Apologies for the dearth of posts lately. Non-blogging life has been busy, and remains so (all good). Thanks for your prayers and e-mails. Despite a tight day once again, the following has been pressing on me for some time. In light of additional news, e.g., this article at WorldNet Daily, today, I’m overwhelmed. This just has to come out. May the Lord use it as He wishes, blurring into obscurity that which is not of Him.
ISAIAH 6:9 Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ 10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” 11 Then I said, “How long, O Lord?” And he said: “Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, 12 and the LORD removes people far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. 13 And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.
ZECHARIAH 7:9 Thus says YHWH of hosts, “Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.” 11 But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. 12 They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that YHWH of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from YHWH of hosts. 13 “As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear,” says YHWH of hosts…”
ACTS 7:54 Now when they [the Jewish leaders] heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him [Stephen]. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
In an important sense, a nation is a body. From the same root, we get terms such as ‘corpus‘ (“the body of a human or animal especially when dead”) and ‘corporate,’ “of, relating to, or formed into a unified body of individuals”.
It seems pretty obvious that the United States of America, more than most countries, was founded on such a premise of being one body, made up of diverse parts. E.g., our coinage (‘E Pluribus Unum,’ — “out of the many, one”) or the pre-pre-amble to the Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…
(Note that the word ‘united’ wasn’t yet capitalized as it referred to a body in the process of becoming unified, not to the name of a country already unified. So too the term ‘congress’ refers to another, even more intimate unification, e.g., as in marriage. Note also that the number thirteen, in scripture, is universally associated with, “rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea”.)
Legally, a country’s embassies are the sovereign soil of that nation. (In a grander sense, of course, the soil of all nations is under the Sovereignty of the Most High God, YHWH.) Embassies, though far-flung, are part of the nation’s main body, connected to it in important ways via the rules of diplomacy.
To continue the analogy, embassies can be considered the extremities of a corporate national body — its fingers and toes, as it were. When I first saw the Obama flag pictured above (and well before I’d seen the picture connecting it to the Libyan embassy), I wrote to a friend that the phrase which popped into my head when I saw the five-bar finger-paint flag was: “dragged kicking and screaming”. Sadly, that was more true than I imagined, as this photo from the US embassy in Libya portrays:
Indeed: consider the events which took place at various U.S. embassies, e.g., Libya, on 9-11-12 and beyond, some knowledge of which I’m going to assume. In effect, the extremities of our national body were injured, in a few cases, severely. Both literally and figuratively, we were bloodied.
Many explanations for that national injury to our extremities have been offered. One of the most compelling, in my view, stems from the president’s refusal, just hours earlier, to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his nation’s hour of dire need under threat from Iran, choosing to meet with celebrity entertainers instead. I do not mean that that was the cause in a temporal sense, but in the sense of continuing judgment by YHWH.
Now consider something else.
The disease of leprosy, portrayed frequently throughout the Bible, is a chronic bacterial malady of increasing insensitivity, starting in the extremities — the fingers, toes, ears, nose, etc. As the disease progresses, the victim loses feeling, and even vision. Because of that insensitivity, he or she will succumb to a variety of garden-variety mishaps (e.g., stubbing toes, burning on a hot stove, cuts, scrapes, etc.)… thing which would cause a healthy person to wince in pain and seek immediate treatment and cause them to avoid the hazard in the future.
It’s hard to read scripture for very long before it becomes apparent that God chose to use leprosy as a parable for the hardening of hearts — i.e., for increasing insensitivity to the Living God, and a resulting inability to learn spiritual things. Passages such as Romans 1 and 2nd Thessalonians 2 make plain that God gives people up to their own sin and delusion when they persist in it. (Why didn’t He choose any number of other diseases besides leprosy, without characteristics so parallel to the spiritual lack of feeling He confronts in an unbelieving and rebellious world? Because that’s precisely the point He was making.)
Now consider the plight of this allegedly ‘Christian’ nation, the USA. Culturally and socially, Americans are often accused, e.g., by Europeans, of being crude and insensitive. I’m not sure that’s entirely true or fair, but stereotypes usually come about a the result of some grain of truth, so I’ll concede it for the sake of argument.
As a democracy, our leaders are reflection of our knowledge, beliefs and aspirations, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch, I don’t think, to suggest that our nation, and our president, are insensitive to the special place which the land of Israel and the Hebrew people enjoy as a result of the unconditional and thus irrevocable covenants God made with them. (Even many who support Israel do so for reasons other than faith and trust in YHWH and His Word.)
What I’m suggesting is that one evidence that our nation — our united, corporate body — is already under the judgment of YHWH is that, in the last few few weeks, we have shown clear signs of national, spiritual leprosy.
Let’s look at another kind of insensitivity:
“When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there. Now I feel an obligation, not pressure but obligation, to make sure that we’re in close consultation with the Israelis—on these issues. Because it affects them deeply. They’re one of our closest allies in the region. And we’ve got an Iranian regime that has said horrible things that directly threaten Israel’s existence.” (President Obama, on 60Minutes, last night)
ISAIAH 66:6 A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of YHWH that rendereth recompence to his enemies.
In addition to the above, the president’s remark reminds me of Joshua 6 when, we might assume, the residents of Jericho (the city with the most formidable walls in that region, at the time) felt secure in their stronghold, mocking the silent circling walks which the Hebrews were making around their proud city, sure that the loud shouts the faithful made near the end of that week were of no consequence to them or their business inside the city.
A more complex story-line involving an anti-Israeli force blocking out the ‘noise’ in their camp comes in 1st Samuel 4. At first, Israel’s ‘noise’ emboldens the Philistines they defeat Israel. Later, however the tables are turned when Israel returns from their own insensitivity to YHWH.
As scripture makes plain, there is but one cure for either kind of insensitivity by any person or nation: Christ Jesus. May more individuals confess, repent, turn to Him and be healed. May revival break out in ways and places which give Him glory, making clear that only He can take credit.