"We've Forgotten God"
(Shared by permission, from friend Pastor Nick in Okinawa)
Americans have forgotten God. Quite sadly, this includes many Christians. To an enormous degree, the masses live without reading and studying the scriptures, and without genuine prayer. Bluntly stated, we are living godless lives. We’ve naively concluded that we don’t need Him. Life is good. My barns are full. Eat, drink, and be merry! Since, overwhelmingly, these masses are not facing actual, authentic life-or-death situations, what do we need God for? I mean, after all, if and when a crisis does show up, then I’ll call upon Him, right? These are not lives dependent upon on God. These are lives independent of God. Yet Jesus, when asked which is the most important commandment of all replied, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (vs.30) And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” (Mk 12:29-30) My, oh my… how far have we fallen.
Today, Deuteronomy 8:6-20 is worth reading, heeding, proclaiming, and sharing: “So obey the commands of the LORD your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. (vs.7) For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. (vs.8) It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. (vs.9) It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. (vs.10) When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. (vs.11) “But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. (vs.12) For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, (vs.13) and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! (vs.14) Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. (vs.15) Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! (vs.16) He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. (vs.17) He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ (vs.18) Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath. (vs.19) “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods, worshiping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. (vs.20) Just as the LORD has destroyed other nations in your path, you also will be destroyed if you refuse to obey the LORD your God.”
This is America. In our abundance and excess and our warped understanding of “freedom,” we’ve forgotten God. Left Him behind. We don’t need Him. And now that we’ve abandoned God, what are we left with? What’s the big deal? For starters, people now have to – in and of themselves – define morality and interpret the times. But look closer at the multiple warnings in that passage. Verse 11 warns us to not forget your God. Verse 14 warns us about our pride. Verse 15 warns us about forgetting that God will lead us if we let Him. Verse 17 warns us about assuming that our strength is sufficient. Verse 18 warns us to remember that God is the one who gives power to achieve wealth. Verse 19 warns us what will happen if we forget God. And Verse 20 warns us about God’s destruction if we refuse to obey Him.
As we continue to drift from God, we gravitate from life to death, from blessings to curses, from truth to lies, from peace to chaos, from wisdom to ignorance, from understanding to confusion, from light to darkness, and from joy to pain. This should not come as a surprise to us. A godless direction, and its consequent miserable destination, is very predictable. It’s always been predictable. Throughout the Bible and throughout history it’s plain to see this simple yet profound principle at work. Depart from God and some form of death and destruction is the result. I would submit that the degree to which a people abandon God is the degree to which their demise will abound. Contrariwise, the degree to which a people remember and honor God is the degree to which they will be blessed and flourish.
Today, the majority of Americans have allowed their abundance to also become their Achille’s heel. Candidly speaking, the masses among us are in no real crisis. We have food. We have a roof. We have clothes. We have great safety. I already know that many will take issue with this and cry, “Injustice! Racism! Inequality! Police brutality!” In America, instances of injustice and racism are the exception, not the rule. What I would ask these social justice warriors is when’s the last time you personally had to literally depend on God to provide your next meal or you’d die of starvation? When’s the last time you personally had to call out to God for deliverance because a band of armed thugs broke into your house, or robbed you at gunpoint, or kidnapped and raped your loved ones, or forced you into their gang? When was the last time you had to personally cry out to God for protection from a foreign invading army? (Better perspective?)
Back to my point: As a result of our abundance, we’ve become soft and lazy because without true crises, not much is demanded of us. Path of least resistance, much? Prove me wrong. Convince me that our days are filled with God and not filled with bingeing on self-interests – smartphones, social media, porn, drugs, alcohol, entertainment, music, Netflix, etc. America’s ascendance into greatness has led to our decadence (literally means “out of cadence or step”) and downfall. Because of this so-called “freedom,” we now have too much time on our hands. Stated another way, we are now free to sin more, literally. As a matter of fact, the masses have so much time on their hands now that they have to manufacture crises and complaints. Just look at the foolish issues being debated on social media, in our schools, and in politics. It’s insane. There was a time when Americans who knew God and His Word did not waste time on absurd, petty, and flippant ideas and efforts. Life was too hard and time was already too short.
So, what’s the solution? It’s Christ. Study Christ. Know Christ. Obey Christ. Speak Christ. Share Christ. And, it starts with the Christian. Romans 10:13-15 reads, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Yahweh will be rescued and experience new life. But how can people call on Him for help if they’ve not yet believed? And how can they believe in One they’ve not yet heard of? And how can they hear the message of life if there is no one there to proclaim it? And how can the message be proclaimed if messengers have yet to be sent? That’s why the Scriptures say: How welcome is the arrival of those proclaiming the joyful news of peace and of good things to come!”
The only thing that will counter this direction of confusion, pain, and death is Christ. 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, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (NLT) Real talk, when the Believer intimately knows Christ and the Word of God, he cannot be silent. The Believer must speak up when his LORD is being misrepresented and mocked. The Believer must speak up when lies and doctrines of devils are being asserted on the souls of the people. The Believer must speak up when the love of Christ is the remedy to the confusion, pain, and death. Bottom line: Every day, in the temple and from house to house, do not cease teaching and preaching that Jesus is the Christ! (Acts 5:42)
-- The Christian’s responsibility and ministry (Mk 16:15; Jer 20:7-10; Ac 4:18-20; Ac 17:16-18; 1Cor 9:16-17; and 2Cor 5:11-21)