Monday, December 17, 2012

Lamentations For Our Nation

              My heart is grieved this morning. As I prayed to the Lord God to pour out His compassion and His mercy upon all the families of the Connecticut tragedy, and all the little ones lost, I was led to the book of Lamentations. Jeremiah was lamenting for his people, his nation, for the lost and broken lives that were falling down around him. As I read the book of Lamentations, my heart too began to lament, to weep and to wail for our nation, a nation that has turned away from God.
                Many of you may read this blog post of mine today and become angry at what I am about to say, a few of you may agree with me, but this post is only for one purpose. And that purpose is to stir up in us, His Church, a call to repentance. We have become a nation of complacent Christians. We have allowed sin to take hold of our churches, our schools and our families. For what reason do I believe this? Look around you, look at your nation, body of Christ, can we truly call this a Christian nation any longer? No, we cannot. We have turned to our own ways and left the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. He commanded us to go and to make disciples, to proclaim Him to all the nations, even to our own. But instead, we sit in our pew on Sunday, do what feels most comfortable to us and then we go home and pick up our sins on Monday; just like the nation of Israel did when Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations.
                In the first chapter of Lamentations, Jeremiah refers to his nation as a widow, lonely and weeping bitterly. There was no one to comfort her, and the Lord God had sent His afflictions upon her because of the “multitude of her transgressions” (1:1-5). As I read this chapter, I saw our nation, once it was a great nation, and the world looked to us for help. But now, many nations look at us and scoff at how we have fallen. Our nation has “sinned gravely, therefore she has become vile. All who honored her despise her because they have seen her nakedness; yes, she sighs and turns away. Her uncleanness is in her skirts; she did not consider her destiny; therefore her collapse was awesome; she had no comforter.” (1:8-9) Jeremiah then cries out to the Lord God for his nation, “O Lord, behold my affliction, for the enemy is exalted!” (vs. 9) We have allowed the enemy to have a place in our nation, all because we did not want to offend anyone.
                The Cross of Jesus Christ has been offending people for over 2000 years, and so it should. Our walks, our lives as Christians should be a constant reminder to the nation we live in that there is but One God, and One Truth, and our lives should be so immersed in Jesus Christ, that even the schools our children attend honor Him. But instead, we have allowed sin to permeate our nation, and even our churches. We have allowed homosexuality to become acceptable, and we have allowed it to enter the church- just like Israel did. “For she has seen the nations enter her sanctuary, those whom You commanded not to enter Your assembly.” (1:9)
                Jeremiah continues his lamenting over his nation, and he reminds the people that God is a holy God, He is a righteous God. He continues to list off all the woes of the nation that is before his face daily. Day after day there is more desolation, destruction, loss of hope and darkness has shrouded his nation. Our nation is under a cloud of darkness, and we as the body of Christ must take a stand for God and be the people He has called us to be. “A royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9) But instead, we sit and continue in our sins because that is what is comfortable and we don’t want to “rock the boat.”
“My eyes fail with tears, my heart is troubled; my bile is poured on the ground because of the destruction of the daughters of my people. Because the children and the infants faint in the streets of the city.” (1:11) Does not our hearts grieve? If so, then shouldn’t we be doing something about it? Instead of missions to foreign countries, what about the mission field we have before us, here in our own nation? Come church, let us awaken to the desolation that is before us and fulfill the commandment given to us by Jesus Christ- proclaim Him all the time, everywhere.
                I am reminded of the church of Laodiceans in the book of Revelation. Jesus said to them, “I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) We have become a lukewarm nation of Christians. We would much rather grow our churches in numbers and call ourselves a rich church, than spend a week in the ghettos with the lost and hungry of our nation. My heart is grieved for this nation today, but there is still hope for us. Jeremiah tells us of this hope in chapter 3 of Lamentations.
                “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul.” Therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord…..For the Lord will not cast off forever. Though He causes grief. Yet He will show compassion according to the multitude of His mercies. For He does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” (3:22-27, 31-33)
                So, what should we do then, knowing that we have become a lukewarm nation of Christians? How do we become the salt and the light that our nation so desperately needs? We do what Jeremiah urges us to do in verses 40-42, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the Lord; Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven. We have transgressed and rebelled;” God our Father will pardon us because He sent Jesus to be the salvation this nation so desperately needs.
                May the tragedy that happened in Connecticut be a call to repentance for this nation. May we stop being lukewarm and begin to be on fire for our Lord Jesus Christ, because through Him and in Him and because of Him we have hope, and this nation has a hope. May we awaken our hearts to turn back to God and become the Royal Priesthood that He has called us to be, leading people from the darkness and into His marvelous light. Let us turn back to God and lift up our hands, in repentance and mourning for our nation. Lord God, forgive us our sins, for they are many. In Jesus Christ I do pray. Amen and Amen.