Summary: An Evaluation of our Nation. A consideration of where we have come from, where we are now, where we are headed as a nation. A biblical perspective.
Introduction: The eyes of the world are focused on the United States of America right now. Many Americans are living with a sense of suspense. Who will be the next president? What does the future hold for the United States of America? Today I want to look at our nation from a biblical perspective. I believe that we mirror the ancient Israelites in many ways. Lets look at where we have come from, where we are right now as a nation, and where we are headed.
The bible describes the time of the judges as a time of great confusion. It says, "In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes." This closing verse of the book of judges describes a state of moral chaos which stemmed from a lack of leadership. Sounds much like our society today. How did they get like that? How did we? It wasn't always like this.
I. THE STORY BEGINS WITH A BLESSED GENERATION
In verse 7 the bible says, "And the people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel."
The story begins with a blessed generation, the people who entered the land of promise with Joshua. They were blessed above all the other Israelites that had gone before them. Their parents wandered in the wilderness for forty years. They conquered Canaan in the power of God.
They saw "all the great works of the Lord, that he did for Israel." This was the generation that saw God miraculously part the waters of the Jordan and they passed over on dry land. This generation saw the walls of Jericho crash to the ground by the power of God. The commander of God's angelic hosts appeared to their commander before they went into battle. This generation in one battle saw God destroy more of their enemy with hail stones than they slew with the sword. It was for this generation that God caused the sun to stand still for 24 hours while they slew their enemy by the light of day. It was a blessed generation. And they served God.
It reminds me of our own nation and its beginnings. From the pilgrims who fled religious tyranny in Europe to establish communities centered upon Christ and governed by the Word of God, to our founding Fathers who fought and died to establish one nation under God, A rag tag army of farmers defeating the mighty British War machine. Many of our founding fathers were committed Christians and the ones who were not understood the importance of a Christian ethic to the success of democracy. James Madison recognized by historians as the chief architect of the Constitution said, "We've staked the whole of our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
George Washington, recognized by all as the Father of our country wrote this in his field notebook, "Direct my thoughts, words and work, wash my sins in the immaculate blood of the lamb, and purge my heart by thy Holy Spirit, Daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy Son Jesus Christ."
And God responded to the commitment of our forefathers and He richly blessed this nation with massive revivals; the first and second great awakenings, literally thousands of people saved by the power of God. He has blessed us with great men of God like George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, and Billy Graham. Preachers with power that has not been witnessed since the days of the Apostle Paul.
The word of God, the Bible has been published and distributed in this nation more widely than any other nation upon the face of the earth.
And God has used America as a great missionary center sending more missionaries to more nations than any other country in the world. Our nation has never been perfect but it has been greatly blessed.
This is where we come from. Lets Go back now to our text and focus on the Israelites. Something happened in verse 10. It says another generation rose up.
II. IT WAS THE BIRTH OF A GODLESS GENERATION
The text says in verse 10, "all that generation were gathered unto their fathers (the blessed generation died off) and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel." When it says they knew not the Lord it doesn’t mean that they didn’t know about the Lord or the things he had done for them. It means they chose not to acknowledge the Lord. They forsook him verse 12 tells us, and verse 11 says they turned to Baalim.