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Written by Jim Jordal   
Wednesday, 01 April 2015

HOW DOES A NATION TURN TO GOD?

By Jim Jordal

We hear much from TV evangelists about “turning” to God as individuals, but not much about doing the same as a nation. There appears to be vast confusion over what God expects from us as a nation. We’re quite clear on God’s expectations for individuals, but with the nation everything changes. Would personal salvation for a majority of our people constitute a turning to God? Would reinstituting prayer in public schools, or inscribing Bible quotes in the facades of public buildings be sufficient? Would  new Christian public holidays, or beginning all public ceremonies with prayer be enough? What exactly would constitute a national turning to God?

Christian conservatives rightly claim that all of the above would constitute respect for God and a turning, or perhaps more accurately, a re-turning to him. But do these practices, desirable as they may seem, actually constitute national turning to God? I think not. I’ve had fairly heated discussions with evangelicals who believe that if all Americans were born again, then by definition we’d have a nation turned back to God. But does being born again guarantee that a person will both heed and actively obey biblical principles of justice and righteousness? My experience is that I’ve heard born again Christians actively oppose biblical laws for the nation by including them under the ceremonial and sacrificial laws superseded by Christ. At the same time they support and propagate government political and economic actions in direct violation of God’s law. So there’s more than individual salvation involved in national turning to God.

Scores of Bible passages indicate that God is not satisfied with superficialities, rituals, and religious ceremonies if and when they substitute for simple obedience to his commands.

A nation turns to God when its public policy becomes congruent with God’s word. When its legislative bodies debating legal issues consider what God says and how the laws they propose will affect the people---not the wealthy and powerful, as now; but the poor, humble, voiceless, and discarded majority that merely wants to raise families in peace and with justice, as the prophet Amos says, “running down like water.”

The prophet Hosea puts it this way: God says, “I have written for him (Israel then; God’s people and nations now) the great things of my law, but they were considered a strange thing.” To me, the best example of the great things of God now counted as strange things would be the Jubilee principles for national justice and welfare found mainly in Leviticus 25 and Deuteronomy 15. These profoundly moral and ethical principles are actually a Divine operating system (computer talk), for the coming Kingdom of God on Earth.

If wisely and fairly administered, Jubilee principles would end involuntary poverty and other forms of human servitude, including the virtual debt slavery now being visited upon millions of student debtors. It would institute ethical treatment of the earth and its resources, would inspire a business attitude of producing for use rather than profit, and would initiate periodic rest for humans, domestic animals, and the earth. And it would begin the ethical (not equal) distribution of the world’s resources and wealth to all persons as stakeholders in the earthly gifts of God.

National turning to God would mean that we substitute his law and will for our own (how can anyone view the mess we have made of virtually everything and still say that we don’t need God’s law?).  Moses in Deuteronomy 4:8 indicates the greatness of God’s law when he advises: “ What great nation is there, that has statutes and ordinances so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?”

Again and again God reveals the greatness of his law for the nation. Yet we continue to “count it as a strange thing.” But adverse circumstances will succeed where preaching and advocacy fail. We will as a nation turn back to God. The only question is when, not if!