Well, July is finally here and in just a few days we celebrate our nation’s birthday! July 4th is always a good day for us to count our blessings that we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. As July 4th approaches, I would like to share two thoughts with you: 1) God has blessed America! Yes, we have our problems in America. Yes, we have our flaws in America and yes, America is not perfect, but I am happy I live here - aren’t you? God has blessed America in the following ways: beautiful land, beaches, green valleys, farmlands, mountains and the great planes. Thank you God! God has blessed America with a strong spiritual heritage, 52 of the original founding fathers who wrote our Constitution were Christians. So yes God has blessed America with a strong spiritual heritage. God has blessed America with the freedom to speak our minds and worship as we choose.
2) God has blessed America but America no longer blesses God! Pastor Franklin Graham said the following and I believe his statement is right. He says, “America has been blessed by God more than any nation on the face of the earth," When our country was birthed, its foundations and laws, were based on biblical laws and principles." He continued, "We used to be 'one nation under God,' now we're a nation that has turned it’s back on God." "History shows that when nations do this, their end is near.”
Sadly, Pastor Graham is right, America has turned its back on God. In short, America has told God, your principles no longer matter to us and we don’t need you anymore. May I encourage you the next time you get discouraged about America because of the sinful path our nation is on remember the city of Nineveh in the Old Testament! Every time I get discouraged about America I always remember what God did in Nineveh in the book of Jonah and this gives me hope that God can do it again in America today.
When you and I think of Jonah the first thing we usually think of is Jonah being swallowed up by a big fish and how he spent three days inside of it. Yes, this is amazing!! But I am more amazed of the spiritual awakening that took place in the city of Nineveh.
The Lord gave this message to Jonah in Jonah 1:1-2, God told Jonah, “Get up and go the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against this city because I have seen how wicked its people are.”
Watch this, When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach his response was no way, I don’t want to go!! Don’t send me send somebody else I do not want to go to the wicked city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh I believe for the following two reasons: 1) it was a very wicked city. Nineveh was known for their wickedness: they were known for burning people alive, beheading people, torturing people and this city was known for its wickedness. Jonah did not want to go to a city like that.
2) The second reason he did not want to go because he did not like the people of Nineveh because they were Israel’s enemy. Jonah did not like these people. He hated them. He despised the people of Nineveh. We see in Jonah chapter four that the last thing Jonah wanted was to see the city of Nineveh repented of their sins. The last thing he wanted to see was God to show grace on Nineveh. Jonah wanted God to judge Nineveh and destroy the city and its people he did not want God to show mercy on this city or people. Jonah wanted to see God destroy this city. In short, Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because Jonah knew the character of His God, the God he serves is a God of Grace. He knew that the God he serves is a gracious Savior and Jonah did not want God to show His grace on Nineveh he would rather die first than God show grace on people he despised.
Jonah finally obeyed God and went to Nineveh and he preached to them. And watch what happens, the people of Nineveh turned to God through a simple sermon by Jonah, who merely said, "Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!" (Jonah 3:4). And what Jonah feared would happened, happened a spiritual awakening took place in wicked Nineveh. And they people felt remorseful for their sins. Watch this, the Bible says in the book of Jonah between 120,000-600,000 people turned to God and repent of their sins. This to me is amazing. God had mercy on Nineveh. Now watch this, if God can change the hearts of the People of Nineveh, this gives me hope that God can change hearts in America today.
We need to pray as a church that God would send revival again to America!!! Our homes need revival. Our churches need revival. This nation and the world need spiritual revival. Revival starts with you, it starts with me, it starts with the church!! Start praying for people by name. Revival always begins with us!