A MESSAGE FOR AMERICA
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do. No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.
People rest their hopes on lots of different things. For some hope rests on a foundation of material things – home, bank account, stock portfolio, insurance. For others it rests on personal strength, effort, education, job, or something of that sort. In America today more and more people are putting their hope in government. “We live in the richest nation on earth,” they say; “There is nothing we can’t do.” So said the inhabitants of Babel millennia ago! Nevertheless, they cling to the hope that government can feed the hungry, cure the sick, even make the oceans recede. There are two things I would like to point out about that kind of hope.
First, it is built on a foundation of arrogance and foolishness. The truth is that no man or group of men, certainly no government, is wise enough, resourceful enough, or powerful enough to do any of those things. Listen, the hungry aren’t nourished by good intentions; the sick aren’t healed by compelling speeches. Oh, and by the way, the oceans are still just where they were thousands of years ago; they don’t need fixing! God Almighty set their boundaries on the third day of creation.
Second, hope can't rest on bigness alone. “No king is saved by the size of his army,” and no country is secured by the extent of its borders. The Roman Empire once covered 2.9 million square miles. The Mongul Empire covered 12.7 million square miles. Yet both fell into historical obscurity. The Roman emperor was deposed by a Visigoth king who had no great empire. The Mongul Empire just sort of fell apart when Mongke Khan was killed in battle. Both had huge armies and immense wealth. They did not, however, have a respect for the true and living God who blesses “those who fear him . . . those whose hope is in his unfailing love.”
The message for America is in the first verse of this text: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he chose . . .” Consider this quote from Alexis de Tocqueville: “I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors; . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power . . . America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
This should be the American church's prayer today and every day: “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you.”
--- Pastor Keith Andrews