Independence Day and Humbled Hearts

If My people’s hearts are humbled, If they pray and seek My face;
If they turn away from evil, I will not withhold My grace.
I will hear their prayers from heaven; I will pardon ev’ry sin.
If My people’s hearts are humbled, I will surely heal their land.

Then My eyes will see their sorrow, Then My ears will hear their plea.
If My people’s hearts are humbled I will set their nation free.
If My people’s hearts are humbled, If they pray and seek My face;
If they turn away from evil, I will not withhold My grace.

-Claire Cloninger (1986)

“Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets.” Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them that they should not do like them. So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.” -2 Kings 17:13-17

It is so easy for us to look at the Israelites and see how greatly they strayed from God time and and time again. It is so obvious that their hearts turned away from their Maker and they followed after false gods. News flash: we aren’t any better. In fact, I’d hazard a guess that we are worse. Twenty-one percent of all U.S. pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. Almost 1 million abortions are performed every year – some years over a million. It is legal to marry a person of the same gender and (in many states) illegal to refuse to bake them a wedding cake. Adultery is permitted and  quite often celebrated. Disrespect of authorities is encouraged. People who refuse to compromise their convictions are mocked. Vampires, zombies, ghouls, and demons have been made glamorous. Witch craft is supposedly the fastest growing religion in America (an estimated 8 million Americans practice Wicca as of 2013, as opposed to only 50 thousand in the 1990s). And to top it all off, the Lord’s name is taken in vain not just by millions of people who don’t even believe in Him, not just in almost every movie made now, not just in jokes, memes, and cartoons, but by Bible-believing born-again Christians. That alone should make us tremble in fear.

It is easy for us to read the Old Testament and see how wicked the Israelites could be, but do we realize that we are just as bad, if not worse? We murder babies and worship demons. I’d say we are more like the notorious Assyrians of Nineveh. The most frightening part is that we don’t take this seriously at all.

Remember Sodom and and Gomorrah? How are we any better? And if we are not any better, how are we any less deserving of the punishment they received? We are living on borrowed time. Even if God does not send a famine, a plague, or a war to our country, the effects of our national moral degradation will destroy us.

This Independence Day, let us humble ourselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from the sins that we cling to. In the words of the king of Nineveh, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?”

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

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