I wonder how many of you are beginning to feel like me; like I've woken from a long sleep to find myself in a strange place I no longer recognize. I know that, according to the world, I am a citizen of the United States. But I also know that on a higher level, my citizenship is in Heaven. Until recently, I have been satisfied that those two identities could co-exist in harmony. But increasingly, I am coming to understand that compromise is the only way my heavenly citizenship can comply with my national residency -- and my spirit finds that intolerable.
It's hard to believe but it was less than two years ago that I wrote this for my book, Through A Kingdom Lens: Rediscovering What the Church Lost -- "I think we can all agree that, as citizens of the United States, we have rights, privileges, and responsibilities. On a civil and public level, we are called upon to respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others; even if we think they are extreme, outrageous, or morally wrong. We know that if we are born in the United States, we legally belong to this country and we have the rights and protection of this country."
Sadly, I'm not so sure I can say that today. Therefore, my citizenship in Heaven has become that much more precious to me. In fact, my identity and value as a citizen of Heaven is more valuable and costly to me than my recognition as an American. In fact, I find it harder and harder to recognize my native land. It's as if I clearly see the foreign and spiritual influences which are eroding the foundation of our moral underpinning. Our cornerstone of freedom and liberty is being chipped away, and I'm not sure we still possess an imperishable faith in God that will withstand the assault on our way of life.
I can't help but think of what it must have been like for the ancient Israelites to be carried into bondage in Babylon. I know it took approximately 50 years for the fullness of the exile to be completed, but I wonder if they recognized the slow slide of their nation into captivity, or did they willingly allow compromise and disobedience to lead them away from God? The rebelliousness in the House of David continued through Solomon and his son, and eventually led to the tribes of Israel carried into captivity in Assyria and Babylon. They abandoned their covenant with God -- who takes His covenants very seriously -- and their apostasy delivered them into His righteous judgment.
It seems to me that we have followed the same path, ignoring the covenant made by God with men He chose to set the spiritual destiny of this nation. One of these men was John Winthrop, a Puritan and leading figure in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Here are his prophetic words: "Thus stands the cause between God and us. We are entered into covenant with Him for this work. The Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us, as His own people, and will command a blessing upon us in all our ways, so that we shall see much more of His wisdom, power, goodness and truth … We shall find that the God of Israel is among us, when ten of us shall be able to resist a thousand of our enemies.” But there came a warning with this prophecy. Winthrop also said this: “If we shall deal falsely with our God; if our hearts shall turn away so that we will not obey, but shall be seduced and worship other Gods, and serve them, then our blessings will cease to exist”.
It is not difficult to discern those "gods" which are so evident in our society: profit, greed, power, material possessions, lust, etc. The rebelliousness has led to altars being built to worship abortion, sex trafficking, false religions, and more. And it's not hard to see that our blessings are in grave danger of being eradicated. In ancient Israel, the entire national structure of the kingdom, which was thought to be ordained by God Himself, came crashing down. It certainly seems as if we are on the precipice of experiencing such destruction ourselves. As the Bible Project website records, "The event [in Israel] fulfilled centuries of prophetic warnings, as hundreds of years of tradition, culture, and history was destroyed in just one year. This was their Day of the Lord, and it left them absolutely devastated."
Our country is far less established; not yet 250 years old. How much quicker can we be destroyed? And I want to be clear ... we serve a God who remains committed to His promises to us, even as we have been unfaithful to our covenant obligations to Him. So, even in the midst of our despair over the current situation in our nation, I believe that IF God ordains that our national structure will crumble and fall, He will empower a remnant of the truly faithful to carry forth His Word. Although He is a righteous God, whose nature calls for punishment and discipline for the disobedient, He is also a God of compassion and restoration. It is not His will to leave this nation barren and unfruitful. That long-ago covenant has deep roots, and I believe new seeds of holiness can sprout from the ashes of whatever is in store for our future.
Nearly a year ago, I shared a prayer that a Messianic pastor in Israel had written for America. He spoke from his own national history of seeing restoration rise from captivity. He declared that America was birthed out of covenant with the Lord and we have justice and righteousness engraved in our foundation. He declared that the Lord's purposes and dreams [for America] would be fulfilled. Oh, how I pray that his prophetic words will come true! Lord, let me part of the remnant that sees the kingdoms of the world become the Kingdom of God. Make no mistake, I fear it will become worse before it becomes better. But our God never abandons His promises! Let us invite the Most High God to once again establish His statutes, ordinances, and laws in this great nation, and declare that He is our God and we are His people. We stand at a very critical crossroads.... for our nation; for our society and culture; for the world's population; for the Body of Christ. In my flesh, I may feel like a stranger in a foreign land, but my spirit is strong and confident in identifying my true Homeland where my King intercedes for us. Stay committed to your personal covenant with Him, and pray that our time of disobedience is soon over.
Psalm 106:45 And He remembered His covenant for their sake,
And relented [rescinding their sentence] according to the greatness of His lovingkindness [when they cried out to Him],