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Mapping 'Fault Lines' in America
This message is from the lead article in the 'Independence
Day' issue of the SermonCentral Newsletter which is sent to over
150,000 Pastors and Christian Workers.
Read intro. by the editor
'Fault Lines' in America
As we look at the free
falling US of A, we look to the prophet Micah who predicted this day would
come. God's wisdom from the past
could change our future!
I love America, and
make no apology for doing so. I enjoy her freedoms, especially in being free
to worship the true and living God. I would like to continue living here if
at all possible. I still believe the United States is the greatest
country on the face of the earth in terms of God’s blessing upon it.
But I reserve the right to change my mind about the matter, just as our God
does. I love
America, but I don’t have to like the
direction she is heading in. Might our country actually be facing
God’s judgment for its offenses against him? If so, who is at fault?
Micah maps out the fault lines for us.
I believe terrorism is
a great threat to the USA. But it is not our
greatest threat. I know we have powerful enemies around the world, but
the most powerful are much closer by. Yes, evil exists and is growing
rampantly. But it may not be concentrated in the part of the world we
think it is. I believe
America’s greatest threat is not from
without but from within. We are our enemy and I am convinced that God
is generally displeased with us as a nation. He is assigning blame for
sin and we must answer.
In Micah 3, the prophet is
concerned about something. He wants his nation to know that the God they
serve is not only a God of love, mercy, and grace, but also a God of
judgment…and though God would rather bless and demonstrate love, and
continue to extend His grace and mercy, that there does indeed come a time
when, because of sin and rebellion, God’s patience is exhausted.
Eventually God will give a
nation [or an individual] what they are demanding. It happened in the
pre-diluvian world of Noah’s time, and again at Sodom
It even happened to God’s people, Israel. Will He make an
exception for our nation?
Micah speaks by the Spirit
of God and points a bony finger at three distinct groups of people and says,
“It’s Your Fault!”:
Micah desperately wants
the people to understand that the God who loves sinners still hates sin. And
sin must always be judged. His holiness demands that. Praise God
that if you’re saved you will never be judged for your sin; they were judged
2,000 years ago on Calvary’s cross! But
that does not mean we can live a careless, haphazard Christian life. The
same Bible which teaches that we will not be judged for our sins also tells
us that we will indeed be judged for how faithful we have been. All
individuals will one day be judged, and there is such a thing as the
judgment of a nation.
Micah 3:12 talks about a nation being “plowed
as a field,” a metaphor for judgment.
No nation was as pure in its
inception as the nation Israel— by God Himself in Genesis
12. And yet even Israel
went corrupt, and the vast majority of the people were ignorant or
indifferent concerning that corruption. For this reason the prophets of
judgment came along, like Micah, calling the people to repentance, and
making the people aware that the God who would rather bless will blast if
His hand is forced.
I’m optimistic about our nation’s possibilities
for the future, but I think we should be realistic. And part of loving America is wanting to save it from a
corruption that most people are seemingly ignorant of…or at least
Fault Line #1 - Corrupt Politicians
Micah 3:1-3: And I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and ye
princes of the house of
Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment?
Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off their skin from off
them, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of my
people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and
chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
Reading these verses is like watching the nightly news. NBC's Tom
Brokaw used to do a weekly segment called "The Fleecing of America."
It highlighted the price Americans pay at the hands of leadership gone awry.
I think you could have put these three verses into his teleprompter and no
one would have known the difference!
Here are six requirements God
recommends for government leaders:
When the righteous are in authority, the people
rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. (Proverbs
It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the
throne is established by righteousness. (Proverbs 16:12)
it that today we just look for personality, skills and credentials, and not
look to morality?
dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions...by me
kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and
nobles, even all the judges of the earth. (Proverbs 8:12-16)
3. Absolute Honesty
Excellent speech becometh not a
fool: much less do lying lips a prince. (Proverbs 17:7)
and liars are not the same thing!
4. Separation from bad
Take away the dross from the silver, and there
shall come forth a vessel for the finer. Take away the wicked from before
the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
A leader must focus on what is right, not just
public opinion or lobbying pressures.
