Summary: What determines how great a nation becomes? Is it the character of the leaders or of the people? How do we understand the rising and falling of nations in regard to the will and purposes of God?
God And The Nations - Raising Up A Nation - Part 1
Today we will be reading from Acts 17:24-31
The United States of America.
What do we know about the USA?
We declared our independence from British rule in 1776 and thereafter won the War of Independence.
America is known as a Christian nation throughout the world.
America’s financial power is known throughout the world.
America’s military power is known throughout the world.
America is a republic where we elect politicians to represent our interests.
America has had numerous peaceful changes of government over the past 200+ years.
What is it that has made America great?
Did WE, as humans, have anything to do with America becoming a great nation or are we just a nation that the Lord Himself has raised up for His purposes for such a time as this?
Let’s read Acts 17:24-31 (prayer for help)
OK. So, let’s take another look at part of the Scripture we just read
“From one man (Adam) He (God) made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He (God) marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.”
From one man - who was that one man? Adam
Made all the nations - who made all the nations? God did.
What did God control about the nations?
- When they would take place
- Where they would be located
And back to the beginning - who made Adam? God did.
That is the testimony of Paul in Athens as he was declaring the good news about Jesus.
How about the witness of a pagan king?
(Give a little background about what Nebuchadnezzar has just been through …)
- The Lord has raised up Babylon to discipline Israel because of their wickedness and rebellion
- Nebuchadnezzar thinks he is the greatest thing to ever live on the earth
- The word “humility” is not even a part of his vocabulary
- The Lord humbles him for seven years
- Nebuchadnezzar then repents and this is his testimony!
“At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored. Then I praised the Most High; I honored and glorified Him who lives forever.
“His dominion is an eternal dominion; His kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?’
“At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before.
“Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything He does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble.”
So, we see that the Lord controls the nations of earth according to His timetable and His plans.
We also see that, “He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth.”
So, is America a dominant nation on the world stage because we have made it so or is America a dominant nation on the world stage because the Lord God has raised us up according to His plans and His purposes?
Did the Lord God raise us up because many of our founding fathers were devout Christians or did He raise us up by selecting devout Christians to be our founding fathers or for some other reason known only to Him?
Let’s take a look at some quotes from some of the founding fathers of America …
George Washington …
"While we are zealously performing the duties of good citizens and soldiers, we certainly ought not to be inattentive to the higher duties of religion. To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."
Samuel Adams (proclaiming a day of fasting)
"And as it is our duty to extend our wishes to the happiness of the great family of man, I conceive that we cannot better express ourselves than by humbly supplicating the Supreme Ruler of the world that the rod of tyrants may be broken to pieces, and the oppressed made free again; that wars may cease in all the earth, and that the confusions that are and have been among nations may be overruled by promoting and speedily bringing on that holy and happy period when the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be everywhere established, and all people everywhere willingly bow to the scepter of Him who is Prince of Peace."