Dan Popp
Where is the call for "humiliation, fasting and prayer"?
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By Dan Popp
July 16, 2015

    In times of impending calamity and distress; when the liberties of America are imminently endangered by the secret machinations and open assaults of an insidious and vindictive administration, it becomes the indispensable duty of these hitherto free and happy colonies, with true penitence of heart, and the most reverent devotion, publickly to acknowledge the over ruling providence of God; to confess and deplore our offences against him; and to supplicate his interposition for averting the threatened danger, and prospering our strenuous efforts in the cause of freedom, virtue, and posterity. – The Continental Congress, March 16th, 1776
At several crisis-points in our history – since before the United States was a sovereign nation – when faced with "times of calamity and distress," America's leaders have called us to humble ourselves before God, repent of our sins and seek His blessings. Our forbears called these Days of National Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer. We have stripped out the Humiliation, though the Bible is emphatic that "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (See Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6 and 1 Peter 5:5) We have dropped the Fasting. And our collective Prayers are the half-hearted mutterings of religious formalism.

I submit to you that this is a time of great national danger. As Ruth Graham said decades ago, "If God doesn't judge America, He will need to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!" And we have experienced just a taste of that divine wrath in the ensuing years. What may lie ahead for the once "shining city on a hill" is too frightening to contemplate.

Where are the calls for America's Christians to drop to our knees and seek God?

Obviously such a call should not come from our cowardly and unrighteous Congress. And it would be almost blasphemous to hear such a call from President Obama – who lit the White House in the colors of the militant homosexual movement to celebrate another crack in of one of society's last foundations. Most obviously of all, this call cannot come from a fat, proud, prayerless nobody like me. The call to national repentance is going to have to come, I believe, from well-respected and uncompromising Christian leaders. The more the better. It should be a Day, and many Days, when America stops, and falls to its knees.

Christians, this is our fault. This national descent into the abyss couldn't have happened if we had been the "salt and light" that our culture needed. We have heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 until we are weary of it – but we haven't done it. If My people who are called by My name will 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. (NKJV)

My people who are called by My name – that's us, the "Christ ones." From their wicked ways – not the wicked ways of the sons-of-the-devil who lead the charge into darkness and demand that we call it "light." Our wicked ways. I will heal their land – and it was once "our land." It may still be "our land." It has certainly been our responsibility. And we've failed to do our job of preserving righteousness as the standard of this country. We have allowed "liberty" to be confused with license. We have been complacent. We have been corrupted.

In 1841, President John Tyler proclaimed: "When a Christian people feel themselves to be overtaken by a great public calamity, it becomes them to humble themselves under the dispensation of Divine Providence."

Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War in 1863, said,
    It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions, in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord. ...

    We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
This pattern is repeated in the Bible as well as the history books: From humble beginnings to prosperity; from prosperity to pride; from pride to destruction. But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked; You grew fat, you grew thick, You are obese! Then he forsook God who made him, And scornfully esteemed the Rock of his salvation. (Deuteronomy 32:15)

There is only one remedy. Let us pray like Daniel.
    Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

    And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land.

    O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day – to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You. O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets.

    Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem. As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth. Therefore the LORD has kept the disaster in mind, and brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which He does, though we have not obeyed His voice.

    And now, O Lord our God, who brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and made Yourself a name, as it is this day – we have sinned, we have done wickedly! O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate.

    O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
    (Daniel 9:3-19)
If American Christian leaders don't step up and make this call, couldn't we infer that it's because God is done with us, and that the last window for repentance has already closed?

© Dan Popp

 

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