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In its history, the United States has committed grave iniquities. Those sins have been discussed here many times, but I would like us to look at one we have not considered: Pride. This pride has resulted in the worship of an idol. I think we will be able to discover the cause of our idolatry in Scripture. It began when we did not glorify God and God alone for the blessings we were experiencing. Instead of giving thanks to God for battles won and prosperity enjoyed, we gave credit to ourselves, our superiority as a nation, our accomplishments, and our governmental system.

The Lord God Almighty is the one who won this nation’s battles, blessed it with prosperity, and gifted our forefathers with the knowledge and wisdom to form the basis of our democratic republic and its freedoms. He sent godly men and women to found our early settlements and bring us the Gospel. The Lord created the North American continent with the geographical advantages that have contributed to its affluence. Many other examples of His blessings could be cited. To sum up, nothing transpired in our history that was not caused or allowed by the Lord God. None of what He has done should be credited to a superior people or governmental system.

This is what the Lord told Israel as He was bringing them into the land He promised:

“Take care for yourself so that you not forget Yahweh your God by not keeping his commandments and his regulations and his statutes that I am commanding you today, lest when you have eaten and you are satisfied and you have built good houses and you live in them, and your herds and your flocks have multiplied, and you have accumulated silver and gold, and all that you have has multiplied, then your heart becomes proud and you forget Yahweh your God, the one who brought you out from the land of Egypt, from the house of slavery…” (Deuteronomy 8:11–14).1

It is obviously true that the United States is not Israel, and that the Lord did not make a covenant with us, bring us out of slavery (quite the opposite for many), or promise the land to its people. However, Asaph, the psalmist, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this truth for all: “For it is not from the east or the west and not from the south that lifting up comes, rather God is the judge; one he brings low, and another he lifts up” (Psalm 75:6–7).

It is God who exalts. It is God who casts down—people as well as nations.

The prophet Azariah spoke this interesting truth to King Asa of Judah:

“And in those times there was no peace for the one going out and the one coming in, for great tumults were upon all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was crushed by nation, and city was against city, for God threw them into confusion by all sorts of trouble” (2 Chronicles 15:5–6).

God raises up and casts down people and nations for His own purposes. He said to Pharaoh, “But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16).

In Egypt’s case, the result of Pharaoh being raised up resulted in enormous, tragic losses, not only for the ruler but for all the people.

The Lord warned Israel that they shouldn’t think that they themselves were responsible for their prosperity. They did so anyway and worshiped other gods.

“And you may think in your heart, ‘My strength and the might of my hand acquired this wealth for me.’ But you must remember Yahweh your God, for he is the one giving you strength to acquire wealth in order to confirm his covenant that he swore to your ancestors as it is today. And it will happen that if you indeed forget Yahweh your God and you go after other gods and you serve them and you bow down before them, I warn you today that you will surely perish. As with the nations that Yahweh is destroying before you, so you shall perish because you would not obey the voice of Yahweh your God” (Deuteronomy 8:17–20).

When Israel forgot God and did not give proper thankful worship, the result was that they went after other gods and bowed down before them. This is what we in the United States have done. This is what I have done. Yes. The Lord is removing this idol of America from my life.

Our government and justice system cannot deliver us from evil. Our weapons and wealth cannot deliver us from evil. Only the Lord can deliver, who rules over all things. Does that mean we should do nothing? Absolutely not. We do what we must and what we think is good and proper. However, the credit for the outcome of it all belongs only to our Creator, Lord, and Savior.

1All Scripture quotations are from Harris, W. H., III, Ritzema, E., Brannan, R., Mangum, D., Dunham, J., Reimer, J. A., & Wierenga, M. (Eds.). (2012). The Lexham English Bible Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. (Brackets removed for clarity.)

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