What America Desperately Needs

The Call for Repentance

By Dr. David R. Reagan

Lamplighter - November December 16

[read in Lamplighter (pdf)]

What our nation desperately needs is neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump. Regardless of which one wins the presidency, America will lose.

What our nation needs above all is spiritual renewal, and that can come only through repentance.

National Sins

We need to fall on our knees before God and repent of the following facts:

  • We have killed millions of babies in the name of “freedom of choice for women.”
  • We consume more illegal drugs than all the rest of the world combined.
  • We have one of the highest divorce rates in the world.
  • We have legalized sexual perversion and same–sex marriage.
  • We spend more than $120 billion per year on gambling.
  • We host 60% of all the Internet porn sites in the world.
  • We have burdened future generations with trillions of dollars of debt.
  • We are the moral polluter of the earth through our immoral, violent and blasphemous television programs and movies.

The Call for Repentance

God cannot bless a nation with these sins on its hands, regardless of who its leader may be. There must be repentance. The Bible makes it clear that nothing touches the heart of God as deeply as repentance — except faith (Acts 20:20–21):

20) You know that I [Paul] have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.

21) I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.

A Biblical Example

A good example of the power of repentance is the city of Nineveh which was the capital of the ancient barbarous empire of Assyria. God called the prophet Jonah to preach to the people of this city, warning them of their impending doom.

To Jonah’s surprise, the king responded in repentance. He took off his royal garments and covered himself in sackcloth and ashes. He then issued a proclamation to his subjects, calling on them to repent (Jonah 3:7–9):

7) This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.

8 ) But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

9) Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

God’s heart was touched by the king’s action and the response of the people to his call for repentance, and the Lord decided to spare the city and the empire.

But 150 years later, God called a second prophet named Nahum to return to Nineveh and warn them once again of their impending doom. Nahum fearlessly proclaimed (Nahum 1:2–3):

2) The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on His foes and vents His wrath against His enemies.

3) The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished…

Nahum further declared that the nation’s sins had become so terrible and so entrenched that “your wound is incurable” (Nahum 3:19). This was an ominous statement. The same was said of the nation of Judah in its final days. Both Jeremiah and Micah proclaimed that Judah’s sins had reached the point where the “wound is incurable” (Jeremiah 10:19, 30:12 and Micah 1:9).

Nineveh refused to respond to Nahum’s message with repentance, and God destroyed the city and the Assyrian Empire. In like manner, when the people of Judah set their jaw against God and refused to repent in response to the pleas of their prophets and the remedial judgments that followed, God poured out His wrath, allowing the Romans to destroy Jerusalem, the Temple and the nation.

Some of the saddest verses in the Bible tell of God’s reluctant destruction of the nation He loved so much and had so abundantly blessed (2 Chronicles 36:15–16):

15) The LORD, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through His messengers again and again, because He had pity on His people and on His dwelling place.

16) But they mocked God’s messengers, despised His words and scoffed at His prophets until the wrath of the LORD was aroused against his people and there was no remedy.

The grim reality is that there is a point of no return in a nation’s rebellion against God.

And thus, in the final days of Judah, God told Jeremiah not to even pray for his nation (Jeremiah 7:16 and 14:11). In like manner, God told Ezekiel that even if the most righteous men who had ever lived — Noah, Daniel and Job — were to intervene for Judah at that point in time, their prayers could only deliver themselves and their families, but not the nation (Ezekiel 14:12–16).

The power of repentance can be seen in the history of our nation. In the midst of our civil war, in March of 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called for a “day of national humiliation, fasting and prayer.” He said he was motivated by the fact that through “the confession of the nation’s sins and transgressions in humble sorrow,” the Lord would show the nation “mercy and pardon.” Lincoln reminded people that the “Holy Scriptures” promise that “those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln

He then proceeded to make one of the most insightful spiritual statements ever put into words by a President:1

And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.

And, insomuch as we know that, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war, which now desolates the land, may be but a punishment, inflicted upon us, for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole People?

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self–sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.

Lincoln ended the proclamation by calling on all Americans to set aside the day of Thursday, April 30, 1863, as “a day of humiliation, fasting and prayer.” He urged them “to abstain on that day from their secular pursuits and to unite at their several places of public worship…”

Can you imagine an American President issuing such a proclamation today? Members of Congress would undoubtedly introduce motions for his impeachment, based upon his violation of “the separation of church and state.”

Our nation has secularized and paganized so quickly since the 1950s that most Americans today could not even conceive of a President calling the nation to prayer. Yet many did so, and some even offered public prayers themselves.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Take Franklin Roosevelt for example. As the D–Day landings were taking place on the French beaches of Normandy in June of 1944, President Roosevelt led the nation in prayer via a national radio broadcast. The prayer lasted 3 minutes and 36 seconds and included these words:2

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph…

I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts…

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country…

Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.

