Crossways Concepts

Because it is all about the cross...

Insights from the scripture as lead by the Holy Spirit

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The (Non-Political) Plan to Fix Our Country

It is easy to feel hopeless about Christianity in the America.  There are so few people that go to church.  Of those who go, fewer still are really seeking to live for Christ.  This is a day in which people are seeking to be minimally involved with their churches and even less with their Savior.  We have entered a time where being a really dedicated Christian means that you financially support your church, but may not have anything to do with Jesus.

Unlike even 40 years ago, people are increasingly ashamed to be a Christian.  Christianity is viewed as synonymous for a hypocritical bigot.  People and the media seem to get thrills from touting the latest scandal or incident that continuously tears down the public opinion of Christianity.

So many of the churches are preaching a message in which the real Jesus of the Bible is completely missing.  It is sometimes tough to tell the difference between a church and a social club without looking at the sign out front.  Between technology and intellectual bigotry, everything supernatural, including God, has been categorized as mythological.

The American church has mostly stopped expecting the Lord to be present.  As it says in Jeremiah, “They stopped asking: Where is the Lord” (Jeremiah 2:6a).  The old saying that there are no atheists in a foxhole, barely applies anymore because people are losing their basic hope in God, even in crisis.

So, as the people make a huge concerted turn away from God, is their any hope for them?

In the history of God's people we can see parallel times.  In the time of king Ahaz of Judea, God's people were going down a terrible road.  The king pulled the people rapidly down a path toward nothing but God's anger.  This path included such things as bringing idols right into God's temple, child sacrifice and sex shrines.

The people enthusiastically followed their leader into all these horrible practices.  The God of Abraham was fading into the status of mythology and fable as the people sought after all these false gods.  It seemed that there was no hope for a revival.

However, don't underestimate our God.  While the people may have been breaking His heart, He never stopped loving His people.  He took these sad, mis-directed people and raised up from them a leader.  This new leader, Hezekiah, did God's work by lifting the people back out of the pit dug by Ahaz.

This revival process all culminated in the Passover:

Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. The king and his officials and the whole assembly in Jerusalem decided to celebrate the Passover in the second month. They had not been able to celebrate it at the regular time because not enough priests had consecrated themselves and the people had not assembled in Jerusalem.  The plan seemed right both to the king and to the whole assembly. They decided to send a proclamation throughout Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, calling the people to come to Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel. It had not been celebrated in large numbers according to what was written.

At the king's command, couriers went throughout Israel and Judah with letters from the king and from his officials, which read:
       "People of Israel, return to the LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, that he may return to you who are left, who have escaped from the hand of the kings of Assyria. Do not be like your fathers and brothers, who were unfaithful to the LORD, the God of their fathers, so that he made them an object of horror, as you see.  Do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were; submit to the LORD. Come to the sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever. Serve the LORD your God, so that his fierce anger will turn away from you.  If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him."

The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but the people scorned and ridiculed them.  Nevertheless, some men of Asher, Manasseh and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.  Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.

A very large crowd of people assembled in Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month.  They removed the altars in Jerusalem and cleared away the incense altars and threw them into the Kidron Valley.

They slaughtered the Passover lamb on the fourteenth day of the second month. The priests and the Levites were ashamed and consecrated themselves and brought burnt offerings to the temple of the LORD.  Then they took up their regular positions as prescribed in the Law of Moses the man of God. The priests sprinkled the blood handed to them by the Levites.  Since many in the crowd had not consecrated themselves, the Levites had to kill the Passover lambs for all those who were not ceremonially clean and could not consecrate their lambs to the LORD.  Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, "May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God the LORD, the God of his fathers even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary."  And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.

The Israelites who were present in Jerusalem celebrated the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with great rejoicing, while the Levites and priests sang to the LORD every day, accompanied by the LORD's instruments of praise.  

Hezekiah spoke encouragingly to all the Levites, who showed good understanding of the service of the LORD. For the seven days they ate their assigned portion and offered fellowship offerings and praised the LORD, the God of their fathers.

The whole assembly then agreed to celebrate the festival seven more days; so for another seven days they celebrated joyfully. Hezekiah king of Judah provided a thousand bulls and seven thousand sheep and goats for the assembly, and the officials provided them with a thousand bulls and ten thousand sheep and goats. A great number of priests consecrated themselves.  The entire assembly of Judah rejoiced, along with the priests and Levites and all who had assembled from Israel, including the aliens who had come from Israel and those who lived in Judah.  There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.  The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place. (1 Chronicles30)

That must have been some celebration.  It seems that all the evil in the world is still no match for our Almighty God.  Even in the worst of circumstances revival is still possible.

But what about today?  Remember that our God is still that same God.  He is no less powerful and He wants nothing less for His people.  Even today.

Revival has to be a result of God's action.  The biggest, strongest, most powerful effort we can muster is just a drop in the bucket and will never result in any true revival.  Revival must come from God.

So our only choice is to just wait for God?  Almost.  But God does want faithful workers to work through.  He says, if “My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” (1 Chronicles 7:14)  This calls for God's people to humbly place Him first in their lives, then the revival comes.

There are many ideas out there of how to fix everything that is wrong with our country, but this is truly radical.  Just imagine, the most proven way to fix everything is through, individually and corporately, seeking the face to our creator.  He is the only one who has the power to make a real difference for good.

Until the wind of revival blows through our land, our job is simple.  We must get ourselves ready.  Then, we need to disciple others so they will also be ready.  Then God does the rest.  How cool is that?

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Lexington, Ky