As a child of the LORD, it is interesting to look at this country through the lens of Scripture and understand things the way the LORD sees them. Now, I know that some do not believe that is possible, that is, to understand and see things the way the LORD does, but any child of the LORD can, and the LORD tells us that we can:
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:9-16)
This does not mean that the born-again believer can see things that are beyond everyone else. Actually, such discernment is available to every one, if only they would submit to the gospel and be born-again in Christ. Moreover, the things that are often discerned are rather plain, and quite obvious, if one cares to look. This is not “seeing angels and demons” and other such nonsense. Rather, it is being able to perceive and understand the working of the LORD in the life of an individual, understanding the judgement of the LORD on a nation, and perceiving what the will of God is in a specific instance. The perception and understanding of the aforementioned is sufficient to cover virtually all situations that one would encounter, and thus serve well in the life of the believer.
So what does it mean when we look at America through the lens of Scripture and see it the way the LORD sees it?
For one, we are not as nice as we think we are. We have also seriously departed from what we once were, and our pride is a sickening stench, which isn’t diminishing, but rather increasing. And for all that, we are under judgement.
Hard to take? I’m certain it is. After all, it is our tendency to think far better of ourselves than we really are. None of us like to have a harsh light shined on us, and have every flaw and error revealed. By extension, none of us like to have that done to the nation we call home. However, for the child of God, we cannot afford to look at this world and this nation as our “home.” To do so is to deny a basic truth that we should know and understand.
When someone is born again in Christ, there are monumental things which occur. For one, we ceased being a child of Adam, and became a child of Christ. In the sight of the LORD God, there are only two classes of people in this world: those in Adam, and those in Christ.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)
When we were transformed and moved from being in Adam, to being in Christ, there were other things that occurred as well. One of those changes was the translation from being a citizen of this world to citizenship in the Kingdom of God:
. . . Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: . . . (Colossians 1:12-14)
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18-22)
Along with our citizenship in the Kingdom of God came a new purpose in life — that of ambassador:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:17-20)
Now, it is manifest that ambassadors are not invested in the country they are an ambassador to, but in the country they are an ambassador for. This distinction is critical for understanding the role and purpose of the child of God in this world. We are told by our Lord that we are to be salt and light, and we are not to lose our savour, or taste:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Which, practically speaking, means that we cannot be invested in this world and still be an effective ambassador for the Kingdom of God. This also means that the child of God should be able to look at the country he or she is ambassador to, and see it for what it is.
Thus we should understand that it is undeniable that nations rise and fall, and that every nation suffers this. However, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Nonetheless it is, simply because man refuses to yield to the truth of who he is, and why he needs the salvation the Lord Jesus Christ offers. It should be no surprise that the United States is no different.
Since there is such commonality of existence between all the nations, we can go back into history and see the evidence of events that precede the judgement and fall of a nation. If we desire to truly understand that judgement, and the why of it, then we must turn to the Old Testament and see how the LORD dealt with the nations of old, and what things they did which brought about their destruction. One such nation the LORD dealt with was Teman. One reason to look at Teman is the brevity and clarity of Scripture concerning its judgement and destruction. Another reason is the parallelism in the terms of reference between Teman and modern day America.
Two prophets were given messages for Teman: Jeremiah and Obadiah. The messages given to both prophets are identical, and thus either prophet’s writings can be used. Plainly, the prophecies show the heart and mind of the LORD, and what caused the LORD to judge Teman.
The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord GOD concerning Edom; We have heard a rumour from the LORD, and an ambassador is sent among the heathen, Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle. Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen: thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD. If thieves came to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen till they had enough? if the grapegatherers came to thee, would they not leave some grapes? How are the things of Esau searched out! how are his hidden things sought up! All the men of thy confederacy have brought thee even to the border: the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, and prevailed against thee; they that eat thy bread have laid a wound under thee: there is none understanding in him. Shall I not in that day, saith the LORD, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau? And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. (Obadiah 1-9)
The parallels are more plain today, than they were years ago when the LORD first drew my attention to the passage. If we ask why America is being judged, we can find it easily in the above passage:
The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? (Obadiah 4)
Sadly, the United States is nothing, if not proud. Americans, as a people, have not learned that one can be powerful, and yet humble. After all, there is none more powerful than the LORD God, yet He is very humble. It is that character quality called “meekness,” and we would do well to learn it. However, no nation can learn of that quality unless the people of that nation are taught it.
Should we guess who is supposed to teach them?
The statement of the LORD stands:
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)