• Pastor Dan

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything

in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below...

For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God...

(Exodus 20:2-6)

When I was young, there were some guys who tried occasionally to "date" two girls at the same time. Of course, dating in Junior High at that time was pretty innocent. You didn't really date; you just exchanged notes in class (usually through a mutual friend) and held hands on the way home from school. So guys could get away with "dating" two girls at once for a while. But there was a term for these guys. They were called two-timers.

You might get away with two-timing for a while in Junior high, but it certainly doesn't work in a marriage. Marriage is designed to be an exclusive relationship. The same is true in our relationship with God. God desires an exclusive relationship with us. God hates two-timing.

During the Old Testament days, the nation of Israel was often guilty of two-timing. God called it idolatry. God clearly prohibited idolatry in the Ten Commandments. The prophets preached against idolatry. And, God judged Israel for their idolatry.

It's a good thing idolatry isn't a problem in America. Right? Or is it? By definition, an idol is anything to which we devote our highest affection and devotion. With that in mind, let me suggest a few potential American idols.

Many Americans seem to worship a false-god today named, "technology." People devote much of their time and attention to televisions, computers, tablets, video consoles, and smart phones. Other Americans bow down to the idol of entertainment and leisure. Weekends were made for fun, right? Others worship the human body. They regularly worship at local shrines called fitness clubs. And many Americans sacrifice children on the altar of personal rights. We call it abortion.

One particular idol that has come to the forefront during the Covid-19 pandemic is the false god of science. When the governor of New Jersey was asked whether he considered the constitutional rights of Americans - freedom of assembly and freedom of religion - before imposing strict stay-at-home orders in his state, he responded, "that's above my pay-grade." He went on to insist that he was following the advice of the scientists.

Think about some of the phrases we have heard lately. Follow the science. Believe the scientists. Trust the scientific models. But wait. Aren't those words used in the Bible to describe our relationship to the Lord? We are to believe God, trust the Lord, and follow Jesus.

Here's the problem. While science is an important field of study, and while there are many good scientists today; science is still fallible. Scientists make mistakes, and science is sometimes wrong. Here are three examples that demonstrate the fallibility of science.

  1. Evolution - It's a theory that has never been proven. It's full of holes; yet it is taught as scientific truth in schools today, contrary to God's Word.

  2. Climate Change - when I was young, everyone was worried about an impending ice age; now scientists and politicians are concerned about global warming.

  3. Covid-19 - the scientific models continue to change weekly, even daily.

Science is fallible. It is not the final word. We dare not worship it. While science is good; it is not God; nor is science more authoritative than God's Word. Only God is infallible, and God's Word inerrant.

When you stop and think about it, at the root of all our American idols is the false god of "self." We have elevated man above God, and human wisdom above God's Word.

If we want to see divine healing and genuine revival, America must repent of idolatry and turn back to God. What is the object of your highest affection and devotion? Are you guilty of idolatry? Are you two-timing on God? Or are you truly in love with God?

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  • Pastor Dan

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves

and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(II Chronicles 7:14)

Noah's message from the steps of the ark was not, "God has a wonderful plan for your life." Jeremiah was not thrown into a pit for preaching, "I'm okay; you're okay!" Daniel was not thrown into the lion's den for telling people, "Possibility think will move mountains." John the Baptist was not forced to preach in the wilderness and eventually beheaded because he preached, "Smile, God loves you." And the two prophets of the tribulation will not be killed for preaching, "God is in heaven and all is right with the world." Instead, all these prophets of God preached the same basic message, "Repent."

Repentance is the fourth key to God healing our land. It naturally follows from "seeking God." When people genuinely seek God's face, and catch a glimpse of God's holy character, they become acutely aware of their own sinfulness. When Isaiah saw the Lord in the Temple, his response was, "Woe is me, for I am ruined, because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isaiah 6:5). When Peter miraculously caught a net-full of fish, you'd think he would respond in joy and excitement, and even invite Jesus to be his new fishing partner. But realizing who Jesus was, Peter fell at His feet and said, "Go away from me Lord; I am a sinful man" (Luke 5:8)

So, what is repentance? The Hebrew word for "repent" means "to turn" - turning away from self and sin, and turning to God. And, what must we repent of today? While there are certainly many things from which we must repent, I believe there are three primary sins identified in the Bible that are still relevant today...

