Time to Choose
Green grass, trees, running water, toilet seats, clean bathrooms, showers, drinkable water, washers and dryers, dependable electricity, sewage systems, air conditioning, heating, a home, bed mattresses, blankets, refrigeration, stoves, privately owned vehicles, private property, money in the bank, a job, a garden, medical and dental care, general anesthesia, playgrounds, parks, a yard, toys, hobbies, clothing, personal privacy, police protection, public services, personal freedoms, a safe and clean food supply, firewood, warning labels, safety regulations, freedom of speech, gun ownership, lakes, farms, livestock, machinery, automation, good highways, nice hotels, a general feeling of safety and security, grocery stores, eyeglasses, toiletries, ice, pest control, clean rivers and streams, safe schools for our children, school buses, literacy, a society where most people are friendly and considerate, kind or friendly words, nice buildings, civil engineering, the freedom to vote and have a voice in our government, technology, a clean environment, street lights, window blinds. door locks, department stores, fast food restaurants, safe public transportation, power tools, access to God's Word, churches and freedom to worship, the knowledge of God's love and grace.....and the list goes on and on and on of things that I have enjoyed but taken for granted most of my life!!
Go back over this random list one at a time and add to it as you will. Consider what your life, the life of your family and our society be like without them if they suddenly ceased to exist.
For two weeks in September I worked in the Amazonian region of Peru and for the whole month of October I served in two Middle Eastern countries. While I was in these places, these are just a few of the things that I really missed and could not wait to get home to enjoy again!
I know I am spoiled and I did struggle from time to time because I did not have access to these things. I also struggled because I knew that the people I was working with would likely never have access to them, nor will most of the people in the world for that matter. As Americans, we are indeed a blessed people!
However; if we are honest, it is easy for us to believe that we as Americans are entitled to or deserving of all these things. We generally are a people with a strong work ethic. Many in our country who have served in the armed forces and other public service roles have sacrificed much and many have paid the ultimate price for us to enjoy these possessions, opportunities and freedoms. We are the most generous nation on earth. We are historically a God fearing people. We value our own freedom and we encourage and even expect other nations to make these freedoms, opportunities and services available to their own people. I believe in all the things we do to help make these possessions and opportunities available, but I also realize that our efforts alone do not produce them or necessarily make us deserving! People of many nations do hard manual labor every day. Many are very religious and fight and die in wars for what they believe, yet they do not enjoy the blessings that we enjoy.
I believe that we as a nation have been blessed by God and have experienced His Grace in ways that few, if any other nations have ever experienced. We only have to look at the history of the nation of Israel to see what happens when God chooses to bless a nation, to provide for a nation and to fight for a nation, to see the difference that He alone makes. Israel experienced God's blessing, provision and protection in ways that are truly miraculous and of Biblical proportions!
We need only to focus on the 40 year period from the end of their enslavement by the Egyptians to the time they took possession of the Promised Land to see how their blessings and successes were a direct result of God's grace. When they could do nothing for themselves, God did for them, whether it be manna from Heaven when they were hungry, water from the rock to quench their thirst, or clothes and shoes that never wore out and that they did not outgrew for 40 years! However, when they became proud and trusted in their own self sufficiency--God allowed them to see the futility of their own effort! When God fought for them, their small army defeated heavily fortified cities and enemies that outnumbered them multiple times, many times without ever having to use their weapons--yet when they became proud and self sufficient, they were routed by small, insignificant armies that were just a fraction of their size and might! When God was with them, they flourished and no one could touch them. When they rebelled against God or stepped outside His will and outside the conditions of His blessings, they failed and suffered miserably.
We are indeed a nation of people that are who we are, and who enjoy all that we enjoy, because the God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all things has plans for our nation and has chosen to bless us! If Israel, God's chosen people, could not and cannot succeed without God's blessing and grace, we nor any other nation should expect anything different.
Scripture tells us that "unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain" (Ps 127:1). We cannot succeed by our military strength, wisdom or hard work alone. If God does not act on our behalf, we will not succeed or survive as a nation.
In Acts 17:26 we read: "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live." We had no input as to when or where we would be born! It is nothing but the grace and the will of God that we were born American and enjoy all the blessings that God has bestowed upon us as a nation. We and/or our children could have been born a Muslim or other religion, as a starving child in Africa, or a refugee of a war torn country. The Bible also tells us: "To whom much has been given, much will be required." (LK 12:48). With God's blessings and the opportunities that result, comes the responsibility to use those gifts to bless others for His sake.
We are indeed a blessed people, but we have been blessed not because of who we are, but because of His grace and His plans for who He wants us to become! Scripture makes it clear that our blessings are however conditional. If we continue to turn our backs on Him and reject Him, and if we continue to be disobedient to His Word, He will give us over to our own desires and our end will come. Without Him, we will become just another story of a once great nation that is no more!
2 Chronicles 7:14 says: "If my people, who are called by my name, will 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." God's promises are true. We still have hope but time is indeed short! We must repent and turn back to God with our whole hearts if we are to continue to enjoy His blessings and His grace and if we are to continue to thrive and exist as a nation. The choice however is ours! "Choose this day who you will serve... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)