Summary: Our Lord shows us that he often waits for us to pray our burdens to Him, before he acts. This is what our Lord wants us to do now!
Title: Our Nation in peril, what is our recourse?
Text: Zechariah 9:1-12
Date: July 7. 2002
We all know what happened to the people of Israel when they abandoned God. God removed the hedge of protection around His people and thus allowed Israel’s neighbors to attack and persecute them. Over the course of many years, America has slowly turned away from God, and so it is easy to conclude that God might have removed His hedge of protection that was around us. As a result, this Country’s leaders have removed prayer from the schools. Some towns will not let churches do door to door ministry and most recently as we all know, a Judge in California ruled that the use of God’s name in the Pledge of Allegiance is also unconstitutional. It might not be too much longer until we find the words, “In God We Trust” removed from our currency.
It is difficult to deny that our Country is turning her back on God and as a result, I am concerned for our children and our families. If God is taken out of our Nation’s “big picture”, if churches become hindered in their mission efforts and if our children have less and less exposure to our one True God, what will become of our once Godly and Christian Nation? Will we become as lost and desolate as the Bible portrayed Israel to be over the course of their journey through the wilderness? Will God allow the enemies of His Word to utterly swoop in and devastate us even as he allowed such burdens upon the unrepentant children of Israel?
Through Scripture, we have learned that God would allow such devastation to befall his people. He did this with the hope that it would bring about a revival in their spirit. He would allow Israel’s enemies to have recourse and victory over them. God would actually use the enemies of Israel in order to bring about Judgment over His people. Our Father never delighted in sending His wrath. He just wanted His people to realize their sin, turn away from it, and turn back to Him so that He could bless them and so that they of course could see His blessings. And from time to time, Israel did just that. They saw that they could no longer trust in themselves for guidance. They remembered times past when God was in their midst and how comforting His presence was to them. As a result of that remembrance, and in true fear of God, they would turn back to Him, repent and find that God was very ready to make things right for them.
Our Country, our Christian leaders, you and I, would all do well to look upon God’s Word and especially upon Zechariah 9:1 through 12 for wisdom, direction and hope as we question the direction of our Nation. In verse one of Zechariah we read, “…For the eyes of men, especially all the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord”. This one sentence shows us the end result of repentance. This united activity of prayer and expectation gave to God the burden of His people. For the longest time, Israel’s neighbors seemed all too powerful. They seemed powerful because they were powerful! Israel’s enemies such as Tyre and Sidon built up large fortresses, they had more than enough wealth and they thought themselves to be wise enough to keep God at bay. From Israel’s point of view their enemies surrounded them on every side! It appeared to them that their enemies could not be destroyed.
Israel, trusting in her own power and strength and in truth, could not destroy her enemies. Isn’t that what seems to be going on in America today? Doesn’t it seem as if our enemy the Devil is having more and more victories? When I was a little boy, prayer in school was encouraged. Attending church was all but the norm and if anyone ever spoke up against the importance of God over our nation, they would have received instant rebuke. But now our rebuke seems almost silent. The enemies of God are all around us and they seem to be winning. It seems that there are more activities that speak out against God then there are activities that speak out in support of Him. For some, hopelessness is just a vote/opinion away.
As I mentioned earlier, when Israel recognized their hopelessness and their sin, they in turn united together in prayer and expectation and gave God their burden. And God gladly received it. He welcomed it as the proverbial Father welcomed his wayward son. When Jesus Christ was given to us as the means to take away our sins, He gladly offered himself as the Sacrifice needed to pay for the debt of our sins. Jesus took away the consequences of our sins 2000 years ago, by the shedding of His blood. And God gladly received it. God still gladly receives Jesus’ sacrifice as atonement for our sin just as our Savior gladly receives all the burdens we put upon Him all for the purpose of exchanging it with us His peace.