Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Insulting God: In God We Trust?

Seventh in a Series

Photo from Stock.xchng by 13dede

Back in Part 1 I made the following assertion which we are finally ready to address:
We insult God when we insist that our nation must officially talk the Christian talk even though it doesn't walk the Christian walk.
Periodically I get emails forwarded to me, pleading with me to "defend our nation's Christian identity" by fighting to keep "Under God" in our pledge; or worrying about whether "In God We Trust" is going to be taken off of our coins.

I shake my head and hit "delete."

God takes His Name very seriously. His Name is holy, never to be used lightly, never to be profaned.
And you shall not swear by My name falsely, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:12)
To misuse His Name is to insult Him, and that's a deadly serious matter.
"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain. (Exo 20:7)

God is not interested in lip service. Nor is He interested in the kind of "honor" he receives only by human customs and conventions. He wants those who name His Name to give him their hearts.
Therefore the Lord said: "...these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men" (Isa 29:13)

In fact, he says that those who pretend to worship Him are actually profaning his Name as much with their insincere gifts as with their idols. Do you think He is any more pleased with our insincere national pledge, or the claiming of His Name on our coins?
"As for you, O house of Israel," thus says the Lord GOD: "Go, serve every one of you his idols—now and hereafter—if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols. (Eze 20:39)

As I pointed out in Part 1, the world looks at what this "Christian nation" does, and judges our God accordingly. The same thing happened when the nation of Israel was scattered because of their sin. Their love for sin had outweighed their love for God and for His Holy Land, and thus they insulted Him before the world.
When they came to the nations, wherever they went, they profaned My holy name—when they said of them, 'These are the people of the LORD, and yet they have gone out of His land.' (Eze 36:20)
Today the nations also say, "These are the people of the LORD, and yet they..." You can fill in the blank with any abomination you like.

Some Christians may believe that God's Name on our money and in our Pledge will act as some sort of talisman, protecting us from harm and guaranteeing God's blessing. But nothing could be further from the truth. Claiming allegiance to the Name of God brings any nation under stricter judgment. It's no different in the secular world. Those who guard our nation's gold reserves at Fort Knox; those who are entrusted with our health; those who care for our children...all of these are scrutinized, and are held to a high standard because of the preciousness of what they deal with. And the Name of God is truly precious. He guards it jealously, and for His Name's sake He will severely judge those who profane it.
But they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said, 'I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.' But I acted for My name's sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were [dwelling] (Eze 20:8-9)
Think soberly, my friends, and with wise judgment. Would it be an insult to God to revoke this nation's claim to be His people? Or is it not far more of an insult to Him when His Holy Name is sullied by association with a godless country which celebrates perversion of every kind, chafes against Him, mocks Him, defies Him, and hates His people?

Ask yourselves this...has God ever wanted the unregenerate to carry His Name? Would that not be as much of an abomination as an unclean, unqualified person carrying the Ark of the Covenant? When God gave His Name to the children of Israel, didn't He command them to walk worthy of it? And doesn't His commandment apply to us as well?
that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you (2Th 1:12)
Is His Name glorified when it's chanted by unbelievers in a memorized patriotic verse? Is His Name glorified when it is written on idols? What is the biggest idol in our nation, if not the almighty Dollar?

Is His Name glorified when people, not even noticing the phrase "In God We Trust" on their money, fork it over by the billions to pay for their vile entertainment, their drug habits, their abortions?

Did God ever ask us to force unbelievers to recite His Name? Did He ask us to put it on our coins? Does He care about formalities performed by those who neither know nor love Him?
"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?" Says the LORD. "I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, who has required this from your hand, to trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them." (Isa 1:11-14)
There's nothing wrong with sincere, worshipful hearts desiring to put a proclamation of faith on coins or in pledges, or anywhere else. But when we demand proclamations of faith from those who are apathetic or downright hostile to God, we are demanding an abomination.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD,
but the prayer of the upright is His delight. (Pro 15:8)

If our nation does not want His Name on it coins or in its pledge, then our nation is not worthy of that Name!

