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Saturday, July 04, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, America declared its independence from Great Britain.  The move
came as a result of grievances over the Empire's taxation and trade policies. The colonies felt they were being unfairly treated and so they rebelled. America now stands proud as a sovereign nation. Over the years, many countries have followed America's example, and today there are close to 200 independent countries.

As I think about this powerful nation, my thoughts go back to the book of Judges. This book  deals with a period in Israel's history when there was no king. Under Joshua's leadership, the people had finally entered the promised land, and they served the Lord well. But then Joshua and his generation died, and  "The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD; they forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs" (Judges 3 : 7). 

We know the consequences of their actions. Israel went through a terrible time of  defeat and captivity at the hands of its enemies. Eventually, they cried out to God and He took pity on them. He appointed judges over them and they did well, but each time the judge died, they returned to their sinful ways. Then they would cry out to God again, He would appoint another judge, and the process would be repeated.

There's a line in the book of Judges that is repeated over and over:  "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes" (Judges 17: 6).

Today in America, we have leaders over us, but we are doing what is right in our own eyes. The will of the people has usurped the will of God. Church attendance hovers around 40% while an average 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage. An overall "anything goes" is the pervading lifestyle in America. Policemen kill unarmed civilians and go free. "Every man does that which is right in his own eyes." 

But God is a good God. He is not like man. He does not punish us as our sins deserve. Isaiah 55: 7 says,     "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon." Happy Independence!

Here are two of my older posts on Independence:
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