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Blessed is the Nation

by David Johnson

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)


     It is good to be together again as we look into the Word of God. The lesson from the Bible is entitled, “Blessed is the Nation.” And our text is from the Old Testament, Psalm 33 verses 10 through verse 22.  Let’s listen to the Word of God.

     “The Lord foils the plans of the nations. He thwarts the purposes of the peoples, but the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind. From his dwelling place he watches all who live on the earth. He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do, no king is saved by the size of his army. No warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance despite all of its great strength. It cannot save. But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love to deliver them from death and to keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope of the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in you.  This is the Word of God.”

     Last fourth of July was the 238th national birthday of our Declaration of Independence and freedom. We have all heard lately what is bad about America, but, instead, let’s focus on what is good about America, because it is not all bad.

     In Psalm 33 and verse 12 it says: ‘Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance.’ Of course, this refers, in context, to the nation of Israel, the Lord’s original covenant people. But we are going to make application in this Psalm 33 to America, which has been and can be blessed as a nation whose God is the Lord, the same Lord of Israel, and through the Church in America we can be and are part of his inheritance also, to inherit eternal life with the Lord today through Christ Jesus our Savior.

     But this blessing is not automatic to any nation. Our God must be the Lord of the soul of America. Our God must be our Lord. That is, our people in the Church. It begins with us. Submission not only to his being our Savior, but submission to his lordship over us.  It begins with believers, with Christian households in America with us individually, and as a church body and our impact upon the nation as a whole in a positive, godly sense. And not all is negative, even spiritually, regarding Americans versus all the peoples and nations on the earth today.

     For example, America and Americans lead the nations in acknowledgement and belief at least in the existence of the one true God of the Scriptures. More Americans believe in the existence of God as revealed in Scripture than any other nation followed by Poland and Ireland, according to multiple surveys of its citizenry. So we are at least a God- believing nation in his existence, although we also need to earnestly seek him and receive today Christ as personal Savior and Lord.  Our presidents still usually place their hand on a Bible as they take the oath of office of the presidency. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower, our 34th president chose to place his hand on the Bible actually an open Bible on Psalm 33:12, this very passage as he took the presidential oath of office in 1957 symbolically seeking to lead for God’s blessing as he is Lord even of a president, a leader of a nation. Even foreign dignitaries have acknowledged America as a blessed nation under the one and only true God.

     For example, the ambassador Charles Malick from Lebanon, which is a nation north of Israel back in 1959 stated these words, and I quote:  The good in America would never have come into being without the blessing and power of Jesus Christ. I know how embarrassing this matter is to politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen and cynics. But whatever these honored men think, the irrefutable truth is that the soul of America is at this best and highest, Christian, end quote. And that is from a Lebanese Christian, even an ambassador to America, but a Lebanese Christian in the spiritually tortured Middle East.

     Whether the 1950s or the 21st century, the Lord remains the Lord of all including the Lord of all the nations, the Lord of history and the Lord, today, of his Church through Christ Jesus.

     Note Psalm 33 and verse 10 where it says: The Lord foils the plans of the nations. He thwarts the purposes of the peoples. In spite of world current events, the Lord remains sovereignly in control. It may seem like that at times, but the Lord is sovereignly in control of everything that happens either in his permissive will or, as he initiates his will according to his plan.  Much that is wrong is simply taking its natural, carnal course, because of the general depravity of mankind, of the nations and even of the leaders of nations for the most part. Nothing happens that becomes human history without the Lord allowing it.

     But not all has been bad. America celebrates her 238th birthday because God foiled the plans and the purposes of King George III of Britain at the time the most powerful monarch on the earth. But the Lord remains the King of kings. However, in contrast to man’s shaky plans, the Lord’s plans and purposes amplify his sovereignty. 
     In Psalm 33 and verse 11: But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever. The purposes of his heart through all generations. With the Lord’s blessing America was able to set up a government ruled by law, by the people, for the people, dedicated to the guarantee of certain unalienable, basic rights, which is still the envy of all the nations on earth. America is still the freest nation on the planet.
     Thomas Paine, a Christian and a writer... actually, Thomas Paine was not a Christian. But he wrote these words, quote: The revolutionary war of independence contributed more to enlighten the world and to diffuse a spirit of freedom and liberty amongst mankind than any human event that ever preceded it. 

