I have no real doubt that God is calling His Church and this nation to repentance. It is a theme being driven home by scores, maybe hundreds or even thousands of preachers and prophets. There is no uniqueness to this message – but it is one that needs to be shouted by the watchmen who man the walls of our society and culture. The last time we talked about if from the perspective of the individual. Just like Isaiah was, I believe this generation is being called in a special way – to lead the people into repentance. But it all begins with an individual charge. The lesson we have from last week is that God only commissioned Isaiah for his special work once He had shown him the depth of his (Isaiah’s) spiritual poverty. Today we’ll launch out from that point and talk about the state of the nation; why we deserve judgement; and why true repentance is a necessity for the health of the Church and the survival of the nation.
PART II – THE STATE OF THE NATION
“For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.” (Psalm 96:13) “For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28)
We have been a nation adrift for quite some time now. One could argue that it really started in earnest when prayer was taken out of schools in 1962. Some might point to the legalization of the murder of our children with the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. Others might go farther back to when a silent humanist revolution seized control of the education system and led this nation away from its Judeo-Christian foundations. We could even cite such things as the founding of the Federal Reserve, the plunging standards of public morals and the loss of a sense of shame. But I want to look at the time just since 9-11. That was our warning, our harbinger of judgement to come. That was our call to come back.
In a recent talk, Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, who through his book The Harbinger, was so eloquently used by God to reveal the Divine warning found in the events of 911 and those that followed, looked at the situation in this nation since the days of that terrible attack. He describes a country that was called to return to its first love – but refused. We are a people that was given a clear call of God’s purposes – but we have stopped our ears and decided to go our own way. We’ve thumbed our nose at God by overturning His rules for the family and ratifying gay marriage. Buy even changing the nature of what it means to be male & female. Now we are changing what it means to be human with the creation of human / animal hybrids, man & machine hybrids and the scientific quest for eternal life. Demonic possession is on the rise as evidenced by the increased call for exorcisms and even cannibalism is being advanced with a CNN correspondent taking part in the consumption of a cooked human brain in a recent special they ran. Since the attack on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, instead of turning to the God of the Bible we’ve turned away from Him. Crosses have been taken down. Nativity scenes have been banned. Christian businesses have been closed or boycotted when they have tried to adhere to biblical teaching. Immorality has been at first tolerated and then promoted and even celebrated. We’ve turned God’s word upside down. Yet the scripture teaches that His word is magnified even above His Name. (Psalm 138:2)
Johnathan Cahn warns that any nation that has known God and then abandoned Him is racing toward judgement. We have known God since the days of our founding; since Jamestown and Plymouth and President Washington’s inauguration. Cahn again: “If you take part in anything that is under judgment – you will take part in judgement.” Like many others, myself included, the good Rabbi believes that revival will not come without shaking. And the shaking is beginning even now. It is time we leave the Babylonian system that we live in. In the Second Chapter of Joel – The Prophet starts with a warning of coming judgment. “Blow the trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; For the day of the Lord is coming, For it is at and: A day of darkness and gloominess, A day of clouds and thick darkness.” That was verses 1&2. Then just a little farther down, beginning in verse, he gives a call to repentance. God wants to forgive. He wants to bless. That is God’s heart. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.” This is God’s heart!
But if we want to see revival – and we are in desperate need of it: We must expect to play our part. All revivals it seems, start with prayer. They are fueled by the prayers of the saints; the former sinners, of which it can be said, now such were some of you.
Some weeks ago we talked about the Layman’s Prayer Revival of 1857. It was an almost secret revival, in the sense that there is no great historical celebration of its having taken place. But it had great impact nonetheless. You may recall that is was started by a Manhattan businessman by the name of Jeremiah Lamphier at the Old Dutch North Church on Fulton Street in Lower Manhattan. It was a time when the Church was failing. America was far from God and prosperity minded. So Lamphier put out the call. He passed out fliers for weeks. It was a call to prayer at lunchtime on a Wednesday. The first meeting had a rather inauspicious start. It started about a half hour late when someone finally came to join him in the upper room at the church – and by the end there were but half a dozen who showed up. But the next week it had a little more than doubled. And it kept growing each week. Then suddenly financial boom turned to bust. But the prayers continued. As great numbers began to lose their jobs, the meetings exploded. They were praying every day now. All of Manhattan seemed to be praying. Then all of New York. And it spread to other towns and even other countries. Within months the whole city was shutting down every lunch hour to pray. The Holy Spirit was at work. There were numerous salvations. By some counts over a million souls were saved, changing their eternal destiny. That all occurred right before the outbreak of the Civil War that would take so many hundreds of thousands of lives. God’s timing is always perfect. His heart was to save a people that had fallen away from Him in rebellion.
So that sets the stage for both our inspiration and our challenge. Recall when we talked about Isaiah’s vision. There is one part that we really didn’t’ cover in depth. After Isaiah got a real sense of his sin; after he became “undone,” the first thing God did was purge his sin. And then God did something else. He called Isaiah to a deeper level of service. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” And Isaiah responded to the call….It’s all part of the process of Recognition of Sin – Repentance – & – Forgiveness Here’s how scripture records Isaiah’s response: Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) No hesitation….Just a ‘Yes Lord.’
So here’s our challenge – and I’m talking to each and every one of us. Whether a youth, working, a mom or retired, we each have a sphere of influence. I’m asking that you commit a time each week – perhaps an hour to pray for our nation. Pray for protection. Pray for truth to reign. Pray that the Church and the nation will hit their knees, turn from sin and seek God’s face. Pray for our enemies in humbleness. Pray that the Holy Spirit will light a fire of faith in the land. Make that commitment specific. Commit a time and a place. Contact someone to join you. I believe we will be joining thousands of others throughout this land that are hearing the same call. We can and must storm the Throne Room of God with our prayers. The time is short. The Enemy is readying. ““The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) And believe that God will answer our prayer and grant a giant harvest of souls for God’s Kingdom.