“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 will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Thomas Jefferson recognized that slavery, as it was practiced in the American South, posed an existential threat to the fledgling new nation for which he and so many others had sacrificed so much.
It wasn’t just the regional divisions caused by slavery or the moral corruption that resulted from a class of aristocratic farmers becoming dependent on the labor of enslaved men. What he feared most was the judgment of God.
In a popular book of his, Jefferson lamented over the existence of slavery in his home state: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”
Jefferson would have been heartbroken, although unsurprised, when the United States of America devolved into a civil war in the middle of the nineteenth century. As brother took up arms against brother in what would become the deadliest conflict in American history, Abraham Lincoln followed Jefferson in seeing God’s providential hand in all of it:
“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said ‘the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether’ [Psalm 19:9].”
The Bible offers an unequivocally direct warning describing what happens to nations that depart from God: “The wicked will go down to the grave; this is the fate of all the nations who ignore God” (Psalm 9:17). This sanction applies to Christian nations especially, as we are told that “to whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48).
With this in mind, we need to make an honest assessment of the state of our nation today. To be sure, America historically was one of the leading Christian nations in the world. But in recent decades, we have progressively drifted from those firm foundations, rebelling against the triune God who has so long given us relative peace and prosperity.
What must we do? All of this should drive us to our knees, remembering the promise given in 2 Chronicles 7:14. God assures us that if we humble ourselves and repent of our national sins, then he will hear from heaven, forgive our sin, and heal our land.
Because of God’s goodness and redemptive mercy, there is still hope for America. And that hope is found only in Jesus Christ.
PRAYER. Heavenly Father, please help this nation recognize the extent to which our corporate faithlessness has displeased you. As a Christian nation, we have dishonored your name. Yet even despite our failings, you have promised to forgive our sin and heal our land if only we come to you with repentant hearts. Forgive us for our transgressions against you, and may you once again be honored among us. In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.