Has America Changed Gods?
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Title for today’s message came from Jeremiah 2. I will begin reading in verse 11 and continue through verse 13 - "Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:11-13
This is a sobering passage of Scriptures. Let me set the context for you. Jeremiah is rightly called the weeping prophet. He was called to the prophetic ministry when he was just a youth (Jermiah 1:6), during the thirteenth year of Josiah’s reign (626 b.c.). We are told (1:1) that Jeremiah was the son of a priest from Anathoth, three miles northeast of Jerusalem. In 1 Kings 2:26ff. Abiathar the priest is banished to Anathoth and told not to return to Jerusalem because of his part in supporting Adonijah’s attempt to take the kingship. Because of this, Jeremiah was of a priestly stock that was not well received in Jerusalem even centuries later. Jeremiahs ministry then continued until after the destruction of Jerusalem (586 b.c.). The period of Josiah’s reign was the last high point in Judah’s spiritual history. After finding the book of the law, Josiah instituted vast reforms in worship and stamped out idolatry (2 Kings 22; 2 Chronicles 34). Jeremiah was an ally in Josiah’s reforms, though there is no direct mention of this in this book. When Josiah died at the hand of Pharaoh Neco, it was Jeremiah who led the lament for the dead king at the funeral (2 Chronicles 35:25). After Josiah’s death, Judah quickly declined spiritually and materially until it fell to Babylon in 586 b.c. Jeremiah wept over the spiritual decline and prophesied that Jerusalem’s destruction was close at hand. Jeremiah 36:1-3 informs us that God commanded Jeremiah to record the messages that had come to him from the beginning of his ministry (626 b.c.) to that time, which was the fourth year of Jehoiakim (605 b.c.). So Jeremiah dictated the words and Baruch wrote them down (36:4). Since Jeremiah had been banned from the temple, this manuscript was then taken to the temple by Baruch (36:5-8). When the contents were read, one of the king’s officials heard it and reported it to the king. Baruch was summoned to read it before Jehoiakim, who angrily cut up the scroll and burned it piece by piece (36:23): Then God told Jeremiah to rewrite what had been destroyed. So he rewrote the original scroll, making additions as he went (Jeremiah 32). But the writing probably continued for some time, since Jeremiah lived through the days after Jehoiakim to the fall of Jerusalem and beyond. Thus, the book as we know it evidently was written over a period of time ranging from 605 to around 580 b.c.
The greater part of the book describes the dark days in the Kingdom of Judah. It characterizes the backsliding of Judah and the consequences associated with it.
In the verses that I have used as my text, we see that Judah has changed Gods. They had worshipped Jehovah, the glorious God of the Bible. Jehovah had manifested Himself as The Shekinah, or cloud resting by day and pillar of fire resting by night on the Sanctuary. This was the manifestation of "the glory of the Lord." Turn to 1 Kings 8:11 "So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD." But, the heartbreaking thing is, that the Jews changed their god. We read in Exodus 32:4 "…he [Aaron] received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." It says in Acts 7:41 "And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands." From the Shekinah Glory to a golden calf; do you see how pathetic that is?
Judah had been corrupted by their heathen neighbors, and they broke the first and second Commandment! Israel had exchanged the prosperity, which was God’s reward of obedience, for the calamities, which resulted from idol-worship. Jeremiah refers to that calamity in chapter 2, verses 12-13 – "Be astonished (stunned), O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate (to be wasted or made desolate), saith the LORD. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah 2:12-13
Now, perhaps you are puzzled why I have spent so much time recounting the events of Judah to you in this Independence Day message. It is because, AMERICA IS AT THE SAME PLACE JUDHA WAS IN THE DAYS OF JEREMIAH! They have exchanged the triune God of the Bible for the pagan gods of the unsaved nations. They have rejected the glorious God of the Bible and have set up a golden calf. Our nation is far along in the process of abandoning the God that blessed us with prosperity, and gave us living water, and now we are chiseling out cisterns that are cracked and cannot hold water, and the prosperity and blessings leak away.
