One early Wednesday morning a Fresno man called the fire department to report a fire that was sweeping through his home. By the time the firefighters put out the fire, the house’s attic and second story were destroyed. They then turned to the young man who phoned-in the emergency to explain what happened. He stated that the house was not his, but his parents. He was doing them “a favor” by house-sitting while they were gone.
All was well until the young man spotted some black widow spiders. Too afraid to get near them, much less touch them, he used a blowtorch to try to drive them away. He nearly burned the house down in the process. Perhaps, next time, his parents will try their luck at leaving their house vacant.
This is not an uncommon story. In scanning the news each day I’ve run across many such stories. In them people try to get rid of a cockroach, squirrel, or a spider and nearly destroy their home or put themselves in the hospital. They cause immeasurable damage in their efforts to eliminate minor problems.
To me this vividly illustrates what our politicians are doing to America in their quest to achieve power and address its perceived problems. Congress is almost always at odds with the presidential administration. So many exploit the misery of others, intimidate their political opponents, or encourage violent activism. They put a torch to our country in order to, in their own eyes, “save America.” In reality, they are just as foolish and reckless at the man trying to save his parents’ home from spiders by using a blowtorch. If democracy doesn’t get them what they want, then they will resort to any means necessary. They’re willing to sink the ship to save it.
May God save us from this insanity! All people of faith need to pray for America. It’s true that we, believers, are sojourners and aliens in this world. But this does not give us license to wash our hands of it. This world is our mission field and God calls us to be a blessing to it.
In 597 B.C., the Babylonians captured the most skilled and educated of Jerusalem’s inhabitants and carried them away to Babylon. To those exiles from Jerusalem, Babylon seemed like a reprobate and degenerate society. They had nothing but contempt for it. In their eyes, Babylon’s many sins made it “past saving.” So, when they arrived there as exiles, they refused to have anything to do with its daily activities or concerns. They turned their eyes toward Jerusalem and yearned for home. As far as they were concerned, Babylon could go to hell – and the quicker the better.
But God would not allow them to have such an attitude. He commanded the prophet Jeremiah to write them and tell them to carry the burden of Babylon’s concerns. Jeremiah wrote,
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7).
Pray for Babylon – horrible, despicable Babylon? Yes.
For God has called us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And God’s word to His people in America is the same. Seek the peace and prosperity of the nation in which God has planted us – and pray to the Lord on its behalf. For in its peace and prosperity, we will have peace. Look at what Paul the apostle wrote to Timothy.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
We should, therefore, pray for our leaders that God will give them heavenly wisdom to solve our nation’s complex problems. And we should pray that our leaders will make America a safe, faith-friendly, and family-friendly place to live. We should pray that God will heal our divisions and fill our hearts with His peace and love.
Most of all we should pray for an outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit, as He promised to do (Joel 2:28-32; John 16:8-11). In the words of the prophet Zechariah, our salvation will not be achieved by physical force, nor by political action, but by God’s omnipotent Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). Only God’s Holy Spirit can soften and heal our wounded hearts. Only He can open our blind eyes and awaken our conscience to the urgency of the hour and the seriousness of our spiritual condition. For God’s sake, don’t burn America to the ground. Don’t wash your hands of it. Pray for America, seek its blessing, and please vote.
Almighty and merciful Father, You called us, Your people to be a blessing, a witness for Christ, and a force for righteousness in this world.
Although our true citizenship is in heaven, You obligated us to seek this Nation’s peace and prosperity – and to pray to You on its behalf. So, please, dear Father, bless the United States of America. Pour forth Your Spirit upon us. Grant that He will turn our hearts to You in faith and repentance and to each other in love and reconciliation. Breathe a revival across this land and fill our hearts with a hunger and thirst for righteousness – and an abhorrence for sin and perversion. Please heal our divisions and mend our every flaw.
Please, dear Father, raise up men and women of God – men and women of faith and power – to be our leaders in government, to be our educators, our judges, our entertainers, our journalists, and our businessmen and businesswomen. Raise up men and women of God to transform our society so that it reflects the character of Christ.
May Your kingdom come and Your will be done in America as it is in heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.