Understanding Our Times—Knowing What To Do
And of the children of Issachar . . . had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.(1 Chronicles 12:32)
The men of Issachar were astute men who comprehended their day. They understood where Israel stood in history, how they had gotten there, and possessed the wisdom to plot the course for their nation’s destiny.
Our country is no longer at a crossroads, but a long way down the wrong road. It is imperative to get a grasp of our times and how we got here, before we, as God’s people, can know what to do.
The Plight—Understanding Our Times
The more prosperous people become, the fewer children they produce. West Europeans stopped reproducing themselves decades ago. As the population aged, it became necessary to import foreigners to care for the elderly. This, along with the massive immigration of Muslims, has changed the complexion of their society. Because Muslims and immigrants still have children, it is only a matter of time before people of European descent become the minority. Islam will triumph in Europe because of birth rates and the ballot box—not the sword.
America is also on a path to national suicide because the majority is not reproducing itself. Our birthrate has been below replacement level for decades. Coupled with this, over forty five million young lives never saw the light of day since Roe v. Wade made abortion legal.
Due to failure to secure our southern border, one in five Mexicans now resides in the United States. By the year 2050 more than 100 million Hispanics will live in America. Today’s minorities will outnumber today’s majority in the not too distant future. [From a Kingdom standpoint, the mission field has come to us!]
In 1915 Theodore Roosevelt warned, “The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.” Without common language and dedication to uniquely American ideals, the handwriting is already on the wall. To maintain a multilingual and multicultural state will require an authoritarian regime.
How often have we heard the well-known people say “diversity is our strength?” This politically correct statement is, of course, historical nonsense.
Our national motto is E pluribus unum—“Out of many, one.” The fabric of America’s strength resides in our unity, not our diversity. The factors that have fortified our civilization in the past are the things that we share in common: the belief in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. People from all over the world flocked to this country for political, economic, and religious freedom. As one President of a South American country put it; “People came to South America seeking gold, but people came to North America seeking God.”
Since our inception, America has been a place where individuals have been free to live without interference from potentates or an oppressive government. We were founded as a government “Of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Now we are moving toward a government “Of the bureaucrats, by the bureaucrats, and for the bureaucrats.” The will of the people is routinely overturned by the courts and policy makers.
What is a trillion? If you laid one dollar bills end to end, you could make a chain that stretches from earth to the moon and back again 200 times before you ran out of bills! One trillion dollars would stretch nearly from the earth to the sun. It would take a military jet flying at the speed of sound, reeling out a roll of dollar bills behind it, 14 years before it reeled out one trillion dollars!
Some estimate our government’s debt obligations now exceed 200 trillion dollars. With new liabilities being absorbed almost weekly, it will prove impossible to remain solvent.
Fiscal irresponsibility over the last decade is unparalleled in our history. Deficit spending, massive governmental expansion, more entitlements, the increasing costs of policing the world, printing worthless money, and reckless bailouts are resulting in the inevitable devaluation of the dollar.
Simply put, we cannot spend what we do not have indefinitely. The Obama administration has accelerated our economic suicide to warp speed. At some point in the “not-too-distant” future, the dollar will cease to function as the “world reserve currency.” The immoral practices which produce inflation will take their toll and eventually collapse our economy.
The Religious Right is “mad as fire” at politicians. As Christians we must understand that our governmental leaders merely reflect the character of the citizenry they represent. Governments do not produce character, and the less character the people have, the more government it takes to restrain and maintain order. There are no political solutions to spiritual problems.
We are quickly approaching the point where the bureaucrats, big labor, and the “dependent class” will compose the majority. The tipping point will come when illegal immigrants are granted the right to vote. Once that happens, no conservative can be elected to national office in the foreseeable future.
The leadership deficit over past decades is producing catastrophic consequences. One way God judges nations is by removing principled men and statesman. Where are the national leaders who have the insight to evaluate, the guts to articulate, the platform to educate our citizens, and the will to elaborate on the issues that will determine our destiny?
It is not the system that determines the character of a nation. Rather it is the character of the people that determines the nature of a country. John Adams wrote, “Our Constitution was written for a religious and virtuous people; it will serve no other.”
Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, wrote the following in 1787:
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, the nations always progressed through the following sequence:
- From bondage to spiritual faith
- From spiritual faith to great courage
- From courage to liberty
- From liberty to abundance
- From abundance to complacency
- From complacency to apathy
- From apathy to dependence
- From dependence back into bondage
I just returned from Williamsburg, Virginia where The College of William and Mary elected a transgendered individual as Homecoming Queen. The local newspaper referred to Jesse Vasold as a “gender-queer” student. Gender confusion and moral degeneracy are judgments from God. When people reject God’s truth He gives them over to uncleanness, vile affections, and a reprobate mind (Romans 1).
The Ten Commandments are too controversial to display in public places. Isn’t it amazing what lawyers discover and denounce as unconstitutional? You would think the generations who preceded us would have recognized these grievances.
A President who carried on sexual dalliances with an intern in the oval office and lied under oath not only got re-elected, but finished his presidency. A nation who tolerates such behavior in the White House indicates the church-house as a whole has lost its moral compass.
There was a time when the churches were the moral conscience of our nation. One Christian leader touted that America has over three hundred thousand “evangelical churches.” If that is true, then evangelicalism has lost its savor. How the Religious Right can complain about secular corporations giving same-sex couples benefits without condemning the apostate churches who marry them is a mystery to me! Isn’t it time for judgment to begin in the house of God?
“Culture is religion externalized,” said Henry Van Til. People groups live like they do because of what they believe. The way a populace views God has major societal implications. Culture is indeed the outer dress of a nation’s creed.
Cultural degradation is an undeniable proof of a corrupt religion. Consider that not one of the twenty-two Arab states is a true democracy. Tribalized factions are not endowed with the capacity for a democratic state. It is the character of Islamic peoples, formed by their history and faith, which has called authoritarians to power for centuries. The feuding masses must be kept in check by the strong-arm tactics of a dictatorial government.
In our country the “Christian faith” is often little more than a soft, sensual, sloppy reflection of our society with spiritual overtones. We must face the sobering fact that American culture is the outgrowth of our collective faith.
The revivals in by-gone days affected the moral climate in communities and regions. Whenever and wherever God touched down, it always moved the people toward holiness.
America’S New God
Socialists and humanists deify the State by attributing to it god-like powers. Fairness and tolerance are the esteemed virtues in a jaded society. Justice has been replaced by fairness. Achievement is punished and irresponsibility is rewarded. Utopians believe that the playing field must be leveled. Cradle-to-the-grave security is a right granted by the “divine state.” We are broaching the point where the majority of our citizens value security more than freedom.
Life without risks equals slavery. In the former Soviet Union life was devoid of risks. People had jobs, houses, and food. They did not like their jobs, houses, or food; but life in the U.S.S.R. was risk-free. Everybody was equally impoverished and enslaved by a dominating, centralized government.
“Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants,” was William Penn’s assessment. Government makes a poor master.
Freedom cannot be maintained apart from moral goodness. Character counts. The benefits that accompany national character cannot be sustained apart from the decency of its citizens. Alexis de Tocqueville declared, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers and it was not there; in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there; in her rich mines and her vast world of commerce and it was not there; in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Idolatry is a slap in the Creator’s face that comes with built-in judgments. The Bible says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”—and this includes an all-knowing, all-powerful state, and all-providing state.
New World Order
In 1992, Strobe Talbott wrote in Time Magazine, “Within the next hundred years, nationhood as we know it will be obsolete; all states will recognize a single, global authority, and the phrase ‘citizen of the world’ will have assumed real meaning.”
The Plan—Knowing What To Do
Not only did the children of Issachar have the capacity to properly assess the situation, they possessed the wisdom to take appropriate action. That was then, but what about now? What must we as God’s people do when the foundations are destroyed? What should be our focus when our country and culture are in freefall? How do pilgrims and strangers in search of the celestial city navigate the last days on planet earth?
1. Get Right And Stay Right With God.
A Christ-less, cross-less, costless gospel is no gospel at all. Salvation is a commencement, not a climax. The narrow gate of conversion leads you to the narrow way. Your entrance onto the Calvary Road is a life-long quest. “Grace” is the desire and power to obey God. You have everything you need to accomplish your mission. Every sin has been atoned for, and every necessity has been anticipated. Mercy has been extended and heaven’s resources stand ready to be appropriated.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin (1 John 1:7). You walk in the light by keeping the roof off toward God (confession) and the walls down toward men (forgiveness and reconciliation). Keeping current accounts with God is imperative for round-the-clock filling of the Holy Spirit. A burning heart is the primary requisite in any age, especially as we approach the end times when the love of many is waxing cold.
