With Western culture in decline, it’s easy to lose sight of the progress of Christianity. In our near-sightedness, we look at the downward turn of our culture and run around like dispensational Chicken Littles screaming “The Rapture is coming! The Rapture is coming!” We forget that just 500 years ago, the “ancient” Aztecs and Mayans were slaughtering their own people and those they captured by the millions. Even 400 years ago at what became Jamestown, the Powhatan empire was a murderous, heathen, idolatrous, hedonistic, polygamist culture. And yet, God was pleased to bring forth on this continent a people, conceived in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Don’t Miss Cultural Progress
Since that time, slavery has gone from a commonly accepted practice to one that has gone into hiding. Murder is illegal unless the victim has yet to breathe actual air… but even there, abortion has been relegated to a matter of “privacy.” It’s not something that’s talked about. Polygamy is right out and mass public human sacrifice is mostly frowned upon. The Church is growing and Jesus is making His bride all the more glorious day-by-day.
Even when things look bad…
And yet, we still see the horror of sodomite pride parades and rallies, and the pushing of “gay marriage” in an attempt to destroy marriage altogether. And yes, though done in private, abortion still claims the lives of 4,000 children a day. The government has increased taxes to the point that Americans work almost until Independence Day for the idolatrous state. Oh, that we had abided by the ten-percent tithe! Perhaps God wouldn’t have plagued us with the 37% progressive tax.
Go ye and inquire of the Lord for me and for the people, and for all Judah concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of the Lord that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written therein for us.
And yet, Israel was still lost to exile a short time later. After the return to Jerusalem recorded in Ezra, his descendent Ethan penned Psalm 89. Ethan “reminds” God of His goodness to His people.
Once You spoke in a vision, to Your faithful people You said: ‘I have bestowed strength on a warrior; I have exalted a young man from among the people. I have found David My servant; with My sacred oil I have anointed him. My hand will sustain him; surely My arm will strengthen him.’ (vv. 19-21)
Oh, but that’s not all… Ethan goes on to quote what God said about His servant David: “No enemy will subject him to tribute; no wicked man will oppress him. I will crush his foes before him and strike down his adversaries. My faithful love will be with him, and through My name his horn will be exalted. I will set his hand over the sea, his right hand over the rivers.” (By this, He was referring all the other nations… see A House for My Name by Peter Leithart.) Continuing, He said,
He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.’ I will also appoint him My firstborn, the most exalted of the kings of the earth. I will maintain My love to him forever, and My covenant with him will never fail. I will establish his line forever, his throne as long as the heavens endure.
Remembering God’s Faithfulness in a Culture in Decline
Here’s the kicker. Verses 30-32 warn: “If his sons forsake My law and do not follow My statutes, if they violate My decrees and fail to keep My commands, I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging,” and yet He still promises, “but I will not take My love from him, nor will I ever betray My faithfulness.”
When Jesus bar David ascended into Heaven, Revelation 20 tells us, Satan was bound for “a thousand years.” Until the time of Christ, there was one chosen people, the descendants of Jacob. Israel was the seed of the woman; everyone else was the seed of the serpent (Melchizedek, Jethro, Rahab, and Ruth notwithstanding). When Jesus crushed the serpent’s head on Golgotha, descended into hell and then rose again — taking captives in His train — and ascended on high to the right hand of God the Father almighty, the nations from that point were no longer deceived. By the third century, the very Emperor of Rome, Constantine himself embraced Christianity and promoted it in Rome.
Nations are No Longer Deceived
Now Israel is not the only “believing” nation; now all princes and all kings are called to kiss the Son. Indeed, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. But Ethan paints a different picture of how things “are”. Verses 38-45 lament that things are not as God had promised:
But Thou hast rejected and abhorred, Thou hast been angry with Thine anointed. Thou hast broken the Covenant of Thy servant, and profaned his crown, casting it on the ground. Thou hast broken down all his walls: Thou hast laid his fortresses in ruin. All that go by the way, spoil him: he is a rebuke unto his neighbors. Thou has set up the right hand of his enemies, and made all his adversaries rejoice. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in battle. Thou hast caused his dignity to decay, and cast his throne to the ground. The days of his youth hast thou shortened, and covered him with shame.
Kiss the Son, Lest He Be Angry!
Sound like America, anyone? We are a rebuke to the world, our “adversaries” rejoice when we take hits, our dignity has decayed, and our “throne” has been cast to the ground. God has been angry with our country as evidenced by our culture’s progressive rejection of Him, just as He said He would do in Romans 1. Our country has a form of godliness, but as a culture, we deny its power. Our “king” and “princes” don’t kiss the Son.
It’s time we follow Josiah’s lead, rent our clothes and cry out to the Lord in repentance. Satan no longer has the authority to deceive the nations. Let us, God’s children, who are called by His name, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. Then may He be pleased to hear from heaven and forgive our sin and heal our land.
This article was first published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2007.