It’s been a long couple weeks, but I’m finally getting back on my feet. Turns out that a new thyroid medication was reeking havoc with my fibromyalgia, causing overdose symptoms. Eewww!! Anyhow, that’s done and here I am to thank all of you for your prayers and notes of encouragement. It’s nice to know you’ve got my back. I’ve got some catching up to do, but I hope to make the rounds in the next few days.
I recently had a discussion on a Christian forum I joined earlier this summer. The other party’s most recent post included the following, in reference to the pledge of allegiance, which he insists is a prayer:
Indivisible means we can never be separated from our God who rules over us.
While I agree that individual, born-again believers cannot be separated from God, regular readers who have seen my many, many posts about various aspects of church and state will know that I don’t count America, the nation, in that number.
At the mini level, “indivisible” was included by Bellamy when he wrote the pledge in 1892, not because our country couldn’t be separated from God, but to reinforce the notion that America is “One Nation which the Civil War was fought to prove.”
At the macro level, while our country may or may not have been formed as “the direct result of the providence of God,” I find it impossible to believe that God is currently directing our government to murder over 50 million unborn babies or thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is an immeasurable difference between God and America, and I believe strongly that we will be required to choose which is first in our lives.
As so often happens when an issue is at the front of my mind, I came across a reference that applies. I’ve been reading an excellent series at Herescope by Pastor Anton Bosch, who has long held my respect, titled The Money God. The whole series is worth your time, but in Part III, The Political Kingdom, here is part of what he had to say:
Throughout the 3-year ministry of Jesus, his disciples and the multitudes who followed Him, expected Him to establish a material, political Kingdom. It is likely that a number of the Twelve followed Jesus because of this expectation. Several of them were of the party called the “Zealots.” Simon is specifically named a Zealot (Luke 6:15). And in addition there is evidence that Simon Peter, John, James and Judas (Iscariot) were all Zealots. According to the first-century Jewish historian Josephus, the Zealots were one of the political parties of the day. (The others were the Pharisees, Sadducees and the Essenes – the Zealots had broken away from the Pharisees.) The Zealots were on the extreme right of the political spectrum, and they were called Zealots because of their zeal for national Israel and their hatred of Roman domination.
Throughout the ministry of Jesus there is evidence that the Twelve expected Him to establish a material Kingdom immediately: “they thought the Kingdom of God would appear immediately” (Luke 19:11). In response, Jesus tells the parable about a nobleman who went away to receive a Kingdom, thus indicating that He had to go away, receive His kingdom, and then return (Luke 19:12-27). The request by James and John, through their mother, for the second and third positions of political power in the Kingdom (Matthew 20:21) was also based on the anticipation of an immediate, literal Kingdom.
Jesus frequently tried to discourage the Twelve, and others, from thinking about the Kingdom as a literal and material Kingdom. Sometimes He did so by inference, teaching that the Kingdom was made up of the meek and that the greatest in the Kingdom were little children. But He also demonstrated unequivocally that he had not come to remove the Romans. This He did by paying taxes and teaching obedience to the Romans (Matthew 5:41), even allowing them to crucify Him. But Jesus also taught very specifically that the Kingdom would be taken from the Jews and given to others (Matthew 21:43), thus removing all doubt about a revival of the state of Israel.
Matthew 21:43 caught my attention:
Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
This brought to mind this passage:
If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (Romans 11:16-23)
God does not love Americans more than He loves the Jewish people. It is pure arrogance to think that America can never be separated from Him.