America Needs The Intercession Of God’s People
By Rich Carmicheal
The following passage from the Book of Judges is grievous, not only for what it meant at that time for the nation of Israel, but for how it applies to us in our day as well:
"So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, ‘Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died...’" (Judg. 2:20-21).
Consider first of all what it meant in regard to Israel. The Lord had chosen them "to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples…" (Deut. 7:6). He first entered in covenant with them through Abraham, promising to give him and his descendants the special land of Canaan, and to work through Abraham and his descendants to bless all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3; 17:3-8). He gave Abraham and Sarah the gift of a son, Isaac, and to Isaac, Jacob. After Jacob and his sons had gone to Egypt, and their descendants had become enslaved there, the Lord worked through Moses to miraculously deliver them from their bondage, after which, Moses shared with them: "…because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery…" (Deut. 7:8). Through Moses the Lord had also graciously made His ways and His laws known to the people.
Then, under the leadership of Joshua, the Lord brought the people into the Promised Land and drove out great and strong nations from before them. He was very good to them and gave them a good land – "a land flowing with milk and honey." Joshua recounted the Lord’s faithfulness and love toward them, and declared his allegiance to the Lord: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (Josh. 24:15). The people also responded appropriately to the Lord and served Him all the days of Joshua.
Tragically, however, after Joshua’s generation, "there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods…" (Judg. 2:10-12). This caused the anger of the Lord to burn against them, and He gave them into the hands of their enemies. The oppression they experienced led to severe distress, which in turn led the people to cry out to the Lord to deliver them. However, after the Lord in His mercy would intervene and deliver them, the people would turn away from Him again, and "act more corruptly than their fathers" (2:19). Thus, we read throughout the Book of Judges that the people "did evil in the sight of the Lord" (2:11; 3:7, 12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1). The book ends on the terrible note that "everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (21:25).
What adds to the tragedy of this is the fact that the Israelites had every reason to love the Lord and to walk in His ways. He had chosen them, provided for them, led them and rescued them. He had blessed them with His presence, with His Word and with abundant goodness. He had given them every possible advantage, and yet they turned away from Him and His ways and went after other gods and chose to do what was evil in His sight.
America Is Under Judgment
Sadly, the United States is too much like Israel in such rejection of the Lord and His ways. Speaking as an American, there is no doubt that the Lord has given this country every possible advantage. Ours is a beautiful country with abundant supplies of food, water and natural resources. We are a wealthy country filled with opportunity. We have access to many good things and have the capacity to help other nations. We have enjoyed great measures of freedom and peace within our borders. And most important of all, this nation has a strong Christian heritage, with many Americans through the years honoring the Lord and His Word and His ways.
In other words, God has abundantly blessed this nation and given us every opportunity to know Him and His ways and to experience His goodness. And yet, look at where we are. Like Israel, this nation is abandoning her foundation and turning to other gods and to ungodly ways, growing more and more corrupt. We are a nation in which people are increasingly doing what is right in their own eyes. We have by and large lost our honor and reverence for the Lord and His Word, and are now blatantly doing what is evil in His sight.
As a result, the Lord is allowing enemies within and without to gain an upper hand. We should little wonder why we are experiencing a breakdown in our world influence, our government, our economy, our borders, our families, our schools, our system of law and order, our respect for human life and property, our sense of peace and security, and our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. The farther this nation moves away from the Lord and His ways, the greater the breakdown will become.
The Vital Role of God’s People
Thankfully, the Lord’s desire is not to destroy this nation (or any nation), but to turn the people to Him. He does not want "any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9). The key, however, to repentance and spiritual awakening does not lie with those who are outside of the Lord, but with His people. As the Lord states in Second Chronicles 7:13-14, "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." In other words, when God withdraws His blessing from a nation and allows judgment to increase, it is time for His people to lead the way in the return to Him.
Leonard Ravenhill, in his book Revival God’s Way, states this truth in this way: "Many preachers paint gruesome pictures with statistics on pornography, abortion, crime, murder, divorce, etc., but the time has come when judgment must begin at the house of the Lord. The painful fact is that ‘the salt has lost its savor.’ …I often am asked to pray for the healing of the nation. No! I am praying for the healing of the church. Then the healing of America, Britain and other nations will follow. As the church goes, so goes the world!
"Back to the sackcloth and ashes. With Isaiah we need to plead, ‘Oh that Thou wouldest rend the heavens, that Thou wouldest come down’ (Isa. 64:1). This much is sure, we cannot rend them, and there is no other source of life for us! We must pray."
Though most Herald readers are not from the U.S., I know that many of you are concerned about this nation and are praying for repentance and revival. We deeply appreciate your intercession on behalf of this country. Of course, we know that your desire, along with our desire, is not just for spiritual awakening in the U.S., but in all nations. May the Lord in His great mercy hear the prayers of His people and yet awaken many people in the U.S. and throughout the world to a vital relationship with Him, with the church leading the way!
About This Issue
With all of this in mind, the Herald staff hopes the Lord works through the messages in this issue of the Herald to help lead you, and us, to any needed repentance so that we might more fully humble ourselves before Him and more fully seek His face.
From the Herald Office…
As you are probably already aware, the Herald staff has lost two dear members this year, Christine Ludlow on February 15th and Lois Stucky on August 22nd. Those of us who remain in the office appreciate all of the encouragement we have received from readers, and we ask for continued prayer support as we adjust to the loss of these sisters and co-workers. We give thanks to the Lord for His comfort and for the special help He is giving as we press on in the work.
We also thank the Lord for Aidan, a young man who is now helping part-time in the Herald office. Please pray for the Lord’s blessings upon him and his work. Pray also for the Lord to grant us wisdom as we consider what other personnel may be needed to help with the workload.
While we face this challenging time in the Herald office, we realize that the need for revival and salvation literature is as great as ever. Our prayer, even as was the prayer of the founders, is that the Lord will work through the latter days of this ministry to bring forth even more fruit for His glory than the ministry brought forth in the earlier days. To this end, we ask you to join us in praying for the Lord’s provision of strong and timely messages month after month, for His powerful anointing upon them, and for all of the resources necessary for even greater outreach.
We are very thankful for our interaction with Herald friends, and we hope to hear from you soon.
Herald of His Coming
P.O. Box 279
Seelyville IN 47878