Friday, November 18, 2011

Ezekiel, Tyre and the U.S

It always amazes me how much the prophets of the Old Testament have to say to us in American today. Honestly this should be no surprise because we know that the Word of God is "living and active" and even though it was written thousands of years ago it is just a applicable today as it ever was. This morning part of my Bible reading was Ezekiel 27 and 28 which is a lament over Tyre and a prophecy about the overthrow of the king of Tyre. The words of God through Ezekiel are haunting, especially when you look at them in light of where we are in the United States in 2011.

Chapter 27 is a lengthy description of how prosperous and great the city of Tyre was in its heyday. It was a powerful merchant city that had influence and connections all across the Mediterranean and Middle East. Their merchant ships carried all kinds of riches and good across the trade routes and it seemed as if none could touch them. However, we see in verse 27 and following that none of that will stand when God comes against them. It will all be cast into the sea. Chapter 28 is where it gets really scary and even though it is addressed to the king of Tyre the words of the chapter, I believe, speak to us as a nation. Listen to some of the things that God has to say;

Because your heart is lifted up and  you have said, "I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods in the heart of the seas"; Yet you are a man and not God. 28:2

By your wisdom and understanding you have acquired riches for yourself and have acquired gold and silver for your treasuries. By your great wisdom, by your trade you have increased your riches and your heart is lifted up because of your riches. 28:4-5

You will still say, "I am a god," in the presence of your slayer, though you are a man and not God. 28:9

By the abundance of your trade you were filled internally with violence, and you sinned; therefore I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God and I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 28:16

Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings. that they may see you. 28:17

God is painting a picture of a people that He has blessed beyond belief and in the midst of their blessing have turned from the One who gave it. Tyre had become drunk on their own wisdom and riches and God would judge them for it.

There is no doubt in my mind that God has blessed the United States from the beginning. Despite what modern thought tries to say, the people who originally came here from Europe came with the right motives. They wanted to find a place where they could  worship God in freedom and He honored that. Although our forefathers started to slip very early on with the way some treated the indigenous tribes and enslaving people from across the globe, there was still a sense in which the people wanted to honor God with a free nation based on His principles. Unfortunately, history has shown over and over again that with prosperity comes sin and a falling away from God. Now, please do not misunderstand me on this point. God is not against prosperity. In fact, I believe many times He sends it to His people as a blessing. However, we can see from the history of Israel, Tyre and the United States, that when people are blessed with abundance they often start to wander spiritually (Again, this is not always the case).

What happened in Tyre is that the people began to see their prosperity and riches as a product of their own effort rather than the provision and blessing of the Lord. Do I really need to connect the dots between that and the United States today? As a culture we look around at how powerful we are and how rich we are and so we think we have no use for God. Why? Well, according to the anti-religious community its because God is a "crutch" for the weak. Dear me! To bring God down to the level of something we lean on in a broken state only to be tossed away when He is no longer needed, rather than the hand that upholds us in all of our circumstances is a terrible tragedy. God is not a crutch for the weak, He is the strength for the weak making them strong as Paul so eloquently points out. Not only that but, God is God whether we think we need Him or not and when we, in our pride, dismiss Him there will be judgment to follow.

As I mentioned at the outset, none of Tyre's riches or power would save them from the judgment of the Lord. Likewise, all of our power and might will be nothing more than a glistening facade covering a rotten and broken core when God judges America. I can assure of this one thing as much as I can assure you that the sky is blue, God's judgment will come to our land if we continue to "lift up our hearts" and consider ourselves as gods. 1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells us that God is faithful and He will surely do what He has called us to. Yes, He is faithful to equip us and carry us through the things He has called us to but, He is faithful in all things and just as He judged the cities, nations and peoples of old, He will surely judge us today. May we turn our eyes to Him and repent and return to our Lord.

Godspeed,
Christian

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the same feeling and it led me here, the only other person who thinks the same, that's God for you, one way or another you get the truth if you look.