July 4, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“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)
“Blessed is the nation whose God is Yahweh Elohim.” (Psalm 33.12)
During the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, a great number of people desired to quote 2 Chronicles 7.14 (you can remember it by 2×7=14). That passage of scripture was a part of a larger pericope where Solomon was confirmed by God as the true King of Israel. It says, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, pray to Me, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear them from Heaven, I will forgive them their sin and I will heal their land [which I have promised to them.]” Far too many saw the horror of Covid-19 as a judgment on this nation and this world by God. While I would love to say “God doesn’t work that way,” I need only to reflect to the beginning of the nation of Israel’s journey out of bondage where ten plagues were issued against Pharaoh for his refusal to be “one of those people.” Because of the hardness of his heart, the people who trusted and believed in him were punished severely up to and including the death of the first born males of every kind of living thing. An entire generation was eliminated because the leadership of Egypt refused to be humble, call on the name of Yahweh Elohim and follow Him all the days of their lives. I am not saying that God sent Covid-19. I do not believe that God had such an agenda. Sadly, the people of this nation are far more in bondage because of it than they are liberated from it. Covid-19 exists because of a lack of understanding about the tragedy which comes from living in a broken world. Those who wield such “broken power as power brokers” bring hardship upon those who trust in them to guide them to a promised land. That is not the way of the Lord!
However, the wisdom of 2:7:14 is undeniable. Since before the days of Solomon, humanity has believed they can survive putting themselves in harm’s way. Humanity seems to have the penchant for believing it can by its own volition, effort and resource resolve the problems of the world. The truth is that this world has been forever broken (not that is was forever broken). There is no utopian world, no Shangri-La, no Nirvana, no cave of peace which can be discovered. There is only humanity and God and the choice to seek to dwell in the kingdom of humanity or the kingdom of God. To say it more definitively, the choice is to live broken or to live healed. In this world the healing of brokenness is an internal happening with an external affect. It may have an external effect as well. But, it cannot unless we become a people who choose to humble themselves before the God who calls them by name, who pray to God in the name of Jesus the Christ and who repent and seek to follow Him whose name is above all names all the days of their lives in faith, hope and love. There is no hope for surviving to eternity if we live by broken thinking and broken promises. God’s thinking and promises are not broken. Humanity’s is. Until we align ourselves with the truth, the restoration of peace and purpose will remain far from us. In truth, it will be so close that we will think we can reach out and grasp it. In truth, there is a chasm fixed between us far too great for us to do so. I have heard it described as a “kid outside the candy store.” What the kid desires is just inches away but impossible to grasp. Today, the “candy” store is being broken into, burned down and destroyed. To what end? A moment of possession and an eternity of being possessed. Even the calls for justice as merely moments of self-satisfaction which cannot satisfy. One misstep leads to another and leads to another. Hindsight is ignored. Foresight is blinded. Insight is self-serving. There has to be a different way than the one we are taking. In the desire to “take the path less chosen,” humanity has fallen into the trap of many who have gone that way themselves. To the world, the less chosen path is actually the “one that I only want for myself.” It is the road where the past of our life becomes our constant silent companion. We do not leave the past behind but carry it with us. We do not listen to its counsel but silence it with our own desires. Instead, we hold to our own vision and pursue our own direction. Sadly, we have grown oblivious to those around us on the same path. We confuse the narrowness of our vision as the solitary journey of peace. Taking the blinders off, the road is wide and travelled by many of the same ilk. It is akin to the “blind leading the blind” except no one is following and everyone is leading. It is the land of broken thinking and broken promises. It is not intended to be our road.
Our road, mighty ones of God and followers of Christ, is intended to be “the way, the truth and the life.” On July 4, 1776, the “founding fathers” of this once great nation ratified their declaration of independence made on July 2 as a Continental Congress. They affixed their signatures and thus their lives to a document of freedom speech. We call it The Declaration of Independence. The context for their actions was bound by the scriptural call to follow “the way, the truth and the life.” It was a principle they agreed to as a whole even while they did not wholly believe in it. They were not all Christ followers but they were believers in that higher authority to which they yielded allegiance. They knew that the higher authority was not of this world nor of this earth. They would bow to no earthly nor worldly king. Their desire to pursue the road less travelled was not a new road. They were not clearing a path and making their own way. They were declaring there was a path and it was the chosen path. It was a path that others had attempted to travel but their past was soon their downfall. Because of their brokenness, their vision perished and so, too, did the dream. The Founding Fathers, knowing this penchant, decided there was no other alternative but to go on that journey, too. Learning from mistakes of the past as well as its accompanying wisdom, they initiated the journey of being a free people choosing an eternal destination that far exceeded anything humanity could contrive. They set out on a more contemporary version of the journey out of bondage from their own Egypt to set out for the promised land that God would show them. It was a moment not as when Moses and the descendants of Jacob left Egypt and crossed the Red Sea into a wilderness of Sin but when Joshua stood on the precipice of the Promised Land and said, “I will believe this is what God intended for us to be and to do.” Thirty-eight years earlier, they stood in the same place and cowered in fear believing more in their inability to trust than the ability of God to entrust to them all that He had promised. It was not the end of their journey but the beginning of an new one. There would be battles to fight and win, truths to discover and learn from and a hope that would endure if they themselves would hold fast to their declaration of independence from themselves and their declaration of dependence on God. 2:7:14 was one of those moments and it was taken by Solomon in his leadership of a floundering nation. 7:4:1776 was one of those moments and it was taken by the Founding Fathers in their leadership of a new nation. It is now 7:4:2022 and I believe we need 2:7:14 more than ever. We need it not to escape a plague of judgment but to refocus and rekindle our desire for the only way, the only truth and the only life that can survive the brokenness of this world. Judgment is coming, of that I have no doubt. Justice will roll down like thunder but not from the inner rumbling of discontent shaking the earth with colliding tectonic plates of broken lands. Rather, justice will roll down with the thunderous mercy of God who has seen us from beginning to end. He alone can speak the truth we need to hear. Let this be our true independence day when we say “God is the Lord of our lives and our land, in Him shall we trust and He alone will we worship and serve all the days of our lives.”
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
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.