The Divided States of America

We, as a nation have just completed another election to decide our President. The election results comfirmed a fact that has become more obvious by the day:

We are a divided nation.

We are not divided over surface issues; if we were, we could overcome that. But, we are divided over philosophical issues – issues that determine the “heart” of a nation. We are divided over abortion, the definition of marriage, our freedom of religious expression and how much government will take from what is earned from the sweat of our brow.

These issues define a nation. Words are meaningless unless our actions and laws back them up. We can say we stand for life but if we don’t legislate its protection, we are not for it. We can say we support marriage but if its boundaries are eroded, then its protection is taken away. We can ask for God to bless us, but if we put those in jail who actively seek His pleasure or we restrict the free exercise of their faith, we take away that individual’s ability to seek God. We can say we support prosperity but if the government takes away what people earn through their gifts and talents, what reward is their for seeking prosperity?

We are at a crossroads. Maybe a little beyond a crossroads. There are a couple of things that we have taken to heart as a people that are causing the problems we see. I’m not saying these are our only two problems, but these two loom large in determining where we will go from here.

I will talk about one this time and another in my next writing.

In the books of First and Second Chronicles, we see the nation of Israel at its zenith. Under David, Israel had a leader who was a man of principle. He was not a perfect man – he made some large mistakes. But, his principles based upon his faith always led him back to the right response for the nation. His faith was not private: it affected everything he did – including the decisions that directly affected his governance of the nation. After David died, his son, Solomon became king. In many ways, Solomon was more talented and qualified to lead than David. He was immensely intelligent, way more so than his father, David.

Now, Solomon’s faith dictated that he not marry anyone outside his faith. To ensure a political alliance, he took the daughter of the nation of Egypt as his wife in violation of his belief system. In an effort to juggle both his faith and his governance, Solomon built his wife a house separated from the palace. 2 Chronicles 8:11 states:

“Now Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh up from the City of David to the house he had built for her, for he said, ‘My wife shall not dwell in the house of David king of Israel, because the places to which the ark of the Lord has come are holy.'”

So, in essence, Solomon “compartmentalized” his life: he was able to separate his faith from his job as leader of the nation. Although their are many excuses for such behavior, it turned out that this was what caused the downfall of Solomon and, ultimately as the nation followed suit, the downfall of Israel.

1 Kings 11:1 among other Scriptures describe to us the outcome of this type of  behavior:

“But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharoah: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites–from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, ‘You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you.'”

Verse 9: “So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from The Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”

We as a nation are compartmentalizing our lives just as Solomon did. We are saying that we are faithful believers, yet in certain situations we make decisions based upon something other than our faith. This separation opens the door for sin to operate in areas of our nation. The outcome is that we have a nation that has laws that are not congruent in their basis for existence and are not applied fairly. In an effort to be fair to everyone’s faith, we lose the very basis upon which we make decisions. The concepts of “right and wrong” come from somewhere. Freedom is enforced in our Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, but when it comes to making laws that govern everyday life, some basis most be used to decide what will be acceptable.

We cannot separate faith and governance. It does not work. Our Founding Fathers knew this.

Our first President said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible”. I know Washington wasn’t perfect – that’s not the point. Neither was David. The point is: we lose our way if we compartmentalize our lives.

If we do not right the ship, it will crash on the rocks. We are headed that way now. God help us to be whole as a nation again!!!!



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