Believe and Obey

A Radical Christian Perspective on the World's News & Current Events

Is This The United States?

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This Independence Day, not feeling particularly enamored of where the United States is and where it is headed, I offer this passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 59: 1-8).  He was not one to mince words or pull punches.  This text seems perfectly suited to the current moment in the good ole US of A.  A birthday is an excellent time to take stock of one’s life and this is true even in the life of a nation.  See if you recognize the United States in the words of the prophet.  I’m certain that Isaiah would.

See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.  Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness.   No one brings suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity. They hatch adders’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web; whoever eats their eggs dies, and the crushed egg hatches out a viper.   Their webs cannot serve as clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make.  Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands.   Their feet run to evil, and they rush to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways.   The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths. Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace. 

While this is dreary indeed, and all too recognizable as present-day America, the Lord always leaves us with hope.  That hope is the first verse: “See the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear”.  In the Lord there is always hope, if we trust His Good and Gracious word as true, believe that the Resurrection is real, and that Jesus Christ is Lord.  All that ails can be cured, if only we turn ourselves over to God’s will, and away from our own.  We all know what that looks like, and it looks nothing like our current situation in this country.  On this birthday I pray that we cease claiming to be “one nation under God”, and start being a people in service to God.  That is we simply believe, then obey.

Praise Be to God

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