GNB 42


July 3, 2022


“And Yahweh has become king over all the land; in that day there is one Yahweh Elohim and His name will be the only One.” (Zechariah 14.8)

“Righteousness exalts a nation but sin condemns any people.” (Proverbs 14.34)


Do you know what the United States of America is truly afraid of? It isn’t recession, depression, immigration, Putin, world war, China, climate change, Covid, rage in the streets or fossil fuels. What the United States of America fears the most is being obedient to the God of her salvation. And why do I say that? Because all of the problems listed above and a myriad more stem from a lack of acknowledgment as to “who and whose she is.” We may even be able to link all of those problems with some type of philosophy, sociology, political analogy and self-driven ideology which has in turn become its own religion. I would even go a step further to quote a biblical truth to help identify why the United States of America is floundering like bloated and dying goldfish. I would quote, in addition to those scriptures above from Proverbs and Zechariah, out of the words of the apostle Paul who wrote to his disciple in the faith, Timothy, the following: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6.10) In the year 2022, the scripture may be emended to say “MOST people….” It certainly is the basis for the political decisions that are made in this country. I will not speak for or against any other nation, while I believe the same would be true, because I do not live in them nor have I visited them except for short forays into Canada and Mexico. It would be by observance and thus any comment would be relegated to assumption, or gossip. Of course, what percentage of social media isn’t gossip; the rendering of personal opinion to the level of fact. And facts, these days, are driven, proposed, by the nature and character of “because I SAY so.” Listen to those who declare their truth and you will hear it proposed in the present tense. It is a reflection of determination in the moment to gain what is desired with the assumption that saying so compels others to comply. As parents of previous generations, we fell into the circular argument of the past tense of that truth. It said, “because I SAID so.” The rebellion had been brewing for some time as the authoritarian nature within us all had to resort to a “final and brute verbal force.” It was intended to cut through the argument of “why do I have to” or “what can’t I” which was proposed by those who were finding their own voice of independence. Look how that voice has accelerated in the past fifty years from verbal demand to a demand proposed by “literal ammunition.” Does it give new meaning to “shooting off at the mouth”?

Now, I am not blaming the prosperity gospel or the economics of spirituality any more than I care to blame supply-side economics or free enterprise. But, I am willing to reflect on and draw attention to how all of these, and more, are manifestations of a pursuit of “the love for money.” Money has become the currency of definition in this world. The “haves” and the “have nots” are suitably placed in their own camps with their own attitudes toward self and others. We even speak of the world in terms of “industrialized nations” and “third world nations” without much attention being paid to what is a true “developing nation.” Does developing actually mean “becoming like US“? Or does it mean, even more pointedly here in America, “becoming like U.S.“? Honestly, look how we call ourselves AMERICA. It is like we are drawing attention to ourselves as if all the rest of the Americas hinge on “us” the “U.S.” Think not? What of Canada which is part of North America? They certainly don’t see themselves as America or Americans. They are not “north” America any more than “we” are “south” America. South America is south of Central America. Central America is north of South America and south of North America. “WE” are America. We even have a song that is more preferred these days than the National Anthem which declares “our” value and worth. It is called America the Beautiful. And we are a beautiful country. But, a beautiful nation? God made the country. Man made the nation. And this nation is stained with the ugliness of fiscal determination as proof of independence. Our very freedom, as declared by the Founding Fathers in 1776, is to be sovereign and not beholding to any foreign government. In their moment, that foreign government was the King of England who was following in a legacy of declaring freedom from the Pope in order to be a self-determined nation in its day. Those who left England to sail for the Americas, claimed the pursuit of religious freedom from the rule of the King of England. It did not take long for their agrarian society founded on biblical precepts to turn into an economic society founded survival precepts. What would that precept be? Dare I even offer it? Well, it is the direction I am going in, so I might as well: Money is power and power is money. And by today’s standards, we no longer have a need to be free from the “King of England,” not because there isn’t one, but because we are abandoning that pursuit of independence in order to embrace a fiscal alliance with other nations for better and worse. According to, with some literary license, Paul’s instruction to Timothy, his disciple, “the love of money is assumed power.” I might be able then to add, with the same literary license, “the love of power is assumed money.” Is that what our pursuit of freedom is really all about? Is it really the bottom-line of what it means to be an “American”? As Christ followers and mighty ones of God, how far have we stepped away from the Sermon on the Mount and the commanded “trust God and pursue righteousness”?

Solomon provided instruction to his sons, and by extension to the nation he sought to rule with truth and divine wisdom, stating “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin condemns any people.” I sure see a lot of condemnation among American people. Even in its subtlest expression of human interaction “quiet” disdain is a form of condemnation. No, we are not judging people and sending them to hell because they cut us off with an unsignaled lane change. Nor are we when we express a vehement opinion at some news broadcast where they can’t even hear us and don’t really care what we think about their reporting. Of course, they want a bigger viewing audience because it means big bucks for them while not really changing our fiscal identity for better or worse. A local news team signs off their broadcast with “Thank you for making (name of the station is deleted) your NUMBER 1 news station.” If that is not a promotion of “we own the market on truth” because more people watch us than other stations, I don’t know what is. And what then is truth? In that news broadcast it seems the truth is more about weather than the rest of the verbage that is presented for what is human activity. And see, even I have fallen into the trap myself. It is so easy to have that judgmentalism that binds us to sin and sinning. But, then so can true repentance be easy as well. And it truly doesn’t “cost” anything financially because the price has been paid spiritually. Repentance is promoted by righteousness as well as that it promotes righteousness. True power comes in trusting God and humbling serving Him through the intention and purpose of authentic love. The collateral effect is serving others with the intention and purpose of authentic love. True power never comes by trusting in self first and serving self first. There is nothing righteous about that at all except for “self-righteousness.” And the wisdom of Solomon did not say “Self-righteousness exalts a nation!” But, Paul did say in a warning to the faith community in Rome, and by extension throughout the Roman Empire which was the ruling political entity of its day, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12.3) To the faith community in Corinth, he advised “A little knowledge puffs one up with pride but true love builds up those around you.” I wonder what a little more knowledge would do? I wonder more what a little more true love might do? And I am not speaking of “the love of money which is the root of all evil.” I am speaking of “the love of God which is the root of all righteousness.”

As we settle in to our “4th of July” celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence (that is the reason why we are intended to celebrate the 4th of July and not simply to have another holiday to spend money and flaunt money with things that do not satisfy), I pray we will, as followers of Christ and lovers of God, take stock of our desire to be truly free. Isn’t our freedom about trusting God in and with all things so that sin will not so easily sway us into wrong thinking and wrong action? Isn’t our freedom about making right decisions for the welfare and benefit of those around us and within us trusting that God’s promised provision of daily bread and the forgiveness of our sins has already been secured? Isn’t our freedom about the irreplaceable and unmovable inalienable rights which continue to prove themselves to be self-evident and which are for all people? Why have we forgotten, or at least pushed to the side, what is authentic freedom? It isn’t the love of money but rather the love of God which makes us free. John the Presbyter, author of a gospel, three letters and the Book of Revelation, wrote “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4.18) Let us remember, God desires to bless us one and all freely and eternally. It is time to declare our true independence from this world and bless Him with our trust.


Father, thank You for abiding in us but also calling us into accountability by Your Word of faith. May our eyes, ears, hearts, mind, spirit and soul be wide open to the leading of Your Spirit in these troubled time. May Your freedom ring in and through us so that the good news can be broadcast into all the world for their salvation. We ask this through Jesus our Christ in whose name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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