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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Shocks Mill Bridge, Lancaster County, PA
A train crossing the Shocks Mill railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River, Lancaster County, PA
Click to enlarge

"The Nation That Is Blessed"

Message summary: A consideration of national blessing.

ListenListen to this message on your audio player.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He chose for His inheritance” (Psalm 33:12). “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

We write today’s message as Americans but we encourage our international readers to receive those portions that can be applied, regardless of where you live.

“Blessed is the nation." There are several similarities between the foundations of America and the foundations of Israel (while certainly not denying the very unique place that Israel has in history and God’s redemptive plan). Both are abundant in resources ("a land flowing with milk and honey"), the people (many, not all) had a motivation to serve God, their leadership were men of deep faith who lived by godly principles. They were hardworking and built their nation on the foundation of the Bible. In Israel powerful prophets spoke for God and lived in righteousness. An early description of churches in America referred to pulpits that were “aflame with righteousness”.

"Whose God is the LORD." This is a breakdown in the parallel. Israel could say from its founding their "God is the Lord". America has always had a variety of religions and non-religious people. However there were many early leaders who did follow the Lord and our foundations have many Bible-based principles.

"The people He chose for His inheritance." Certainly this phrase has a uniqueness for the nation of Israel given the special designation of the sons of Israel.

However there are also many similarities between modern America and apostate Israel such as the motivation of ease and economic gain, a disregard of divinely imposed moral restraints, a devaluing of life, the ungodliness of leadership, sin is scoffed at and even approved, good is called evil and evil is called good. Many false prophets spoke against the truth of God in the period of Israel's national apostasy and today we have many false prophets, weak churches and pulpits which have succumbed to liberalism and accommodation with the world.

Years ago I preached a message titled "When A Nation Forgets God" and drew parallels from the period of the Judges (Judges 21:25), the final days of the southern Kingdom (2 Chronicles 36:15-16) to conditions in our own land. That message has aged well and is even more apparent today than when I first preached it!

Most of our readership is comprised of people who indeed recognize these parallels. So today let us refresh our commitment to God and His ways. Let us pray and speak out for God with boldness like the true prophets of old so that we might be hearing it said again in our own day, "Their pulpits are aflame with righteousness".

Here’s an outline of a message I preached years ago on today’s topic:

1) The righteousness that exalts a nation is expressed in a reverence for God. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people He chose for His inheritance” (Psalm 33:12).

2) The righteousness that exalts a nation is expressed in a respect for the Holy Scriptures. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

3) The righteousness that exalts a nation is expressed in obedience to both the commands and prohibitions of God. “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse- the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known” (Deuteronomy 11:26-28).

4) The righteousness that exalts a nation is expressed in recognition of God’s ordained order for society.
  •  Individuals committed to God: “As for me and my house…”
  •  Foundational unit is marriage and the family
  •  Accountability to the Church of God.
  •  A strong nation is made up of strong communities, made up of strong churches, made up of strong families, made up of strong individuals.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we want to live above the fray of this world as a people of righteousness set apart for Your purpose. We forsake the things of this world that bring disgrace to Your holy name and live for the purpose of bringing glory, honor and praise to You, our Father. We pray for our nation, for the turning away from our sins and turning toward the abundant life we find in Christ our Lord. You’ve called us to repentance and to share the good news of salvation to all who are lost. Help our pulpits to be aflame with righteousness. Help us to seek a fresh calling upon our lives to be obedient in this commission from Scripture. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Shocks Mill Bridge, Lancaster County, PA
Ester is standing in an area below the Shocks Mill bridge that we usually see covered with fast moving water.
Click to enlarge

White Cliff of Conoy, Lancaster County, PA
The White Cliffs of Conoy are a popular dating spot for the Plain Mennonite groups!

Cornfield boardwalk, Lancaster County, PA
We are accustomed to riding on the boardwalks at shore points but now we have a long boardwalk through the cornfields. It appears to be for equipment used in replacing power line poles.

Backyard sunset
Last night the clouds were beautiful at sunset behind our house.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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