Racism, police brutality, protests, lawlessness, corruption, injustice, refugee crises, government gridlock, mounting national anger and imminent cultural decline—no matter what political system you side with, most of us are worried about our nation. And with good cause: many of us believe we are watching America cannibalize itself. No matter who you are or what you believe, please take a moment, with both open mind and tender heart, to read Exodus 23. As you do, let God’s Word—his immutable, universal law—convict you of your guilt as a lawbreaker. And may that lead you to repentance. If enough of us do that, we can save America.
The Journey// Focus: Exodus 23:1-9
Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit. If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it. Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent. Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.
This generation of Americans perpetually witnesses lawless acts (and not just by criminals, but by law-makers and law officers), mean-spirited politics, racial disharmony, hatred, name-calling, government gridlock, knee-jerk lawsuits, violent protests, destroyed friendships, instantaneous outrage, national anxiety and general nastiness. So much is this now an American way of life that many of us are seriously worried about the stability, longevity and influence of our nation as the last best hope of the world.
We are in trouble, and only we can fix it, with God’s help. We must create a movement internally that will call a stop to our national cannibalism and return us to the common ground that has made us the envy of the world, imperfect as we have been, for hundreds of years.
The blame for our mess is not to be laid at any one person’s feet—not at President Trump, or Obama, or Bush or Clinton. The blame is not one political party or another—it is not the Republicans or the Democrats. It is not the media’s fault. Secularists or academicians are not to blame. Nor is it right wing nut jobs, shrill Christians or blue hairs from the Tea Party. The problem isn’t leftists, socialists, open borderists or anarchists. The fault is ours. We have met the enemy—and he is us.
Let me be clear: you and I are to blame. If you don’t believe me, read Exodus 23. God gets up in our grill in this chapter and shows us issue after issue where we have not just gone off the rails; we have annihilated his holy law and have deeply offended his righteous character. In unmistakable language, he turns into an equal opportunity offender and goes after us on issue after issue:
- Dishonesty, dissembling, fake news, and flat out lying: “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness.” (Exodus 23:1)
- Pandering for popular appeal, blind loyalty to a political leader, media bias and pushing a false narrative for political power: “Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.” (Exodus 23:2-3)
- Nastiness, the politics of personal destruction, name calling, and argumentum ad hominem: “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it.” (Exodus 23:4-5)
- Social justice, inequality, racism, profiling, judicial activism and a legal system that is biased in favor of the wealthy: “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits. Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.” (Exodus 23:6-8)
- Immigration reform, open borders, religious discrimination and the mounting refugee crisis: “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt.” (Exodus 23:9)
Did God leave anything out? I don’t think so. There is no cultural issue currently dividing us that God’s Word hasn’t already addressed. And when you look at what he has declared with an open mind and a tender heart, you realize that we are all guilty before a holy God who sees through our sophisticated philosophies and convoluted arguments with utter moral clarity. And he stands ready to judge us, or help us, depending on the heart response that we offer him.
Choose your issue: social justice, the refugee crises, identity politics, the death of truth in favor or moral relativism, protests in the streets, lawlessness, national anger, cultural decline, neighbor hating neighbor over the election—no matter what political system you side with, no matter what life philosophy you choose to live by, most of us are worried about our nation. And with good cause: many of us believe we are watching the self-immolation of America.
No matter who you are or what you believe, with an open mind and tender heart, take to heart what God has said as you read Exodus 23. As you do, give God the right to convict you of your guilt as a lawbreaker—his immutable, universal moral law. And make no mistake: you are a lawbreaker. So am I. If not the letter of the law, we have murdered the spirit of the law in our hearts and minds. And may your acknowledgement of guilt lead you to repentance.
What can we do to save America? It might sound simplistic, but I believe it starts with personal confession and repentance. Then comes obedience to God’s law, not man’s opinion or political preferences or cultural philosophies. And when we follow God’s way, he makes some wonderful promises of what life will be like as he leads us into a time of peace and prosperity—which you can read about in Exodus 23:20-33. Among other blessings, our repentance and obedience will be met with his provision of peace:
See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. (Exodus 23:20)
If enough of us do that—repent and obey—we can save America. We really can!