Audio copies of this great prayer can be found all over the Internet. I urge you to find a copy and listen to it. It will thrill your soul. Yet, when the World War II Memorial was being planned for the mall in Washington, D.C., the Obama Administration successfully opposed any mention of the prayer or any quote from it.3

Earl Warren

Earl Warren

Another example of how far and how quickly our nation has strayed from God can be found in a speech given in 1954 by Chief Justice Earl Warren to the National Prayer Breakfast. Warren was the former Governor of California and was appointed Chief Justice by President Eisenhower in 1953. Warren had this to say about the heritage of our nation:4

I believe no one can read the history of our country without realizing that the Good Book and the spirit of the Savior have from the beginning been our guiding geniuses. Whether we look to the first charter of Virginia or the Charter of New England or the Charter of Massachusetts Bay or the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the same objective is present — a Christian land governed by Christian principles.

I believe the entire Bill of Rights came into being because of the knowledge our forefathers had of the Bible and their belief in it…

I like to believe we are living today in the spirit of the Christian religion. I like also to believe that as long as we do so, no great harm can come to our country.

Again, can you imagine a Supreme Court nominee today speaking such words? He would be dismissed as a religious fanatic who was unworthy to serve our nation in the judiciary.

Or, consider the unanimous Supreme Court decision rendered in 1892 (Holy Trinity v United States) in which the Court stated that our nation was not only historically and culturally religious, but that its very system of government and laws was based on a Christian worldview. The Court declared, “This is a religious people… this is a Christian nation.”5

One hundred and fourteen years later, in 2006, President Obama joyfully and proudly declared, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”6 He could have also added that we have become a nation of pagans.

There is no doubt that we have jettisoned our Christian heritage in favor of a society dominated by secularism and paganism. And we are reaping the consequences as we witness the moral collapse of our society.

The Warning of Romans Chapter 1

In Romans chapter 1, Paul tells about how God deals with a rebellious nation He has blessed. If the nation persists in its rebellion after it has been warned by prophetic voices and remedial judgments, God will step back and lower His hedge of protection and allow evil to multiply (verses 22–25). The result will be a sexual revolution, like the one that occurred in our nation in the 1960s.

If the nation ignores this judgment, God will step back a second time and lower His hedge of protection even more. This will produce a plague of sexual perversion in the form of homosexuality (verses 26–27). We began experiencing this at the turn of this century.

If the people continue to refuse to repent, God will step back a third time and deliver the nation over to a “depraved mind” (verses 28–32). That is where we are today. Just consider, for example, the two photos below that were taken recently at demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

Demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Demonstration in Washington, D.C.

Our Continuing Rebellion

June 26, 2015 is the day our nation’s fate was sealed. That was the day our Supreme Court decided to legalize the abomination of same–sex marriage. In the process, the consenting judges decided to ignore our Constitution, disregard 2,000 years of Western civilization, and hold God’s Word in contempt.

Repentance is the only thing that can save our nation — not Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or any other politician. But how can repentance take place when sin is so entrenched and even celebrated?

Our wound has become incurable. We can no longer hope for survival as a nation when we are thumbing our nose at God and holding His Word in open contempt.

Consider again the ominous words of the prophet Nahum (Nahum 1:2–3):

2) The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The LORD takes vengeance on His foes and vents His wrath against His enemies.

3) The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished…

Hope

Individual Hope

The only hope we have left is the individual hope that God’s Word gives us when we accept His Son, Jesus, as our Lord and Savior.

That hope is great beyond words, and I cling to it in faith, reminding myself daily that while all the world is mocking God and His Word, He sits in Heaven and laughs — not because He does not care, but because He has the wisdom and the power to orchestrate all the evil of Satan and Man to the triumph of His Son (Psalm 2:1–9).

Maranatha!

Notes

1) Abraham Lincoln, “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” www.
abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm.

2) FDR Presidential Library, “Franklin Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer,” http://docs.
fdrlibrary.marist.edu.odddayp.html.

3) Todd Starnes, “Obama Administration Opposes FDR Prayer at WWII Memorial,”
www.foxnews.com.

4) Roger Schultz, “A Christian America: Earl Warren and Our Christian Roots.”
http://chalcedon.edu/faith-for-all-of-life/the-resurrection-5/a-christian-america
-earl-warren-and-our-christian-roots.

5) Justia, “Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States 143 U.S. 457 (1892),”
https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/143/457/case.html.

6) Sojourners, “Transcript: Obama’s 2006 Sojourners Call to Renewal Address
on Faith and Politics,” https://sojo.net/articles/transcript-obamas-2006-sojourn
erscall-renewal-address-faith-and-politics.

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