Thanksgiving is intended to be the most spiritual of our national holidays. It is a time to reassess our situation, ask forgiveness for failures, reestablish our priorities, and to give thanks to God for our heritage - the vision and the commitment of our founders for the liberty and freedoms that have resulted from their commitment and devotion to us, their posterity.
It is staggering to contemplate their sacrifices and achievements, of which we are the benefactors. It is disturbing to contrast their self-sacrifice and commitment with the self-interest and preoccupations of our present day. They gave their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to create and preserve a republic that we so take for granted.
The Problem is Us
It is difficult to establish a constructive perspective on the American predicament of the past several decades. Yet, while we have endured the betrayal of America, we need to recognize that this goes far beyond the weaknesses, betrayals and maliciousness of one little group of people in Washington, D.C. What we have seen, at the moral level, is simply the consequence of the deep abandonment of all moral principles and decency that the liberals, the socialists, and the leftists have achieved over the last 50 years!
They have systematically assaulted the family, revised our history and heritage, and eroded the very foundations of our liberty, on every front, in every way, throughout our entire lifetime. The results we are now experiencing are the natural consequences of this abandonment of moral principle and our inability to understand that for institutions of self-government to work, there must be a moral foundation for integrity and for self-discipline.
Our founders understood this. They reiterated at every turn that these institutions were framed for a moral and religious people, and could not be sustained by any other.1 How can we say we love our country when we stand by and watch it pushed over the brink of moral destruction, losing our liberty in the process and saying nothing? Wringing our hands on the sidelines wont help.
There is only one way to save this nation. We need to cry out to the Very One to whom our founders cried out, to ask for that miracle of heart regeneration that alone will reestablish our strength as a people and then to act unequivocally for the values that God has called us to and for which we all will be called accountable.
God actually appeared to Solomon and enunciated the following principle:
If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
The occasion was the dedication of the Temple and the immediate application was, of course, to the nation Israel. But I believe our immutable God announced a principle we also can claim.
"If my people..." Are we His people? I certainly believe so.2
"Who are called by my name..." Well, some of us are to be congratulated. We have done a remarkable job as underground Christians. Weve never "blown our cover": our neighbors and the people at work never even suspect that we are Christians! But God is directing this commitment to those who are "called by His name." And His challenge requires us to do four things:
- "Shall humble themselves." That shouldnt be too hard. We can do that if we focus on it.
- "And pray." I believe we know how to do that, too.
- "And seek my face." This one may require a bit of study. I believe the thought here includes an emotional commitment as well as an intellectual search. I see this as similar to the obsession we each experience when pursuing our beloved during courtship.
- "And turn from their wicked ways." Ah, heres the rub! We actually have to give up sin? Wow. You mean actually change our ways? Indeed.
Its interesting to realize that this passage is not directed to the Congress, the Senate, or the general population of the United States! It is not the pagan left that are standing in the way of a revival in this country. You and I are! It is the sin within the Body that is the problem!
But if we will do those four things, God promises to do these three things:
- "Then will I hear from heaven..." (Apparently not until then.)
- "And will forgive their sin..." Remember the "Christians Bar of Soap":
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9
- "And will heal their land."
And how we all yearn for that. Only a miracle can save America. But, fortunately, with God nothing is impossible.
This Thanksgiving, with your family, conduct a review of our heritage and the freedoms that have come to us at such a high price. Then, may we confess our sins of presumption and ingratitude that have let this precious mandate erode from beneath us, and ask God, in His mercy and sovereignty, to help us reestablish this country as a beachhead for the Gospel to a hurting world.