Sometimes your kids break your heart with the wrong choices they make. Sometimes you even surprise yourself with wrong decisions or poor judgment.
Occasionally, nations and civilizations shock the unbiased observers of history by choosing poorly their leaders and future.
On November 6, 2012, America, as a nation, chose poorly in the U.S. presidential election. We chose a course of judgement over moral and economic renewal, self-interest over self-sacrifice.
Maybe God chose as well. Possibly Hurricane Sandy wasn’t just a “sign,” but rather a divine pronouncement that we must reap what we have sown.
Let’s talk about the hard truth of November 6, 2012
I must admit that I was stunned by the re-election of President Barack Obama. I watched the election results from a friend’s home in Texas where the people of the Lone Star State did their part to point the nation back to God and national sanity.
But as the nation-wide results rolled in across the television screen, my hosts and I watched in quiet disbelief. In state after state, the incumbent president piled up enough wins so that by 10:30 pm Central time, the race had been decided.
Barack Obama would be given another four years.
I spent a sleepless night praying, pondering, and tossing in bed. In the morning, I had a speaking engagement where I opened the proceedings in tears–agonizing over the choice the American people had made just twelve hours before.
Today, the political analysis is beginning. The first article I read by a conservative leader indicated that Mitt Romney was not the right candidate, did not run the right campaign, and that we had better return to standing behind solid-credential conservatives to have a prayer of winning elections.
I don’t buy it. Mitt Romney was a good candidate. The problem is bigger than that.
Another analysis chronicled the media spin in the campaign that may have given Barack Obama the narrow victory he achieved. It’s a well-researched re-cap of media bias.
There’s some truth there–but not the hard truth.
Then others began to explain why many of us thought that Mitt Romney would win. This analysis contained Monday-morning quarterbacking about the 19% youth vote, 13% black vote, and 10% Hispanic vote that propelled the president to victory. Many seers thought these groups would not turn out en masse in 2012.
They were wrong. I was wrong. The president and his advisors did a very good job of dividing the nation, distorting the truth and turning out their constituents
I said many years ago that secularists are much better liars than faith-based people because their morality allows it.
But none of this analysis really describes why Barack Obama won re-election.
The person that came closest to the hard truth was Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly who said during last night’s election coverage that “America had changed.” That we were no longer the center-right nation that we have been for over two hundred years.
That’s why I believe this was not just a lost election. It was more of an indicator of a lost culture that has changed and is no longer worthy of the blessings of Almighty God.
November 6, 2012 may be simply a harbinger of things to come, because, more than anything else, it lays a new foundation beneath the American nation.
A godless one.
You say, “How could that be?” “How could one election be anything more than just a lost battle that can be re-fought four years from now?”
Because nations do reach dangerous tipping points.
Three different situations stand out to me as historical witnesses:
Jeremiah and the Babylonian captivity
Israel’s biblical history is replete with the ups and downs of the Jewish nation–in this case, the southern kingdom of Judah. The nation would have good kings-like David–and then bad ones such as Rehoboam. Godly leaders would rise such as Asa, Jephoshaphat, and Hezekiah, but after their times of renewal, the nation would slide back into evil.
This cycle went on for four hundred years until a boy (Josiah) and a young man (Jeremiah) concurrently participated in a season of revival in the southern kingdom of Judah. You can read the story in 2 Chronicles 34.
But after Josiah died, Jeremiah admonished his nation for twenty more years to not return to sinful disobedience against God. He preached there were four sins of a falling nation that would bring God’s justice: 1) Idolatry–putting other things in God’s place, 2) Perverted religion–dumbing down the true worship.3) Dull consciences–an avalanche of personal sins and vices, and 4) Human injustice–the end result of a society that forgets God’s ways.
Unfortunately for Jeremiah, his ministry wasn’t just a bleep between revivals. Near the end of his life, he realized that the nation had become so bad that a terminal judgement was coming. They would not live to fight another day.
Babylon swooped in–Judah was destroyed–and Jeremiah died in captivity in Egypt.
Jesus and the Fall of Jerusalem
One day around 33 A.D. Jesus and his disciples were walking by the exquisite temple grounds in Jerusalem and his followers commented on how beautiful and seemingly permanent the buildings were. Jesus sadly replied, “Truly I say to you there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down” (Matthew 24:2).
