Summary: Sermon addresses challenges Americans may face in the future. God’s blessing and preservation of Daniel during a time when the nation of Israel was experiencing judgment is examined.
Preserved by the Lord
What will our nation look like ten years from now? How will that affect you and me? How will it affect our children and grandchildren?
I heard one senator describing the significance of a trillion dollar bailout. He said, “If you began spending one million dollars everyday, you would have to go back to before Christ to spend the money and you would still have some left over.”
I doubt seriously we will spend ourselves out of trouble. That is a strange way of thinking. Try it in your own personal finances and see what happens.
I wish instead I could hear our senators calling upon the nation for prayer. I wish I could hear tears of repentance on Wall Street and in Washington. I would feel much more optimistic about the future. Solutions that don’t address the root problem, seldom prove to be real solutions.
Here’s what God told Israel as that nation was being formed. Deut 28:1-3
"Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the LORD your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God:
3 "Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country.”
Has that happened to our nation? Has God set our nation high above all nations of the earth? God has done that for America. We have been blessed in the city and in the country. The prosperity we have enjoyed has been the envy of all nations. The influence we have had, not only politically, but spiritually has been phenomenal.
But in that passage, what was the key to enjoying that blessing? Was it military might? No. Was it a better spending policy? No. The crucial criteria was this: “...if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God....” That’s the heart of the matter. That will always be the issue, whether you’re talking about a nation, a church, a family, or an individual.
Let’s see how God warned Israel about staying true to Him.
In Deut 8:18-20, God says to the new nation of Israel, “18 "And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, [that’s a good stimulus package] that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 19 Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the LORD your God, and follow other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.”
Historians who have studied the rise and fall of nations have observed 8 stages in the process. (1) From bondage to eminent spiritual faith; (2) from spiritual faith to great courage; (3) from courage to liberty; (4) from liberty to abundance; (5) from abundance to complacency; (6) from complacency to apathy; (7) from apathy to dependence; and (8) from dependence back to bondage. I wonder if we might be moving from the apathy stage to the dependence stage. It seems that the trend is to ask for bail outs rather than roll up the sleeves, make personal sacrifices, and get the job done.
If you study the history of Israel, you can see that pattern. I think that pattern is also in the history of America.
As a result of their unfaithfulness to God, the northern 10 tribes of Israel went into captivity in 722 B.C. God continued to warn the southern tribes (known as Judah). But they did not heed the warning. Right before they went into captivity the prophet, Jeremiah, gave a very specific warning.
“The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah (which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon), 2 which Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying: 3 "From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, this is the twenty-third year in which the word of the LORD has come to me; and I have spoken to you, rising early and speaking, but you have not listened. 4 And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. 5 They said,’Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. 6 Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ 7 Yet you have not listened to Me," says the LORD, "that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.