voice.
C. Then, when we do hear, we must follow through with obedience—or else, we really haven’t listened to him at all.
II. God’s glory will dwell in the land when his people live in fear of the Lord.
A. We must regain a sense of reverence in our lives—we have grown overly familiar with the Almighty.
B. That reverence comes when we truly encounter the Lord.
1. You cannot “stir up” reverence on your own—I’m not talking about a spiritual “pep rally.”
2. Reverence comes when we realize we are in the presence of the Mighty God: a God of grace and holiness, love and wrath.
3. Reverence comes when we are open to God’s presence in worship—we sing “open our eyes, Lord”—if we mean it, and God does open our eyes, reverence will be ours.
C. When we finally realize that worship is not a game to be played, but a life to be lived, then, we will know what the fear of the Lord truly is— Our God Is an Awesome God!
III. God’s glory will dwell in the land when his people walk in the path his righteousness makes.
A. It does us no good to hear the Lord, to have an experience with him, if we forget it all when it comes to our daily living.
B. God has a path he wants us to follow, a life he wants us to live.
1. It is a path of righteousness—doing what it right in this world.
2. It is a path of holiness—living as aliens and strangers in this land—different because we have been touched by God.
3. It is a path of surrender—it’s motto is “not my will, but yours be done, Lord.”
General William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, was asked the secret of his amazing Christian life. Booth answered, “I told the Lord that he could have all that there is of William Booth.”
C. When we, the people of God, are traveling the path God has set for us, others will follow, and an awakening can come to this land that we love.
Do you want to see this land healed? Do you want to see love instead of hate, peace instead of turmoil, hope instead of despair? If so, the healing must begin here, in our hearts. We must begin to truly listen to the Lord, even when he tells us things we’d rather not hear. We need to recapture reverence in our lives, remembering that God is a holy God who calls for holiness in our lives. We must follow him completely, and quit playing games. The glory of God can dwell in our midst. If our hearts are open to his touch. Surrender your life into his hands today. In this place, at this moment, let the healing of our land begin. May the glory of the Lord fill this place today.