Now, there are those who claim America was never a Christian Nation. I disagree. I am not saying that all early Americans were Christians, but I am saying that Biblical Christianity supplied the value system of our Nation. I could cite many thing to support my statement, however time will not allow that, so I will share the following with you. In 1811 the New York State Court, in a ruling by Chief Justice Kent said, "We are Christian people, and the morality of the country in deeply engrafted upon Christianity." President Andrew Jackson said, "That book (The Bible), sir, is the rock on which our Republic rests." John Quincy Adams said, "The Bible is the sheet-anchor of our liberties."
The famous British Historian Arnold J. Toynbee (1889-1975) said that 19-21 major civilizations that had come and gone since man began to form governments. He said, the American civilization is one of five that remain. He point out that almost all had not been overthrown by some outside aggressors, but by moral and spiritual collapse from the inside.
That brings me to General Douglas MacArthur. As a quick aside, in 1907, while on an engineering assignment in Milwaukee, MacArthur used to live in a Hotel where the Grand Avenue Mall stands today. MacArthur insisted, "History fails to record a single precedent in which nations subject to moral decay have not passed into political and economic decline. There has been either a spiritual awakening to overcome the moral lapse, or a progressive deterioration leading to ultimate national disaster."
I am the co-editor of a little Gospel paper called Fellowship. It comes out six times per year and has a circulation of about 40,000. I often quote F. B. Meyer. I recently came something Meyer wrote about sensuality and sexual immorality and how it destroys a nation. He wrote, "There is no sin which will sooner bring about a nations fall. If history teaches anything, it teaches that sensual indulgence is the surest way to national ruin. Society, in not condemning this sin condemns itself."
So, how is the United States of America doing? VERY POORLY! Pornography has permeated our society. In 1973 Americans spent about $10 million on pornography. Today, by some estimates, Americans spend more than $14 Billion on pornographhy. Pornography is considered by many in the investment community to be the new glamour stock of the 21st century according to an article by Dan Ackman, in Forbes magazine.
Did you know that statisticians estimate that 1 of 3 girls and 1 of 7 boys will be sexually molested by their 18th birthday in America today? Did you know that and estimated 20% (one in five) Americans suffer from an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and most of these people are 25 years of age or younger?
There’s more. There continues to be 1,400,000 abortions each year (about 45,000,000 since 1972).
And what about the American family? A single parent runs 50% of all American households. 33% of all births in the USA are to single women. Out-of-wedlock childbirth is not just the leading cause of single-parenthood, it is also the number one cause of poverty among women.
And what about homosexuality? 45% of adults in this country believe homosexuality is an "acceptable lifestyle" thanks to the relentless teaching of the public schools and the liberal media. 85% of high school seniors say homosexuality is acceptable and 86% believe the lie that homosexuality is determined at birth. Now the push is on for same-sex marriage.
The people of our Nation are bowing at The Perverse Golden Calf of Sensuality and have thrown off the sexual restraints of God’s morality as revealed in the Bible. The elected leaders of America are forsaking God. The judges of our courts are forsaking God. It is like it was in Isaiah 59:14 "And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter." Our public educational system is forsaking God. Pastors in the churches of America are forsaking God just as they were in Jeremiah’s day (Jeremiah 2:8; Jeremiah 10:21; Jeremiah 12:10; Jeremiah 22:22; Jeremiah 23:1-2). There was a day in this nation when the Pastors were the conscience of our Nation. In 1831 renowned French historian and philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville made an extended trip across America. He wrote a book about it called Democracy in America. It was an in-depth analysis of American culture, described as "the greatest book ever written on one country by the citizen of another" (The American People's Encyclopedia, The Spencer Press, 1954, vol. 18, p. 873). De Tocqueville believed that religion, the Protestant Christian religion, lay behind America's greatness. He said: "I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power."
The days when America’s pulpits were "aflame with righteousness" are long gone! Popular Christianity does NOT want pulpits aflame with righteousness. They do not want to hear preaching about sin, immorality, Hell, and the need for holiness. They want to laugh, clap their hands, jive to the music and leave feeling good. And, Pastors are giving the people what they want instead of what they need. Why? Because, I believe America is far down the road of changing gods. America is making the same mistake as the Jews of Judah did - "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." America is exchanging prosperity, which is God’s reward of obedience, for the calamities and judgment!
Vote Biblically – Matthew 5:13-14
Romans 13:11-12 "And
that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out
of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we
believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let
us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the
armour of light."