The past couple of days a few events have left me thinking about the current state of our Union, and our wilting fields of grain. In the past I have been known as a radical revolutionary conspiracist. Since I have committed my life to serving Jesus as the Christ who saves, my focus has changed. I have spent most of the past five years finishing my undergraduate work in theology and working on graduate studies in Christian leadership. But a few friends have prodded the old ideas back to the surface. Not that my opinions matter much to most, but maybe they will have some affect on someone. This piece has some real gloom and doom to it, but read through. We live in a time of great Hope; where salvation may be just around the corner.

I have been reading 1 Samuel in my morning quiet time the past few days. God challenged me about my own commitment to Him and I forward this message to you. It is no coincidence that as these friends stirred up some past emotions about politics and government, I found myself in 1 Samuel 8. This is the account of when Israel was asking for a King. Samuel was the current Judge whom God had appointed to rule over His nation. God’s intent for the Hebrew nation was—in a political sense—that they be a Theocracy. This is a pseudo-political state where God is King. Some of the specifics, although very basic, of the formation of this Theocracy can be found in Exodus 18 (for further details see the rest of the Pentateuch). The appointing of a human King to rule over God’s chosen nation was never the intent of God. This was solely one of the instances where Israel complained so much, become so secular in their ways that God allowed them to have their wish.

In 1 Samuel 8: 10-22, we read the account of the Warning of God to Israel about the consequences of electing a King. God spelled out exactly what happens when His people turn to a man to rule over them. The scary thing, verses 11-17 sound just like the state of our Union today. A few minor details may be different, like the tax the people would pay was only ten percent. Today, some economists are saying that the tax rate on Americans can jump to almost sixty percent over the next decade. This however is all just semantics. The reality of turning our backs on the LORD is revealed in verse 18. “Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.” (NASB)

I said out load, “Really!? God said that? He seriously said he was not going to answer their prayers?”

YES, and it is not the only time He has said it (see Jeremiah 11, among others).

Listen folks, we all know the perils of the times in which we live. But as Christians we have a responsibility. If we deny that responsibility there are dire consequences. One of which may be that God will not hear our prayers for the rescue of our nation. I am not saying this is where we are in America, but in His immutability, the character of God never changes. This is a very scary thing to come to a point where God does not hear our prayers for salvation of our nation, in the days that we cry out to Him.  Even though God did not listen to Israel when they cried out because of the king and condition of their nation, He did continue to be involved in their lives on a daily basis.  He just did not rescue them from their own choices.

Even after this harsh warning to Israel, verse 19 tells us they did what they wanted anyways; what they wanted was to be like everyone else. Is this not where we are as Christians in America today? We want to be like everyone else. We want everything the world has told us we need to be successful. Cars, boats, big houses, big pretty churches that entertain us rather than equip us. God has called us to worship Him, live a righteous and holy life and make disciples of all nations in every corner of the world. But instead we are worshiping our electronic devices, secretly committing adultery on the internet while pointing the finger at the brother who drinks a beer. If that is not enough, when was the last time any of us has given an extra $100 over and above our tithe to a foreign missionary? Or even worse, when was the last time we even tithed? I know these are harsh words, and believe me I heard them first before I expressed them. Christians have the opportunity to make changes in this nation and God told us exactly how that can happen.

My question is: Will we continue to follow in the footsteps of Israel and do what we want, or will we listen to the words of Samuel? When discussing this very topic, a good friend reminded me of 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is interesting because this passage is a few kings into the reign of the Kings of Israel. Solomon has just finished the building of the Temple and Kings Palace. God has just come to Solomon in the night and had given him a very similar warning as the one given to Samuel. But there is one difference. Along with this warning (vs. 19-22) is a promise:

2 Chronicles 7: 13-15

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain,

or if I command the locust to devour the land,

or if I send pestilence among My people,

and 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 will heal their land.

Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.

Wow! What a great deal. Along with this warning is a promise; a promise which was not given when God spoke through Samuel. But there are stipulations on this promise. The little words in the middle of verse 14 “then” and the beginning of verse 15 “Now” change everything. These words put a condition on the timing of God’s answered prayers. I think this is awesome. We know exactly what it takes to see our nation healed. We must humble ourselves; which could mean giving up a couple of those nice toys and using His money more wisely. Or it could just mean asking for forgiveness for some wrong we committed against a brother or sister. Or it could mean both. We must seek His face, which I believe means pray and for men it means taking back the spiritual leadership in our homes through living example. And—here is the kicker—turn from our wicked ways. This may mean turning off the computer and turning to the pursuit of our wives. I know I cannot force anyone to do this, but when each of us takes responsibility for our own actions and hold one another accountable in love and encouragement, THEN He will hear our prayers from Heaven and heal our land. THEN His eyes will be open and ears listening to our prayers offered in His house.

So I ask again; are you worshiping Him or some electronic god? Are you, turning from your wicked ways or just taking a little peek at some porn. Are you, giving back to God financially through your local church and supporting foreign missions or are you spending money on needless desires? There is hope within our grasp. Our nation’s fields of grain CAN again be amber.