First, we must repent of idolatry. Whenever Israel experienced revival, their kings purged the land of idolatry. They tore down high places, crushed altars, smashed idols, and burned Asherah poles. An idol is defined as anything to which we devote our highest affection and devotion in place of God. Some American idols include technology and science, leisure and entertainment, beauty and fashion, money and success, etc. Are there any idols in your life that need to be torn down and crushed?

Secondly, we must repent of immorality. Idolatry in biblical days was often accompanied by rampant immorality. Religious prostitutes and sexual orgies were common in pagan religions. On the other hand, immorality is often practiced apart from idolatry. Is immorality an issue in America? Is it an issue in your life?

And third, we must repent of indifference - complacency, apathy, and lukewarm Christianity. Christians today have become comfortable sitting in their nice homes and nice churches. And comfort easily leads to complacency. Have you become indifferent or complacent?

Genuine repentance begins with confession - an acknowledgement of my sin. Just ask any alcoholic who has struggled for years, lost a job, alienated his family, thrown away all his money, and lost his self-respect. For years, he lived in denial. Then, out of desperation, he finally attends an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. What is the first thing he says at his first AA meeting? "Hello, I'm Joe, and I'm an alcoholic." Honesty and confession are the first steps to healing and recovery. Perhaps, as God's children, we need to follow their example: "Hello, I'm __________ (fill in your own name), and I'm a ­­­­­­­­­­­­__________ (fill in your sin)."

Until we see genuine repentance, we will never experience God's healing and revival!

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  • Pastor Dan

If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves

and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways,

then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

(II Chronicles 7:14)

There is little doubt that America has significantly dismantled its Christian underpinnings in recent years. The Bible has been removed from schools. Prayer has been prohibited in the classroom. Creationism has been replaced with evolution. The Ten Commandments have been banned from the public arena. Christian holidays have been secularized and re-branded. And American history has been rewritten to remove any overtones of a Christian foundation.

Imagine what would happen if Americans began seeking God again? What if our educators rediscovered God's Word? What if our politicians in Washington DC stopped fighting and began praying together? What if business owners and Corporate CEO's rediscovered Sabbath? And, what if our churches stopped entertaining people and restored genuine worship? What would happen if Americans truly began seeking God's face?

Lives would be transformed. Attitudes would change. Morals and values would be revived. Respect for authority and for each other would increase. Crime would decrease. The Golden Rule would reign supreme. In short, America would experience revival - a supernatural healing of our land.

So, what does it mean to seek God's face? Have you ever lost your wallet or your keys? If so, you know what follows - an all-out intensive search to find the lost item. You will literally turn over everything in your house until you find it. Are you that intent on seeking God? I believe seeking God's face involves the following...

First, seeking God involves a deep hunger for God's Word (Psalm 19:7-11). God has spoken to us in His Word. If we are truly seeking God, we will desire to read and study God's Word.

Secondly, seeking God involves a longing for God through prayer (Psalm 42:1-2). While God speaks to us through His Word, we speak to Him through prayer.

Third, seeking God involves a passionate desire to worship God (Psalm 84:1-4). Worship is both personal and corporate. When God's people truly seek God's face, churches will be packed once again with worshipers.

Fourth, seeking God involves a rediscovery of Sabbath (Isaiah 58:13-14). Sabbath (Sundays) are a day for physical rest and spiritual renewal. Are your Sundays used for personal pleasure or do you find delight in spending time with God on His special day?

Finally, seeking God involves a wholehearted devotion to God (Jeremiah 29:13). Not Sunday-only Christianity or half-hearted devotion; but an all-in, wholehearted devotion to God.

Maybe it sounds a bit far-fetched to believe that Americans might seek God once again. Or is it? Perhaps through this Covid-19 pandemic, God is calling America back to Himself. It has to start somewhere. Why not with you and me?

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