November 11, 2019

Christians who possess a basic awareness of Bible prophecy realize the eventual destiny of America and the nations of the world is one that will be crushed by the Stone of Jesus Christ (see Daniel 2).  The spiritual decline of our country will slide us into the same pit as Europe and be completely hostile toward the God of the Scriptures.  This knowledge causes many Believers to embrace a fatalistic attitude, retreating into an emotional cocoon that disallows the full light of day.

Should we allow this resignation to manipulate a concession for ourselves and future generations or do we have legitimate hope in prayer for America?  The possibilities of prayer rest upon the foundation of the following questions:

1.) Does God encourage us to pray? “...If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.”  (II Chronicles 7:14) 

2.) Does God evaluate and collect prayers? “... and when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Rev 5:8)

3.) Does God answer prayers? “...therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11:24) 

4.) Does God give advance warnings? “...and if ye will not for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me; then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.  And I will bring the land into desolation:  and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.  And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you…”  (Leviticus 26:27,28,32,33)

The Scriptures and secular history provide ample reinforcement of the fulfillment of these forecasts given to Israel.  The present question that deserves our attention is:  were there ever times when it appeared that the hammer was about to come down and the Lord granted a reprieve?  In the days of King Hezekiah, the Assyrians laid siege against Jerusalem (II Chronicles 32), providing a grim outlook for the inhabitants.  “And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven.”  God responded by sending an Angel to drive the invaders home.  Human nature being what it is, the King took credit for divine intervention: “…but Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up:  therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem.  Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of The Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.”  Clearly, a postponement was granted.

It could be argued that Hezekiah was in general a good king with good deeds and intentions; therefore, God was gracious because of his moral behavior.  In stark contrast, his son Manasseh was the worst king Judah ever had, exercising every pagan practice by the surrounding nations.  And so once again here came the Assyrians, this time capturing the king and hauling him off to Babylon bound with fetters.  But lo and behold “…and when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom.  Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.”  (II Chronicles 33:12,13) Once again, disaster was held in abeyance, not because of good character but rather the result of a humble prayer.

The next chapter dives further into the solution offering deferment.  It records the story of an excellent king.  Josiah demolished all the vestiges of the heathen religions that had infiltrated Israel.  He then ordered the refurbishing of the Temple that had been ignored during previous administrations.  During the process “Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses.”  When the king was confronted with the information in the book, he had a fearful meltdown, thus issuing the following order.  “Go, enquire of the Lord for me, and for them that are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found:  for great is the wrath of the Lord that is poured out upon us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the Lord, to do after all that is written in his book.”  Josiah knew that the kingdom’s history was checkered at best, therefore apprehending a pending judgment.  He received word from the Lord:  “Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me:  I have even heard thee also, saith the Lord.”  (II Chronicles 34:27)

America, we can retreat to our caves of comfort, or we can follow the example of three kings, good and bad.  Humble prayer is the common denominator!

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