2. Get Your House In Order.
Hezekiah was sick unto death when Isaiah the prophet issued God’s divine challenge: Set your house in order. His earthly life was winding down and circumstances needed to be put right prior to his departure.
Relational breakdown is the tragic fruit of perilous times. Social anarchy is the by-product of covetousness and pride (2 Timothy 3). Parents must be rightly related to each other and their children. You must do everything in your power to get your family “out of the world” and prepared for the world to come.
Focus on the Family’s radio broadcast “Plugged In” rates movies and videos as to their “family friendliness.” I was stunned recently as I heard this program for the first time. Here the host reviewed the video Michael Jackson was working on prior to his death. On the negative side he pointed out the crotch-grabbing antics of Jackson, as well as the immodestly clad women in the video. He proceeded to speak of Jackson’s giftedness and give the favorable points of this video. Finally he concluded by giving this trash a three and one-half out of a possible five-star rating! Any family who is serious about following the Lamb of God should get “unplugged” from this garbage instead of “Plugged In.” In a saner age such nonsense as this could never have masqueraded as Christian ministry.
3. Get Active In Your Church.
“Ecclesia” is the Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament. It means a called-out assembly of baptized believers. Though there are no perfect churches, it is imperative to belong to and support a Bible-believing local church. Hebrews warns: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching (10:25). When Jesus returns you will want to be found in the middle of an assembly actively utilizing your gifts in service through that local body.
Resist the arrogant notion that you and a few other Super Saints comprise an elite remnant. God’s work in this world is more extensive and expansive than any of us realize. Find a church that holds your doctrinal beliefs, practices truth, and is headed in a scriptural direction. Quit over-analyzing and get involved. Do what you can, where you are, with what you have to be a blessing to your fellow believers and pastor. Stop splitting theological hairs and start witnessing to the lost. Avoid theological extremes and keep the main thing the main thing.
4. Get Your Financial House In Order.
Proverbs 22:7 states, The borrower is servant to the lender. Biblical stewardship mandates the overthrow of fiscal servitude. Freedom in financial matters means God’s people must give the Lord the first fruits, live within their means, assist those in need, and get out of debt as soon as possible.
The widow who gave only two mites gave more than all others, because proportionately, she gave all. If giving a cup of cold water will be rewarded in eternity, then you do not want to be stingy in time.
5. Get Yourself At Least One Accountability Partner.
You need someone of the same sex to confide in, confess to, confirm your direction, and cry out to God with in prayer. Practicing the “One Another Commands” is essential to your spiritual health. The early Methodists grew like wild-fire partly due to the rigorous, hot-house environment created by their transparent honesty. The first Christians experienced intense unity. So intermeshed were their lives that the Bible described them as having “one heart and one soul.”
6. Get Your Heart Fixed On Heaven.
It is good to have an informed grasp of our environment without being obsessed by it. Since our kingdom is not of this world, our instructions are clear: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth (Col. 3:2).
I believe we should be good citizens and do what we can to promote godliness in our sphere of influence. But our main job is not to make the world a better place to go to hell from! Being filled with God will do more good than you realize.
Our culture will not be transformed by political muscle. Jesus said very little about “Caesar” and social issues. He preached about an eternal and internal kingdom. Our primary allegiance is to our King and His eternal kingdom.
We are commissioned by God to save lost souls from an eternal hell by preaching the gospel. Focusing on our mission will save us from overdosing on Talk Radio and keep the soul-winning fires burning in our hearts.
Reject the “Defeatism” that has captured the larger part of Fundamentalism. By faith, look beyond what is to what can be. Dare to believe God for mighty outpourings in your life, your church, and your generation. As the world gets darker God’s light can shine brighter. According to your faith be it unto you.
Countdown To Eternity
C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth precisely because their minds were occupied with heaven. It is since believers have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have been so ineffective in this one. Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Time is a fleeting commodity which must be redeemed. Your span on this planet is limited, but your destiny is determined by your decisions. Regardless of what others do, you can be filled with the fullness of God. Every provision has been made to enable you to live on the resurrection side of Calvary. Daily cleansing, daily filling, daily praying, daily encouraging, and daily pointing others to the Lamb will keep the heart fires burning.
JESUS IS COMING AGAIN. Wake up, pray up, get up, lay up, and look up; because pretty soon we are going up! The mandate given in Luke 19 is still a valid game plan for navigating the last days: Jesus said—Occupy till I come.
God, give us a spirit like the children of Issachar— informed and inspired—that we might plot the proper course in these last days. Amen.