Thursday, March 01, 2007

Foundations of a great nation: Part 2 Dt 4:5-8

“See, I have taught you statutes and judgments just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do thus in the land where you are entering to possess it. So keep and do them, for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him? Or what great nation is there that has statutes and judgments as righteous as this whole law which I am setting before you today?” (Deuteronomy 4:5-8)

The Inadequacy of Government: There are times in which a nation is faced with such significant crisis, calamity, or loss that government comes up short in its ability to meet the need of its people. This was a case for the people of Nineveh. Nineveh’s crisis was moral in nature and God was coming to judge her. “Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’” (Jonah 3:4) No intervention of government could stop or defer the pending disaster. Though the people might have turned to their king for help, he instead turned them to the Lord. “When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, ‘In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth ; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.’” (Jonah 3:6-9) There are times in every nation when the role of governments must be to direct the people to God; to call them to faith.

One of the things I have appreciated most about our current president, George W Bush, is that he is a man of faith. Over the past six years of his administration, our nation has experienced many times of “crisis”. First and foremost was the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. Other times of great distress in our nation include the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts, the destruction of New Orleans by hurricane Katrina, and the death of two presidents, President Ronald Reagan and President Gerald Ford. In each of these situations, President Bush rallied the people and call the nation to faith; faith in God. In response to the Shuttle disaster, President Bush had this to say,

“In the skies today we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see there is comfort and hope. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, ‘Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.’

The same Creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth; yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.

In response to the death of President Regan, President Bush reminded us,

“He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him, too. His work is done, and now a shining city awaits him. May God bless Ronald Reagan.”

There are times when, with all the authority and power a government can bring to bear on a problem or situation, it simply is not enough. At times like these it is incumbent upon a government to acknowledge its inadequacies and to point its people to the only one who can help. At times like these, government should call upon its people to pray to their God, to return to faithfulness, and to encourage themselves in their faith in God.

More to come… David Robison

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