The Bible encourages us to understand the times we live in. In the Old Testament the tribe of Issachar understood the signs of the times: "...the sons of Issachar who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do..." (1 Chronicles 12:32).
We are living in unprecedented times. We are seeing changes take place in America we thought could never take place. I cannot recall a time in my life where the culture calls things that are evil, good, and good, evil. Isaiah warned us against this. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).
Every day I hear of more and more churches and government leaders falling to cultural pressure to make something that is immoral, civil. It's the new way to make something evil, good.
How Did We Get Here?
We got to this place in time through a slow, gradual chipping away of our moral compass over the last 60 years. We are the proverbial frog in the kettle in which the water is getting hotter and hotter until the frog dies, not knowing how hot the water is getting. Each tipping point in culture has moved us further and further away from the foundations of a nation that was founded on God's truths found in the Bible.
Education – in the late 1800s the liberalization of our educational system began to be heavily influenced by the National Education Association, a very liberal union. In 1963 we saw the removal of school prayer. Ever since then we have seen a moral and educational decline. We have seen a removal of the protective hedge over our schools resulting increased violence.
Morality – In 1953 Playboy was introduced to America. This was followed by Woodstock and the Vietnam War. It was a generation that lost its way and moved toward an "anything goes" morality. Later this affected families and we began to see an increase in divorce in America even in the church. This has led to role identity confusion due to the failure in fathering and the increased absence of fathers in the family. Today, less than 48% of households have a father at home.
Gay Agenda - In 1997 Ellen DeGeneres kissed a woman on national television. This led to a new strategy from the gay community. Come out in the open, portray a positive image, go into arts and entertainment and media as scriptwriters and actors and penetrate mainstream by showing healthy gay relationships on TV so that America will be desensitized to their aversion to the gay lifestyle. This was all done by less than 3% of the population to change 97% of the population's attitudes. In the 1980s a book came out called After the Ball. In this book the two Harvard authors admit that no one is born gay.
"We argue that, for all practical purposes, gays should be considered to have been born gay, even though sexual orientation, for most humans, seems to be the product of a complex interaction between innate predispositions and environmental factors during childhood and early adolescence."
Gay leaders would never quote their own book today because their whole premise is built on the belief they are "born that way."
Abortion – Since 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, America has killed 56 million unborn babies.
Christian liberties – In the last 10 years we have seen a proliferation of the removal of Christian liberties. Holding a Christian worldview is now being characterized as hate speech. We are moving to a time when it will be against the law to teach what the Bible says about sin.
Recently I attended the 2014 Council on National Policy in May. George Barna conducted a survey among conservatives in America. Here is what he found in May 2014:
- 84% said they are concerned about the future
- 99% said the country is headed in wrong direction
- 99% said the government is doing too much
- 90% said they are angry about the state of America
- 94% said morals and values are declining
- 71% said they are ready to engage in creating significant change
Is It Too Late for America?
There is no doubt we are currently experiencing judgment in America for our sins. One of the ways we see God exercise judgment on a nation as modeled in the Old Testament is He gives a nation a leader that is reflective of the moral condition of the people. We certainly see that in America these last several years.
Can this be turned around? What is the Biblical precedent? We find it in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleaded with God on behalf of Sodom. God said if there were but 10 righteous in the city, He would spare it. Evidently, there were not. He destroyed the city.
Is there a remnant in America that is willing to stand in the gap? I believe there is. But the water is getting very hot, and we are losing our window of time.
God is looking for you and me to stand in that gap. "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30). We must raise up leaders in every major sphere of culture to stand in the gap for our nation.
It is clear what we must do individually. "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).
Don't Lose Hope! Understand the Stockdale Paradox
We are in a time that is worthy of being reminded of how we must approach this season in our nation. Admiral Stockdale, an 8-year prisoner of war says it well: "This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."
We must recognize the serious war over our nation at this time. But we must realize we do win in the end. Can the remnant bring revival to a nation that desperately needs it? Prayer is the starting point. Raising up leaders in areas of influence is the action needed.
I believe God going to raise up a Joel's army in the last days. And I believe it will be birthed through the marketplace. God says His people in the marketplace will beat their plowshares and pruning hooks into instruments for a spiritual war in the last days. Are you ready to engage?
Proclaim this among the nations:
"Prepare for war! Wake up the mighty men,
Let all the men of war draw near,
Let them come up. Beat your plowshares
into swords and your pruning hooks into spears;
Let the weak say, 'I am strong.'"
Assemble and come, all you nations,
And gather together all around.
Cause Your mighty ones to go down there, O Lord.
Os Hillman is author of Change Agent and the TGIF: Today God Is First daily devotional. Visit marketplaceleaders.org for more.
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