5. Personal Purity
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which
destroyeth kings. (Proverbs 31:3)
If a man will not honor his
marriage vows, what’s he going to do with those “piddly little vows” of
6. Protection of the weak and the defenseless
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are
appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the
cause of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
A leader is to
speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and defend those who cannot
A Biblical leader should stand tall on behalf of
the unborn. Some would say, “Abortion is legal. And a leader
is supposed to uphold the law!” Certainly being legally right doesn’t
make something morally right.
Shall the throne of iniquity have
fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
should add those who stand for the unborn but turn a blind eye to the poor
offend God as well.
When Micah warns the people that God is about to
judge, he points first at the corrupt politicians, and says, "It’s your
fault." And until we own our faults there is no hope for a change.
Fault Line #2 - Compromising Preachers
saith the LORD concerning the prophets that make my people err, that bite
with their teeth, and cry, Peace; and he that putteth not into their mouths,
they even prepare war against him. (Micah 3:5)
Should they be
preaching peace when judgment is coming? Should they preach to the
offering plates, altering their message so as not to offend? And do we
today really need to drag Jesus down to a lower level in an attempt to make
Him more palatable? Did not Jesus Himself say, "Come unto Me"?
When a preacher invites someone to Jesus, he must present Jesus and all He
is without compromise.
We must preach the truth at all times and no
matter the cost. And it is vital that we practice what we preach.
As people of God, we must, at times, look inside ourselves with humility.
I must confess I have spent several hours in reflection since I wrote the
last sentence, and though I am young and inexperienced, I feel led of God to
share something from my heart:
Concerning ministers such
as myself, I believe the Lord is not as concerned about where we are as
where we are headed. Which way are we facing? Are we going
forward for him or regressing? In short, our present is more pertinent
than our past. This principle applies not only to those of us in the
ministry but our church members as well. It applies even further to
our nation. But, in keeping with our point, what does this mean for
To use a crude but potent
illustration, this means that there have been times that God has been more
pleased with a drug addict than with me. I know he has seen something in a
wife beater that he wished he could see in me. He has hoped I would
learn something from someone who has had many extramarital affairs.
“How could this be true?” you may ask. It IS true, because all of
those mentioned got saved in our church and began allowing God to conform
them to His image. They were improving, and meanwhile I was only going
backward down Satan’s subtle slope of sin. Oh sure, if I were
counting our crimes or stacking our respective sins on a scale then I may
(or may not!) come out ahead. But that’s not what God is looking at.
He’s not comparing me to them; he’s comparing my today with my yesterday.
When Micah warns the people
that God is about to judge, he points at not only the corrupt politicians,
but also the compromising preachers and says, "It’s your fault." And
we must own our faults before God.
Fault Line #3 -
The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for
hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the
LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? No evil can come upon us. (Micah
The word "they" is where the complacent people appear.
The people of Israel
said, "We know the politicians are corrupt, we know the preachers are
compromisers, but it will be ok, because we’re ok. The economy is
strong, we’re happy, and it’s alright. Is not the Lord among us? No evil can
touch us." And many ignorant Americans make a similar claim: "Our
nation has a Christian heritage. We have Godly roots." So did Israel! And so
did many other nations which God has judged, or wiped out completely.
We must pursue hard after God or destruction will certainly overtake us as
Where do we go from here?
We should do our
part to elect leaders that seek to fulfill God's righteous requirements.
And what do we do if and when corrupt politicians come to power? We
may not be able to absolutely control such a situation, but we certainly can
focus on ourselves and make sure we aren't compromising preachers, and we
can do our job in proclaiming the truth to complacent people in our pews,
remembering the promise of II Chronicles 7:14: If my people, which 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, and will forgive
their sin, and will heal their land.
It is true: I think
our nation is in trouble. But I also know that Jesus Christ is the
hope of our nation and the world. He stands as a light for us to
follow. His arms of mercy are open to those who will turn from selfishness
and evil to him. Certainly he extends his own righteousness to us as a
free gift. But our acceptance of that righteousness will certainly be
evidenced by a life marked by that righteousness. My prayer is that my
preaching—and yours—be marked by the righteousness, justice, and mercy
embodied by Christ himself.
Ultimately, the hope of America
is not found in the White House or the State House, nor in the Courthouse.
The hope of America
is found in God’s House, and your house, and my house!
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