America, America: You haven't learned anything!
by Jim Hutson 10/19/2007 / Leadership
We have all heard the old phrase, "While the cat's away, the mice will play." And it seems the longer the time goes by since the ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ to Heaven to prepare our places there, we have been guilty as a people of 'playing'. It seems that we are developing a "Babel" complex again, you know the one..where we think we can decide the path to God. The funny thing is..like the Golden Calf incident of Israeli history, God is standing on the mountainside, His mouth wide open in disbelief at our audacity to thumb our noses at Him. And we're wondering why things are returning to a pagan origin.
A history teacher, my grandmother, told me that "History is learned so that we can realize the mistakes made, the solutions found, and the steps to prevent it from repeating." And yet, we act surprised to find increased discord and disharmony in a world that refuses to acknowledge God's hand.
Remember the Golden Calf experience. Let's step back in time
Moses has been on the mountaintop, spending some extended fellowship time with the Heavenly Father while down below him, the people apparently cannot handle the separation and succumb to the abandonment issues.
Aaron is out of his depth and is convinced to aid them in constructing a more visible "god" to worship. "As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don't know what has happened to him," the people cry out to Aaron, who apparent forgets Moses too. How quickly some leaders, and their work for the Body, can be forgotten!
An image made of gold became the Israelites' focus of worship, regarded as the "gods" that brought them out of Egypt and an wild, frantic orgy of pagan rituals began. After what Israel had experienced since the Exodus from Egypt, it would seem to be something that would take place over months---this concentrated and deliberate turning away from God, but it only takes a few days for the nation to fall back upon its unspiritual influences.
Aaron would later try and distance himself from this idol building, saying the golden calf "just popped out" of the fire and wasn't designed by his hand on behalf of the people he was entrusted to care for.
All in all, this is not an memorable time for the Israelite nation. And we are repeating history today.
According to the latest polls, 98% of Americans are Christian. But is it shallow spirituality, cultural Christianity, or something even more sinister, like false beliefs, that cause issues like abortion, divorce, homosexuality, and same sex marriages to haunt the landscape?
You've an example of a nation forgetting its heritage and reneging on the deal made, because shallow spirituality (the rest are the same thing, to me) is what 95% of Americans have as 'Religion'. The leadership of God's church today are too weak, too 'culturally sensitive', too afraid of offending anyone and everyone to speak out against what the culture believes is what they need. You hear of God's love in the church today, but nothing of God's wrath for sins unrepented. This is what America is experiencing, God's loving wrath against the sins we are committing by the deliberate and concerted turning away from God's gifts upon our nation.
Can you picture your parents coming home to the house being destroyed by a party you were told you couldn't have, but did anyway? Imagine Moses' thoughts of what he came down from the mountain to find. I don't think Charlton Heston put enough emotion into the reaction. Shallow spirituality is what Moses saw when he joined up with Joshua and laid his eyes upon the Israelite camp. God is gazing upon America now, and I'm sure sparks from the lighting bolts are flashing across the sky. Our Heavenly Pappa isn't too pleased with how His children are acting since Christ returned home.
If we go back in the story in the Bible, Moses was told by God during his communion time on that mountain top that something was going on in the people that were left alone. God said, "They are a stiff-necked people." As in time's past, Moses intervened for the people; convincing an impatient God that He should allow time to conform rather than impose a harsh brand of justice. I wonder, as he stood on that mountain side and watch the Israelites committing sinful worship to a pagan idol, if Moses was enraged at the mockery.
God gave us His only Begotten Son, to come to the world so that the price of sin can be paid IN FULL. No more dues, no more accessments on our worth. He did this so that we can return to relationship with Him, working towards our heavenly return. And we are turning our backs on Him.
Can you imagine Moses' reaction when he returned only to find that God was right and the people were foolishly challenging God's justice? Talk about ballistic! We all can recall the Heston portrayal of Moses SMASHING the tablets on the mountainside. Can we expect anything different from God about our own challenge to His holiness, His righteousness? Moses said that the people weren't worthy of hearing God's commandments, let alone try to keep them. The smashing of the Commandments seem to me to be symbolic of the people's decision to cut themselves off from God's voice.
But, the punishment for the people's straying, for their evilness, wasn't over there.
Moses destroyed the calf and mixed the gold powder into water. This, the Israelites had to drink. And a bitter drink it would have been.
Today's Christians are tempted, at times, to emulate this righteous anger that Moses shows on the mountainside and in deliverance of the punishment he could impose. With the landscape of America rapidly approaching the pagan origins of other nations and our immigrant forefather's cultures, it seems to be something that Christians have sought to avoid even the appearance of.. Righteous anger. We wouldn't want to make anyone say "INTOLERANT", or to say that we were being overdramatic, or evengasp..militant in our views, would we?.
We know the end of the story, which was displayed in one of the most famous Hollywood movies regarding the Bible, The Ten Commandments. Moses went back up the mountain and once again asking God to forgive His people. God, being the righteous and holy God He is, forgave the Israelites AGAIN. But God did impose judgment against the Israelites, striking them with a plague "because of what they did with the calf Aaron had made."
Is it any wonder that America is falling to the pagan and heretical religions who claim an open path to redemption, who claim that the past is not where we will find the healing that America requires? That Christianity is labeled heretical while a religion declaring all who disobey its tenants is 'honored'? That Mega-churches are the thing of today because there is no judgment, no ruling on biblical standards, only LOVE. Is it any wonder in the world today that things are increasingly seeking to absolve God of any authority in our lives? Man once again is seeking to be something they were designed to be, gods.
Soon it will come to a day when the judgment of our sins as a nation will be called in for payment. And the simple drinking of the golden calf's powder will not satisfy or justify the withholding of a righteous and angry God to bring judgment upon His children. It will not absolve us of our sorrows at the realization that we knew all along, but decided not to accept; our sinful nature that is against God.
When are we, as Christians and Americans, going to wake up and realize that we have to stand, or fall leaderless into the sin that the Devil works upon our shores this day? When are the Leaders of the Church going to stand, stand, STAND and declare for the Lord instead of for the numberless shallow spiritual people in their pews? When are the new leaders of the church going to realize that they haven't picked up the mantel left by the leadership of old but fashioned their own choice of God's image to present to a people who are easily swayed?
True Christians are left with a feeling of bewilderment, fury, and sense of devastation as they gaze upon the American landscape of our demise. And God smashes His commandments against the stone wall of the mountainside.
Jim is a Senior Ordained Chaplain with Chaplain Service Corp. Answering the call to ministry for the sake of all men, focusing on God, Jim writes and pursues with faith the plans of His Father wherever that may lead. www.chapel-michigan.blogspot.com