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Thursday, August 11, 2011

So... you want to go back to Egypt???

  In the 17th century a small band of people huddled into a cargo ship bound for an unknown land- yes, unknown, but it promised freedom.  They were running away from religious tyranny- slavery, bondage.  King James severely punished anyone who would dare to believe in God any differently than his own sick and twisted Catholic views.
  So a small secret church formed.  They met until it was unsafe to meet any longer in England.  They moved to Holland and lived there enjoying religious freedom. Soon, after 12 years, the “Separatists” as they were called, began to fear for their children's heritage.  Would they forget their mother tongue- English?  Being around the Dutch children so much they had begun to be majorly influenced by them.  That was one of the major points that drove the pilgrims to leave Holland and set out for the unknown land- America. 
  The journey was hard, the sea was rough, and space was cramped (I would love to go into more detail on this but your attention span warrants that I move on...) but the pilgrims made it to America- in the dead of winter. Now you know the rest of the story- of the first Thanksgiving that took place that next year after the harsh winter.  
  So let's move forward about 100 or so years. Ah, you know the time- 1770s the American Revolution.  Don't you remember learning about all of the brave generals and soldiers that fought for our freedom? Your freedom here in America was bought with a great price- blood.  The winters were tough- the air was cold, the food was short, diseases thrived.  Our men were not professional soldiers as were the British, but were common people- farmers, blacksmiths, doctors...  giving up pay for several years to fight for freedom- that of their own, that of their children, and that of you.  The odds were stacked so far against them; one would wonder how they survived much less how they won the war.
  I believe that God had His hand on this nation from the beginning.   

  From when Christopher Columbus- “Christ Bearer” set his foot on our soil believing it to be India to now, I believe that God is holding this nation together.  When His people, His children adopted into His family by the blood of His Son, were in distress, unable to praise His name as they believed that He told them to, He delivered them out of their bondage, fought the battles for them, and gave them a desirable and fruitful land as an inheritance.  Have we all forgotten?  Have we forgotten the mighty hand and outstretched arm that delivered us?  We aren't the only ones.
  Several thousand years before 1776 God's chosen people, Israel, were in bondage in the land of Egypt.  They were slaves to Pharaoh, unable to leave.  They grew to so many that Pharaoh declared for all of the baby boys to be thrown into the river- to drown.  They cried out to the Lord for deliverance.  And He heard.  He sent Moses to set His people free, to smite Egypt with wonders- to reveal the power of the Lord God.  Finally, they were permitted to go.  After 430 years of bondage, Israel was free. 
  God led them by a cloud through the wilderness as they made their way to the Promised Land. Soon, the road got tough.  The children of Israel complained- they were thirsty, they were hungry.  “Would that we were back in Egypt!”  they cried out.  Then the Lord provided drink.  He provided food.  But after being temporarily satisfied (they got sick of the food that He provided) they again cried out- “Would that we were back in Egypt!”
  What does that have to do with us?  I'll tell you.  Back at the revolutionary war, we fought for liberty- freedom.  Freedom. Freedom of religion.  Freedom of speech.  Blood was shed for this cause.  Lives were spent.  People sacrificed their money, their time, themselves. For this cause:  freedom. God moved in a mighty way to deliver us from the bondage of England.  From having to serve a human king (“No King but Jesus” was a motto of John Hancock and John Adams) from having to keep quiet about what we believe to be true. What happened?  250+ years ago we cried out for freedom to govern ourselves. 
  Now, we cry out for the government to take care of us.  We don't mention the name of Jesus publicly because we are afraid of offending someone. We aren't allowed to speak out against people because it would be a “hate crime” (Freedom of speech?)  The cross has become offensive, the Ten Commandments are banned from the walls of public schools (They might convict somebody or something like that). We don't pray in public schools- we aren't allowed. (Freedom of religion?) We murder innocent babies on the altar of self but we call it “abortion” or a “medical procedure” and squabble over the fact of whether an unborn  baby is really a person or not.  (All men are created equal- unalienable rights?  Life? Liberty?)
  It seems to me that we are throwing away everything that our forefathers worked so hard for.  They shed their blood for the cause of freedom- what would they think if they knew that in 250 years we would be murdering our own children?  What about their freedom? It looks like we are shaking our fists in the face of God saying, “We want to go back to Egypt!  This is too much work!”  The road has gotten tough- and now we are complaining about what He has given us. Do you know what happened to the Israelites when they did that?  When they despaired and cried saying, “Would that we were back in Egypt!”?
  It was after Moses had sent out spies to the Promised Land.  When they returned all but Joshua and Caleb told of the horrors of the land, frightening the people, causing them to forget all that the Lord had done for them and all that He had promised. The people despaired and said, “Would that we had died in Egypt!...Why is the Lord bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword?  Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?” (Numbers 14:2a-3 emphasis added)  Then Moses fell down before the Lord and the Lord spoke to him saying, “How long will this people spurn Me?  And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst? I will smite them with pestilence and dispossess them... (Numbers 14:11b-12a emphasis added)
  The Lord has provided us many signs.  He has done countless wonders in our midst.  How long will we spurn Him?  How long will we refuse to believe in Him as a nation?  The Lord is indeed slow to anger- for we have yet to see His full wrath on our country.  There is still hope...  We have a choice:

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.  So choose life in order that you may live, you and you descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers...”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20a
(emphasis added)

And we have a promise:
“and if My people who are called by My Name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14

There is hope for America.  The Lord always has a way for us to be redeemed.  If we humble ourselves, repent and cry out to the Lord He promises to hear, forgive us, and heal our land. Our nation is in distress; she is sick, she is hurting- she desperately needs healing. She needs the fire rekindled that was lit at her birth- a fire for the Lord, that she would be a blessed nation in His sight- a city on a hill, glorifying Him.
What choice will you make- life or death?
Blessing or curse?
Humility and healing- or pride and destruction?

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