I was driving through a quiet neighborhood in my community today on my way to pick up my boys from a little summer camp they were doing at a friend’s house when something caught my eye…
Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes herself.
It was a one of those surreal moments that seemed almost in slow motion, and it brought tears to my eyes. It was just a normal size flag someone had mounted onto a tree in their front yard, but it wasn’t faded, torn, or tattered the way so many are. Its colors were vibrant and majestic, and the flag swayed ever so gently in the summer breeze.
As I drove the 25 miles per hour demanded on this little road, I passed by quaint houses in rows on either side of me. There was little activity going on since it was midday neither were there many other cars on the road. I began to think about the people who live in those houses. I wondered about their lives and how they had come to live in that quiet and picturesque neighborhood. And, then I began to wonder if their lives were about to change. I had an e-mail I had received earlier this week on my mind.
Here’s what the e-mail had said:
Subject: Chilling News From Ohio
Just thought I would share with you a little bit of what we heard at last night’s Republican dinner here in Crawford County, Ohio. John Kasich (running for Gov. of Ohio) was the keynote speaker. Also present were many politicians, most notably, Bob Latta, our U.S. Congressman.
Mike and I walked up to Bob and thanked him for his conservative voting record and voiced our concern about what is going on in Washington. He made some funny botox remarks about Pelosi and then agreed with us that we have every reason to be concerned. As there were others waiting to talk to him, our time was brief, but what took place later that evening should make chills run up and down everyone’s spine to hear.
The congressman had asked to speak a few words at the end of the night. Latta went up on stage and proceeded to tell the crowd how bad things really are in Washington. He said he only had a few minutes to speak, but if he could tell us even half of what the agenda is and what this administration plans to do to our country we couldn’t sleep at night. He said he only gets about 4 to 4 1/2 hours of sleep a night and worries constantly about what they want to do to this country. He said that Pelosi, Reid and Obama have to be stopped.
This was his quote, “You know, you always hear this is the most important election blah blah blah, but I am telling you people…whatever you have to do to wake people up you need to do! We have got to vote them out in 2010 or with the things they have planned for this country we won’t even be a country by 2020.”
Ten years! You could see the look of almost desperation on his face. He talked about the huge debt. He talked about how the CBO gets their “figures”. He sits on a finance committee of some sort and listens to the ramblings of Geitner and Bernanke. He said, “If you think that the Chinese won’t hold this over us with all our debt you have another thought coming. Our children will have nothing. I don’t care if you have to go out door to door, tell at least 10 people who will then tell 10 people. We have to do this. This is the single most important election ever in the history of this country. The change that Obama promised us is NOT the change people thought he meant.”
Chilling indeed. It’s all eerily reminiscent of the story in the Bible of the nation of Israel being carried off into Babylon as captives. Ever read Lamentations? It’s a book of the Bible written by Jeremiah, the weeping prophet. He wept for good reason. What he saw happen to his beloved country staggered his imagination.
Jeremiah begins lamenting over Israel like this, “How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.” (Lamentations 1:1)
The prophet mourns over his country like this, “(God) has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones; he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.” (Lamentations 3:4-6) He goes on to say in verse 17 that he has forgotten what happiness is.
“But this I call to mind,” says the prophet, “and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” (Lamentations 3:21-25)
I’m reading through the bible with Brooks and Brody this year using a daily bible that includes a reading for each day of the year. Everyday, we read something from the Old Testament, something from the New Testament, and something from the Psalms and Proverbs.
I’ve noticed a pattern. When Israel has an evil king, the whole nation, besides a few, always turns away from God, but when Israel has a good king, they turn back to God. When they are seeking God, they find Him, and He lifts them up and blesses them. But, when they turn their backs on God and begin to worship idols and worthless things, God’s favor is taken away. When God is with Israel, they win battles. When God is not with Israel, they lose and sometimes even become slaves.
We can read about one of the good kings in 2 Chronicles, Chapter 20. The king’s name is Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea.” Jehoshaphat was afraid, the bible says, so he set his face to seek the Lord. The king proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah, and all the people assembled together to seek help from the Lord.
Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, and prayed this prayer:
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and who they avoided and did not destroy—behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Then the word of the Lord came to the people and was spoken by Jahaziel who stood in the midst of the assembly, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
The king, Jehoshaphat, told all of Judah and Jerusalem, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established.” He appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.”
And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir causing them to fight against each other. When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and they were all destroyed. Not one of them had escaped.
“And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.”
Let us Americans use this model given to us by God in His word of the good king Jehoshaphat and all of Judah who set their faces to seek the Lord keeping their eyes on Him and knowing that they were powerless without His help. Let’s trust the Lord for our own salvation and give Him thanks and praise for what He will do for our nation when we believe in and honor Him.