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Is Jeremiah Speaking to Us Today?May 29, 2023
During the time that the prophet Jeremiah heard his call to be a prophet of God, the Hebrew people were asking an important theological question, “If our God is so powerful, then why is Israel in such a sad condition, with Assyria turning Israel into a puppet state for over 100 years, and Babylon threatening destruction, are Assyria and Babylon’s gods more powerful than our God?”
Jeremiah answered that God was not weak, but the people were sinful, and their sin made the country weak. In Jeremiah 2:4-13 the religious leaders, lawyers, politicians, and prophets are all condemned for their dishonesty in leading the people. Jeremiah makes it clear he believes that a nation’s spiritual and religious faithfulness will determine the strength of that nation. In the face of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon, this speck of a nation would be strong politically, if it was faithful to God religiously. God had not abandoned them; they had abandoned God.
As Israel forgot who watched over them, have we also forgotten, as a nation, in whom we trust? I do believe that Jeremiah’s prophecies connecting national strength to religious commitment is a timeless truth for all nations. That is why I believe many of the current legal and cultural activities should be of concern to all of us who cherish the freedom we enjoy as United States citizens.
Legally, the clause known as the “Establishment Clause” of the Constitution is being redefined to deny the presence of religious expression in the public arena and religious dialogue in the public forum. The founding fathers clearly intended to make sure our nation would never adopt a state religion, as was the case with the Church of England in England. They never intended for our nation to push for freedom from religion. The legal disputes about the Ten Commandments and other religious expressions being displayed in schools, courtrooms, and public buildings today would amaze the signers of our Constitution.
James Madison, author of the Bill of Rights, said this about the importance of religious faith in the strength of our nation, “Religion is the basis and Foundation of Government… We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God. Religion is the basis and Foundation of Government… (June 20, 1785, From America’s God and Country by William J. Federer). Our founding fathers saw no problem with hiring Congressional Chaplain’s at taxpayer expense, or with opening every session of Congress with prayer. The examples of Christian art and architecture in Washington D.C. and throughout the state capitals of our country are so plentiful and obvious that one must reject our national history to accept some of the modern-day interpretations of the constitution in removing religious expression from public forums like our schools.
Social scientists say ours is a secular culture, and no longer a religious one. There are certainly signs that this is true, and this should concern us as this quote from Bishop Don Wuerl of Pittsburgh makes clear. He is commenting on the bitter fruit of secular culture as it pretends to replace God, and says, “Secular culture removes moral integrity, self-restraint, and virtue, as it does the mention of God (in public life), and it has nothing to offer in its place. The belief that we can sustain our human society and our communal life simply by the power of externally imposed laws enforced by police and supported by an ever-increasing number of prisons and jails, is baseless. The secular model of life is essentially and ultimately bankrupt. Not by bread alone do we live” (Taken from “American Family Association Journal,” Sep. 1995).
We, as individuals and as a nation, are weak in the face of temptation, and, like the Hebrews, we need God to find the strength and discipline to throw off the yoke of the worthless god of hedonism. Our children need God if they are going to have a chance in the face of drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, crime, materialism, screen addiction and the breakdown of the family. Their future will not come from a godless society. It will come from the one who created them, who has plans for each child and adult’s life. Our hope is in God. May God bless us and our nation.
Do you think Jeremiah’s insights about Judah apply to the USA now? Say a prayer for our nation’s faith in God, and moral and ethical courage in the face of secularism. Ask others to pray with you every chance you get. (To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.org).