Forty years later, the Roman general Titus destroyed Jerusalem and its famous temple. It took nineteen hundred years for the Jewish people to return to the land–on May 14, 1948. The temple has never been rebuilt.
A mosque sits on the site that was so admired by Jesus’ disciples.
Augustine and the Collapse of Rome
The Roman Republic and Empire lasted nearly one thousand years and certainly seemed a secure civilization until it became overloaded with debt, promoted a life of leisure and amusements, and enslaved half its population.
In the fourth and fifth centuries, raiding barbarians from the north descended to chip away at Rome’s tranquility. In 476, the Visigoths sacked Rome and plunged the known world into the Dark Ages.
When the Vandals had penetrated North Africa in 430 A.D. , the great Latin father Augustine was hoping to meet them. But when they arrived at his house in Hippo, he was already dead.
Rome would never rise again.
That brings us to America in the early part of the 21st century.
There is no question that the United States of America is a God-blessed and exceptional nation. What makes the U.S. unique to history is:
- It began in spiritual awakening and a movement of biblical liberty. No other nation except Israel had such a God-ordained start.
- It’s government and laws were based on biblical ideas–not perfectly–but more consciously and profoundly than any other nation in history.
- It became a beacon of human freedom to the nations of the earth, and millions came to its shores in search of personal freedom.
- It rose to greatness in government, education, business and philanthropy. In the 20th century it liberated Europe and stood down the Soviet Union.
- It’s free economy produced the greatest wealth the world had ever known.
- For over one hundred years, it has been the beacon of missionary advance around the world.
But during the latter part of the 20th century, America lost its way. The Bible was removed from the schools, a youth rebellion challenged many areas of faith, morality and family life, the church began to shrink in influence and charity, and big government began to grow to fill the void.
Yet, until the 1960s, America espoused–whether they elected Republicans or Democrats–a Judeo-Christian view of life, and every president we voted into office professed faith. Every president said he believed in marriage, morality, and was committed to freedom.
Never perfectly or completely—-but the righteous foundations stood.
By the time Barack Obama became an historic president in 2008, the drift toward secularism was growing. President Obama was elected as a man of faith, but he governed as a secular man including his signature issue, Obamacare–a massive bureaucratic take-over of one-sixth of the American economy.
After a few years of his Administration, it was apparent where Barack Obama wanted: to take America toward godless, European socialism.
The only hope for America was renewal of the church, repentance, prayer, and a change of leadership in 2012 that might help direct America back to its original faith moorings. Americans began to pray.
I participated in some of those prayer times as did many of you. We sought God with all our hearts and asked for his mercy upon our backslidden country. Even the aged, reverend Billy Graham took out newspaper adds to encourage Americans to return to biblical faith.
But North Carolina, his home state, just barely voted the biblical line.
Many others did not.
Instead, Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard. Barack Obama saw his poll numbers prop up with a trip to New Jersey and an arm-in-arm photo op with Republican governor Chris Christy.
At the time, we didn’t know that the “October Surprise” was actually an act of God.
Here’s the hard truth: Last night, secularism triumphed in America. A biblically-hostile political party and president won over the American public and altered the American foundation. Obamacare will not be repealed. An avalanche of sin remains in personal and public life. We are staring at sixteen trillion dollars of debt with no will to deal with it. The people like “stuff” from the government. The 47% have become the 51%.
That’s a majority.
I don’t think this was just another election. I think America as we’ve known it may have crossed a tipping point.
God still yearns for our return to Him–but for the moment, he is allowing us to choose our own fate. We have chosen poorly. There will be just, but devastating consequences.
But we must not give up.
I just took a long walk and enjoyed a beautiful, red Texas sunset. Sunsets can indicate the end of a day. Or, as they say, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight.” That means that sunsets can also be signs of great days to come.
The hard truth is that America has changed and it could be fatal. However, another possibility is that our greatest days of revival might be just ahead–albeit, through judgement.
At the moment we’ve lost this nation. A trusted friend of mine believes that America’s demise–and a corresponding global economic collapse–could bring one hundred years of pain and suffering to the world. It could also prompt cries for a world government.
But do not lose your courage. The worst days AND the best days lie ahead.
Jesus said, “I have said these things to you that in me you might have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Let’s accept the hard truth and re-commit to advance God’s kingdom in our nations and world. No matter what happens, our clear and triumphant marching orders remain:
“Occupy until I come” (Matthew 19:13).
Let’s do it with renewed passion.