As I write I’m spending a few days with my youngest son, who just finished college.
He’s extremely blessed to have been granted a job offer upon finishing his degree program, as many college graduates are having a difficult time finding any employment, much less employment in their fields of interest and at salaries they might have expected as graduates.
We’re in Northern Arizona, hiking some of the many trails in the area. Thursday afternoon and night, it snowed about seven inches where we are. But on Friday we managed to find a snow covered trail we could hike up a mountain, and view other majestic peaks in the distance, across a snow covered landscape of Ponderosa Pine forest.
Like many others his age, or any age, my son wants to explore and sample the good things of life. Trying new restaurants, new varieties of foods and beverages, and in general experience life to the full. Nothing wrong with that, as long as it’s done in the proper balance. Though we’re separated by a generation, I haven’t lost many of the interests we share in common.
As we were traveling across the country, I couldn’t help but think of the incredible blessings we in the U.S.A. have been granted as our heritage. We saw huge stores of grain piled high on the ground at a number of grain elevators we passed on the road (cf. “Bumper Grain Harvest Overwhelms Ships, Trains,” December 9, 2013, Reuters.com; “Finally, Kansas wheat is a cash crop again,” theolathenews.com, July 12, 2013).
Besides abundant agricultural productive capacity, the United States continues to enjoy great abundance in other natural resources. Currently the U.S.A. has the largest coal reserves among the world’s nations (“Coal Facts,” www.americaspower.org). Proven reserves of natural gas and oil in the U.S.A. have risen dramatically in recent years (“U.S. Crude Oil and Natural Gas Proved Reserves,” eia.gov, August 1, 2013). And the country has the potential to become the biggest producer of oil and gas in the world by 2017, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (“U.S. to overtake Saudi as top oil producer: IEA,” reuters.com, November 12, 2012). In terms of tapping nuclear energy, the U.S.A. has been stagnant for more than 20 years due to government policy, while other nations are moving ahead (“Googling World Energy Reserves,” Bill Walker, lewrockwell.com). Nonetheless, the country has vast renewable resources, such as forests, and is moving ahead in developing other renewable sources of energy.
Another aspect of our heritage is the incredibly diverse and abundant natural beauty of our country, despite the all too common scenes of cast-off trash, junk cars, and ramshackle, dilapidated shacks and similar spectacles marring the landscape. From anywhere in the country, one doesn’t have to travel far to behold the wonders of God’s creation, in the form of prairies, mountains, forests, lakes, beaches, streams, you name it. As we’ve traveled by automobile and on foot, we’ve been able to enjoy a continuous panorama of such beauty.
Despite our blessings, we are a nation at risk. Already the nation’s fiscal and monetary policies forebode disaster (cf. “It’s Time to Be a Real Christian,” cogmessenger.org, November 16, 2013). But even more ominous are other putrefying sores afflicting our nation’s character.
I’ve not given a lot of time to keeping up with the news in the last several days. But a couple of items did not escape my notice. One was the massive theft of credit card data from a major retail chain. And another was one of the “Duck Dynasty” personalities being pilloried in the media and suspended from the popular television program in reaction to expressing his view that homosexuality is a sin.
The latter is a particularly poignant portrait of how far our nation as a whole has departed from Biblical morality. Public nudity or near nudity, the most egregious obscenities, adulterous liaisons, and so forth, hardly raise an eyebrow, or produce a blush, and are common fare in our media. But to mention the name of “Jesus,” except as profanity, in a television show aimed at a general audience, or for a performer in such a show to label homosexual behavior a sin, produces consternation, condemnation and censure. We have reached the point in our culture where evil is considered good, and good evil (Isaiah 5:20-21).
Those who censure or condemn homosexual behavior as sin are disdainfully labeled “homophobic” by those who would shape the nation’s behavior according to their lawless inclinations. Who came up with such a term? Is anyone, as the term implies, really “fearful” of homosexuals? A sense of revulsion and disgust at a particular type of behavior does not necessarily translate into a “fear” of those who practice it. What we ought to fear, but too frequently don’t, is the wrath of God toward any and all our sins, whatever they might be.
The blessings we’ve inherited are God given. But God can also take them away. And unless our people, along with others similarly blessed elsewhere, repent of our wholesale rebellion against God’s laws, our blessings will be taken away from us.
God promised ancient Israel, as descendents of Abraham, abundant blessings (Genesis 26:4-5), contingent on continuing obedience to his commandments (Deuteronomy 28:1-13). But he warned them that if they departed from his commandments, curses would replace the blessings they had been given (Deuteronomy 28:14-68).
These same warnings apply no less to us today, as recipients of the greatest blessings any peoples anywhere have enjoyed. The Bible warns of a “great tribulation” to befall our people if we do not repent of our sins and rebellion (Jeremiah 8:5-12; 25:5-7; 30:7; Hosea 12:1-2; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14).
The revolting sin of homosexuality, and other sexual sins, may not be the worst of sins. But from top leaders of the government to many levels of society, even in our schools, the homosexual agenda is being promoted. For a nation to give itself over to approving and promoting such conduct is symptomatic of deep spiritual decay and depravity.
Instead of homosexuality and licentious sex, what ought to be honored and encouraged in our society is the concept of being faithful to one mate of the opposite sex, the two sharing their lives together in genuine love, harmony, honor, and peace, becoming “one flesh” as God designed (Mark 10:1-9). All sin, including lying, stealing, idolatry, murder and any other transgression, is destructive to its perpetrators, its victims, and ultimately, to society at large.
It’s very troubling to consider what will happen to our beloved people if we don’t wake up before it’s too late to avoid the calamities pronounced against us if we don’t repent. Is indulging in sin worth the risk, indeed the promise, of losing everything?
Copyright © 2013 by Rod Reynolds
Unless otherwise noted Scripture taken from the New King James VersionTM
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.