Our Bible verse for today: “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel did not obey me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own plans. If only my people would listen to me and Israel would follow my ways. I would quickly subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cower to him; their doom would last forever. But he would feed Israel with the best wheat. I would satisfy you with honey from the rock.” Psalm 81:11-16 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “God wants to bless us.”
God wanted to bless Israel. But as a nation they wouldn’t obey Him. They chose to live outside of the Biblical boundaries which He had established for acceptable conduct, and therefore they were choosing to live outside of the boundaries within which God could and would bless them. As a result, they were suffering terribly.
That Psalm is specifically about the nation of Israel but the lesson applies to our country too. God wants to bless us, but first we have to honor Him in our national life. As a nation we have to choose to live within the boundaries of acceptable conduct that He has established for us in the Bible. That doesn’t mean that we are to become a theocracy ruled by religious elites. We’re not Iran. But it does mean that the Bible provides us with a broad outline of morals and ethics that are God’s acceptable conduct for any people – even for those who do not specifically call upon the name of Jesus. That’s how the founders of our nation based the Constitution and the Bill of Rights on Biblical principles without actually turning us into a theocracy.
The further any nation drifts from those standards, the worse all aspects of their national life becomes. By most measures the quality of life in America continues to deteriorate. I’m not talking about economics. People can be well-off financially and still be miserable. Instead, I’m referring to things like morality, civility, and peaceful co-existence between groups of people with differing points of view on important issues. We’re doing well economically, that’s true enough, but in most other quality indicators our society is suffering badly. Why? Because as a nation we are living well outside of the boundaries within which God can and will bless us. And therefore, like the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, God is giving us over to the consequences of our own bad choices.
As Christians we have to model for our fellow citizens what it looks like to live within Biblical boundaries. We have to be sure the we ourselves are living in such a way that we are part of the solution and not part of the problem. We must live lives that are grounded in the love of God, and we must actively share the love of God in the middle of all the anger, bitterness, and civil chaos. In time, our influence can move the needle and persuade others to live that way too.
God wants to bless us as a nation. We, the people of God, need to help our country get back to the place where God can and will bless us.