The Hard Truth

Doomsday preaching is not my style. I hate it when preachers and politicians scare the life out of people and then say, “Trust me to keep you safe.”   I see that as manipulative, and yet … there is a sharp edge to the truth, an inescapable reality that a loving God is also a God who cannot wink at the insolence of evil people. As I see it, America has poured herself a full cup of God’s judgments.

Our greed, our willingness to wage war to exploit the poorer nations of the world, our ‘protection’ of our status at the top of the economic heap, our willingness to sacrifice human life for the sake of convenience are direct challenges to Heaven’s God.  I believe that the prayers of a few, the faithful remnant of those who love and revere the Name, have kept this nation, but now the axe is laid to the root. 

Micah, an ancient preacher, saw these same sins in the Jewish people. He heard the voice of the Spirit and preached that judgment must come. “How terrible it will be for you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry out any of the wicked schemes you have power to accomplish. When you want a certain piece of land, you find a way to seize it. When you want someone’s house, you take it by fraud and violence. No one’s family or inheritance is safe with you around!

But this is what the Lord says: “I will reward your evil with evil; you won’t be able to escape! After I am through with you, none of you will ever again walk proudly in the streets.” (Micah 2:1-3, NLT)  

Some of you may object to using the OT prophet to predict judgment in this era of grace, insistent that the new covenant spares us this kind of thing. You are mistaken. Grace is amazing and God’s patience with us is beyond comprehension. Christ Jesus does offer gracious forgiveness and restoration, but not without repentance.  The NT Testament reminds us that “God cannot be mocked, what a person sows, he will reap!”  Jesus said that if we love Him, we are to ‘keep My commandments!’

Then, too, you may have heard too much gloomy doomy preaching that struck you as insincere and phony. It railed on the dramatic sexual sins of a few while selectively ignoring the greed of the majority, the racism that divided the churches black and white, the war-mongering that devastated nations to enrich ourselves. Micah heard people telling him to shut-up, too.  “Do not prophesy,” their prophets say. “Do not prophesy about these things; disgrace will not overtake us.” (Micah 2:6, NIV)  “If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ he would be just the prophet for this people!” (Micah 2:11, NIV)  America has plenty of pulpits filled with voices that proclaim endless blessings, prosperity as the birthright of those who say the right prayers.

Is it too late to turn things around? Only God knows.  I believe that the Church has lost so much credibility by crawling into bed with corrupt politicians, seeking to protect her privilege, that even the feeble voice of those who truly know and love Christ is lost in the cacophony of evil. In my view the demons of deception hold sway over the land.

Still, I know that God is seeking people with hearts that love Him. He longs for those who have the humility to stand silent before Him. Christian, we need not take to the streets to shout of coming judgment. We do better taking to our knees, praying for clean hands and pure hearts in ourselves. Peter reminds us that “it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (1 Peter 4:17-18, NIV)

In my opinion, the hard truth is that judgment will surely come, though the majority will never see it for what it is, preferring instead to see ‘bad luck’ or ‘natural disaster’ or ‘social consequence.’  The principle stands that when justice is denied, when God is ignored, when Self and greed are worshipped – however a culture does those things – the seeds of destruction are planted that will germinate and bring about its collapse. But, in the rubble and ruin, there can be renewal.

So it is that Micah sees God’s promise. I end with his word, our word from the Word.  “Someday, O Israel, I will gather the few of you who are left. I will bring you together again like sheep in a fold, like a flock in its pasture. Yes, your land will again be filled with noisy crowds! Your leader will break out and lead you out of exile. He will bring you through the gates of your cities of captivity, back to your own land. Your king will lead you; the Lord himself will guide you.” (Micah 2:12-13, NLT)  

Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Be our Prince of Peace, our King of Righteousness. Amen.

_____________

Just As I Am

I wondered how to come to You
I did not dare believe it true
That You regard the orphaned ones
Beloved daughters worthy sons

The broken and the barren too
I heard could find some rest in You
What kind of love in inj’ry’s place
Would leave instead the stain of grace

So I come in sorrow and I come in shame
I come to the cross with my pain


“Just as I am without one plea but that
Thy Blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God I come I come”

The pardon that I found from sin
Spilled out from where the nails went in
My heart will ever more proclaim
I had not lived until that day

O Lamb of God, I come

And I know there is a crown for me
Beyond where mortal eyes can see
And I don’t nod to any man
But offer me just as I am

So I come rejoicing with hands held high
And I come singing words of new life


“Just as I am without one plea but that
Thy Blood was shed for me
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God I come I come”

Nichole Nordeman © 2007 Birdboy Songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Birdwing Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)  CCLI License # 810055

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