Yes, I would love to see America as a Christian nation. If it ever happens, I will sing and weep for joy as strongly as anyone. But for the sake of the precious Name of the God I love, I will not fight for the preservation of national hypocrisy. I cannot wish to see The Name Above All Names sullied.

If we want our nation to keep the Name of God in our pledge and on our coins, then we must work, and pray, and sacrifice, and love, and serve, and be used by God to help our nation see His beauty and desire Him for themselves. But we are, in many cases, more concerned with seeing our neighbor recite the words "under God" than seeing him saved! We are more worried about what words are imprinted on his money than we are about the fact that his lost soul worships money instead of the Living God.
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (Joh 4:23-24)

But there is one place where God does want to see His Name written.
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. (Rev 22:3-4)
Let us never forget that our nation is made up of individuals. A godless nation is made up of godless individuals. Let us be far more concerned with seeing our neighbor saved, and with someday seeing God's Name on his forehead, than we are with any form of false worship.

Let us stop pretending we live in a Christian nation, and stop demanding that they play along with our pretense. Let us try to make this a truly Christian nation by truly winning souls.

And finally, let us make sure that we ourselves are walking worthy of that Holy Name!


This week's "In Other Words" is being hosted over at Shortybear's place. Please drop by there for links to other entries on "Love Weighs More Than Gold."


LauraLee Shaw said...

Wow, You are a brave and courageous one!

You have made MANY interesting, thought-provoking points here, Betsy. I've often wondered about this, and I was intrigued with your pov on it.

Thank you for causing me to think through this issue. Even tho I'm not a HUGE "cause" person, it certainly sparks the flame for many conversations.

Betsy Markman said...

Thank you, Lauralee!
It's amazing how many things look different to us when we take a God-centered perspective. From a man-centered POV, it becomes a matter of what makes our nation look good, or what makes us feel better about living here. But from a God-centered POV, it becomes totally different. I want to learn to look at life from a God-centered POV, but I've got a long way to go. Your encouragement and prayers certainly help a lot!

Yvonne said...

Wow... everytime I read your blog, I say, "Yes, she's right!" even though I never thought that way before.

I'm also saddened by the way our country pretends to be Christian. I wish that it truly was, but I don't think we can claim that anymore.

My father tells of when they added "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance. It means a lot to him. I wish there were more like my father and other Godly men.

Thank you for writing this.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I was challenged by another devotional writer last night about God's name and the revering therein. Deep conviction welled in my heart, as there have been times when I've uttered his name without realizing the magnitude of his worth. Your post as been the postscript to further my thoughts in the matter and to require me some moments on my knees in confession.

Thank you, Betsy, for continuing to carry the torch as you do. I'm glad to know you, at least in part, and share your strong convictions.


Jess said...

Interesting thoughts, Betsy. I found you on another site and thought I would visit. I am always intrigued by Christian women who take the time to read and think deep.
I also have a husband named John and a son Andrew who is eight years old!

Laurie M. said...

This is an absolutely fantastic post. I'm in agreement with you, though I must say this is not something I've previously given much extended thought to.

I will say this, however, as regards the words "under God" in the pledge of allegience: I look at those words as a disclaimer. I will pledge allegience insofar as our government is not calling me to disobey the gospel. (Which is a whole 'nother can of worms as regards what is done with my tax dollars, etc.) But if those words are removed from the Pledge, I will never recite it again. To do so would be to vow unqualified allegience to an authority besides God.

Tim Brown said...

Couldn't agree more. We are not here to prop up a godless system and whitewash it. We are here to seek that individuals hear the GOSPEL and become regenerate.

I've said it before and I'll say it if I end up rotting in prison for being a Christian; I am a CHRISTIAN first...and I just happen to live in a country called "America" which may or may not have long to live.


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