     In Psalm 33 and verses 13 through 15 the summary is that the Lord sees all, watches all who live on the earth. And it is because the Lord forms the hearts of all, guiding our intentions and our attitudes and our motivations.  It is the Lord who considers everything, what everybody does.  The Lord always goes before us accentuating the Lord’s all knowing, all powerful ever presence, his omniscience, his omnipotence and his omnipresence. So the Lord knows and sees all even in the year of our Lord 2014.  Even with America’s serious internal struggles with natural calamities, floods and fires and tornados and mudslides and hurricanes, plus all the feuding politicians, the Lord is still in control.  In spite of our troubles, American still leads all the nations in benevolence, in aid to other nations and even to the sending of Bibles around the world. Yes, the Lord has blessed America with great bounty. America is still the envy of all the nations. America is still the land whereby people flock to our shores. Our inner fiber was built on the foundation of Jesus Christ and the Bible. We in America have a Christian heritage.

     For example, Benjamin Franklin and James Madison stirred the delegates to a constitutional convention in 1787 to pray for God’s guidance and blessing in the framing of our US, United States Constitution.  And also, for example,  John Jay the first chief justice of the Supreme Court stated, quote: Our gracious Creator has provided for us a Redeemer, has opened a way for our redemption and salvation. That is the first chief justice of the Supreme Court. 

     Today America is the sole super power on earth. But we must never forget Psalm 33 and verse 16 that says: No king is saved by the size of his army. No warrior escapes by his great strength.  From the pharaohs to the British monarchs men, nations and empires have fallen. But the Lord reigns supreme above all and only blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. 

     Do you realize that even ancient Israel, God’s original covenant people lost the blessing of God because they left the Lord? They even lost their nation. They were wiped off the map was Israel for thousands of years, because they left the Lord. Even though the modern nation of Israel is once again on the earth, one of the modern nations of the world today and that is because of prophecy, because God is in control of human history and not only human history, but prophecy, that which is predicted. And it has been fulfilled. Israel is a nation again.  And eventually a righteous remnant of Israel will receive the Lord. It is true that today our spiritual fervor in the Lord in America is on the decline, but not only in America. It is on decline across the world in many parts of the world. So what are we as God’s people in the Church, chosen for his inheritance to do? One word.  Faithfulness.  Just as with ancient Israel, so it must be for modern America as summed up in Psalm 33 verses 20 through 22. 

     Note some of the key words. Dear to us also, as Christians, we are to wait in hope for the Lord. As wonderful as America is this is not our final home. As progressive as our democracy is and our freedoms are compared to other nations, it is the Lord who is our ultimate help and shield, not government.

     The fourth of July is a time of rejoicing.  But it pales in comparison to being in him. Our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name in our great God. We do not worship a nation. We do not worship a president. We do not worship a flag.  We worship the maker of all the nations, the maker of the universe. We do not trust the almighty US dollar.  We trust almighty God who offers us streets of gold. So how can Psalm 33 and verse 22 become a reality for us and ours? Namely, may your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord? How can that become a reality for us today in America in whatever nation we are in on this earth? How can this be that we not just be born American or born a native of whatever country we belong to, but be born again by the water and the Spirit, born again Americans, born again people of God regardless of our nationality on earth?  We need to be kingdom citizens. We can say and live and commit as the ancient Israelites did in the book of Joshua chapter 24 where it says that we... we can echo these words, that we will serve the Lord our God and obey him, first and foremost. And, if so, beginning with you and me and our households in the Church, doing our part for one another, witnessing to another generation and then blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.


David Johnson is Minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

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