Is There Hope for the USA?

Opening Prayer: Father, we feel helpless to stop the spread of violence and corruption in our nation. Our government thumbs its corrupt nose at You and Your Word. Please show us what we can do to stem the tide of evil.

Let's start with a simple statement from Proverbs chapter 14, verse 34:

Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.

Nothing controversial here. Normal folks find it easy to respect people that have strong morals, integrity and good work ethics. When a particular nation or ethnic group has strong, proven character, we can dismiss the inevitable moral weaklings as exceptions.

So when and how did this proud nation of ours become so dominated by moral weaklings? Aren't Americans supposed to be peaceful and honorable, even if a little eccentric?

We can no longer pretend to be a nation of peaceful, honorable people. Our TV and newspaper headlines speak of twin epidemics: raging violence and moral apathy. Decades of Supreme Court rulings have intentionally pushed prayer and the Bible out of our schools and legalized the ritual murder of the unborn. Our Federal government has become so corrupt that our reform-minded President (as of this writing in 2017) is under nonstop attack from the "swamp" dwellers in the bureaucracy, the legislature and the news media. Even in public schools, teachers are only permitted to be "values-neutral," to avoid lawsuits from groups with notably bad values. In fact, our public schools have been so corrupted by the Common Core and CScope programs that Marxist and anti-American propaganda are taught as self-righteous truth.

This unfortunate moral chaos is proof that elected leaders without personal integrity can't pretend to have any foundation for professional ethics or integrity.

So who's responsible for this mess?

Can we blame the violence in TV and movies? Can we blame the news media? What about the Pagan Left, the Christian Right, the Muddled Middle, the illegal immigrants or the Islamic terrorists? Has some network of lawless conspirators orchestrated all this?

Actually, none of the visible culprits are to blame here. And it's irrelevant whether any conspiracies exist or not. According to Scripture, God holds His people responsible for the moral health of a nation. If you call yourself one of His people, this means you.

"Who, me? Hey, I'm one of the good guys. I don't smoke or litter or drive in the carpool lane by myself, and don't even know any Congressmen. How could I be responsible for all the bad stuff you see in the papers every day?"

The truth is that God expects His people to set the moral tone of the nation. Furthermore, He expects His people to exert this influence whether they are a powerful majority or a persecuted minority of the population.

Let's open our Bibles to the book of 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14:

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The context of this passage is important. The Lord appeared to King Solomon and spoke these words in response to the king's prayer at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Much of Solomon's prayer concerns matters specific to Israel and the Temple. However, significant portions are relevant to all people and nations.

Solomon's prayer appears in parallel accounts in two books. Our first excerpt is from 1 Kings chapter 8, verses 28-30:

28 Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You today: 29 that Your eyes may be open toward this temple night and day, toward the place of which You said, 'My name shall be there,' that You may hear the prayer which Your servant makes toward this place. 30 And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive.

The parallel account in 2 Chronicles chapter 6 has the above verses and some others that give insight, beginning with verse 24:

24 "Or if Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and return and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this temple, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to them and their fathers. 26 "When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 27 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance. 28 "When there is famine in the land, pestilence or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers; when their enemies besiege them in the land of their cities; whatever plague or whatever sickness there is; 29 whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: 30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men), 31 that they may fear You, to walk in Your ways as long as they live in the land which You gave to our fathers."

In those days, Solomon was still pretty wise. He knew the weakness of the human heart. He knew that people would sin (nothing has changed). He also knew that sin has consequences, both temporal and eternal. Solomon was too smart to stand before God and declare that he and his nation would be sinless and faithful, forever and ever, amen. Instead, he prayed for God to be gracious when God's people repented and turned their hearts back to Him.

Let's repeat the Lord's response to Solomon's prayer in 2 Chronicles 7, verse 14:

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The Lord's response gives us important guidance: