While Americans have once again come together to celebrate Independence Day, there are concerns about the strength of our republic. These concerns consist of a stagnant (at best) economy with millions out of work, a constantly rising national debt with no signs of slowing down, and even from the growth and power of our own federal government. What’s the solution to these problems and everything else that ails us? Is the answer to be found within ourselves, to not give up and to do what we can to turn the ship around? A much better course would be to turn to the One who created us as a nation and who alone can help us and save us. In this follow-up article to “How to experience salvation,” let’s consider how we in the USA can experience God’s salvation for our country; and we will use the letters U.S.A. to assist us.
First we must Understand. In Luke 15, the prodigal son had to come to himself; he had to see the mess he was in. He had squandered everything His Father had given him; he was hungry; and he was humiliatingly feeding pigs. We as a nation have squandered what God has graciously given to us, which is a country with the foundation of liberty, justice, and morality. As a nation, we must understand, to paraphrase the wayward son, “we have sinned against heaven and against God,” for we have rejected God and gone our own way. While the son understood the mess he was in, he also understood that he could return home and to his father to ask for his forgiveness. God doesn’t change; for “he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1). Not only must we remember His grace, but also His greatness, in that He is able to save. When Judah’s king, Hezekiah, had an impending, impressive, and invading threat from the country of Assyria, he went to the house of the LORD and prayed, “O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you made the heaven and earth” (Isaiah 37:16, English Standard Version). Do we as Americans know this God, a God who is not only King and who reigns over all things and all kingdoms, but who is the One who is the Creator of all? King Hezekiah knew the God of the Bible, he knew God was the LORD of hosts, more than able save Judah from its enemies, no matter how imposing they seemed. We must understand that with this God, there is always hope.
Next we must Seek. The prodigal son understood he could return home and he did it. He had to choose to leave the mess he had made of his life; he had to choose to humble himself; and he had to choose to go home. The question for you, me, and our nation is: will we choose to acknowledge that we have gone away from the foundation of God and His Word? Will we continue to sink deeper in the mess we’re in, or will we choose to seek God and His mercy and grace. What does it look like to “seek God”? The psalmist says, “With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments” (Psalm 119:10, ESV). Since our nation is in the mess we’re in because we have rejected God and His Word, to seek God is to diligently obey His Word and commands. God has graciously given us His Word, the Bible, so that we would not only understand who God is but what He requires of each of us. “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, ESV). It is through obedience to this and the other commands of God that we seek God, but we must turn our hearts from what we want to what God wants. If we truly want God’s salvation, we must obey not only His Word, the Bible; but also “the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us,” the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to fulfill the Law for each of us so that you and I can intimately know God’s mercy, grace and salvation.
Finally, we must Accept. Is the United States passed the point of salvation? Only God knows, and we must accept His perfect and righteous judgment. In 2 Kings 22, the scroll of God’s Word is found and read to Judah’s king, Josiah. Upon hearing it, the king shows his contrition by tearing his clothes; he then says, “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us” (22:13). Sadly, God’s response was “I will bring disaster upon this place and upon its inhabitants, all the words of the book that the king of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken me and have made offerings to other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore my wrath will be kindled against this place, and it will not be quenched” (vs. 16-17). Though God’s judgment was assured, He gave His people hope, for after His wrath had come through the invasion of Babylon and His people taken for 70 years of exile there, the LORD foretold their time of restoration. God said, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile” (Jeremiah 29:13-14, ESV).
Because of Jesus Christ, who was sent to bear God’s wrath for all of my sins, your sins, and the sins of the entire world (including sinners in the United States), we can have the personal hope of final and eternal restoration in Him. With the foundation of this truth, let us understand the mess our nation is in, seek the LORD’s help and salvation for our country, and humbly accept whatever His plan is for each of us and for the United States of America. Amen.