What should we pray for our nation? How should we feel toward our nation? This is and will remain for years to come a difficult question for many.
There is so much to be grateful for as a citizen of the U.S. We have been given, at least until now, the freedom to worship the Lord without hindrance. The government does not attempt to establish for us a state church or a required set of doctrines we must adhere to. This is good. Many men and women have sacrificed their lives and given of themselves to protect the freedoms we have in our nation and to protect other nations around the world from the attacks of others. So, in very many ways, we are children of a rich heritage.
Proverbs 14:34 – Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
The proverb reminds us, however, that what defines a nation is not necessarily its freedom or its past. Instead, what makes a nation great or what makes it a reproach is simply this: righteousness. If a nation can be defined as clinging to God’s righteousness, it is a nation that will be exalted. If it is a nation that embraces sin, it is reproached by the Lord.
With all of the great things that our nation has to offer, we still must ask ourselves the question as to which category in the above proverb our nation falls into. I do not believe that this is always going to be the same for all people across this great land. Nor do I think that this question would be answered the same way all throughout our history. But, for now, where you live, is our nation a nation of righteousness or a nation that embraces sin? What is valued by the people? What is promoted and embraced by the government? What do you see as the direction of the local leadership? What do you see in our national government?
No, I’m not going to go political here. Nor am I going to start sin-listing. What I am going to do is simply say, without qualification, our nation needs repentance. We, as a nation, embrace thoughts and activities that the Lord forbids. We as a people are given to the celebration of things that the Lord tells us we should turn from. We as a nation need grace from God in order to avoid his reproach and his judgment.
So, dear friends, let us add to our prayers today a cry that the Lord have mercy on our people and our land. We should not, however, simply ask for God to ignore our sin. Instead, we should ask him to help us, as a people, to see his kingdom come and his will be done right where we live. We should ask him to help our nation change her policies toward righteousness as defined by Scripture. No, we do not wish to establish a national religion—such has never changed human hearts. But we want to be a people defined as a nation embracing righteousness for the blessing of the Lord.