Last week I described how Ferguson was about entitlements and not about justice. Last week was about causes. This week I need to describe the solution for Ferguson. While the proximate cause is a love of entitlements, a commitment to covetousness as a way of life, the distal cause is turning our backs on God. The ultimate and final solution to our problem in Ferguson, and in Washington, D.C., for that matter, is turning back to God in repentance.
Do you want to know where this nation came from? It came from the grace of God and prayer. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying the following during the deliberations on the Declaration of Independence:
We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.
I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.
John Adams reminds us that our nation was designed for a moral and religious people. Our nation comes from God. Our liberty and peace come through prayer. George Washington was quick to remind us of our dependence on God for our peace. Our nation is failing now because it has forgotten our Founders’ admonition.
All unity and peace must come from Christ. The apostle Paul writes to the Ephesians:
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:13-17)
We all are fallen, sinful creatures. We need a cure for our alienation and hostility. Christ is the solution. Our Founding Fathers understood our need. Our present rulers do not.
We have turned our back on God. Our courts have used the First Amendment, an amendment designed to give liberty of religious expression to cause religion to flourish, to remove all faith from our public square. It is no wonder that we are torn by civil unrest. What’s more is that our government has taken on the persona of God. Governor Nixon, almost two years ago now, sought to take the place of the Christ of Ezekiel 22. See his claim here. The President lives this claim out in everything he does.
If we are ever to regain peace, we must turn back to Christ, in our personal lives as well as our public lives. We must ask His forgiveness for our national arrogance. It is time to take up an old practice in earnest, a day of fasting and prayer. It is time for our governments at every level, national, state and local, to declare our humility to God and seek his forgiveness. Our leaders should lead by example. It is time for our chief executives to declare a day to get on our knees and seek God’s forgiveness and then do it themselves. It is time for all of us to return to our churches. And God has promised to act in grace when we do.
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)