Three years ago, when Life Action Ministries came to my church for revival meetings, I remember someone commenting on Jesus’ messages to the churches in Revelation. “If Jesus wrote you a letter today, what would He write?” he asked.
That question has always stuck in my mind. What would Jesus write to me? To you? To America? To the world?
The past several weeks I’ve been reading through the uphills and downhills of Israel’s history, going through Kings and Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. I read Esther this morning before church.
I never can get enough of the story. You see how even the greatest kings failed, and it humbles you. You see how even the most wicked kings sometimes came to repentance, and it gives you hope. So many times God’s people turned away from the Lord – and so He turned away from them. But then there always came a point at which they realized their trespasses and turned to Him for humility. For a generation or two they would live right. And then fail again. And then be renewed again.
And I suppose that is how it will always be. Nations will rise, nations will fall. Men will turn to God, and their grandchildren will turn away, until a new generation of God-seekers arises. And so the cycle will continue, until the Lord returns to set all things right – and the cycle will at last be complete, with righteousness prevailing forever.
But in the meantime, the cycle continues. How much longer will it last for America, I wonder? Will we repent and rise up again? Or have we reached the point of no return, where even a righteous ruler coming into power, like Josiah in the Bible, can only persuade God to delay His judgment a little longer?
As I read through those Old Testament books, I found myself wondering what God would say to us as a nation. It seemed to me that a good portion of what He said to ever-wandering Israel could apply well to us.
Would His letter to America go something like this?
I brought you out from under the oppression of England, to a land abundant and rich. I tended to you as a mother tends to her child, planting you by the rivers and watering your roots until you became a mighty tree, in whose branches all the birds of the earth made their nests.
But when your heart was lifted up within you, you forsook the God of your fathers. You have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, giving yourselves over to selfishness and greed, immorality and perversion. You have encouraged moral decline and become increasingly unfaithful to me. With your lips you declare Me, but with your works you deny Me. You call evil good, and good evil. Yet you ask Me to bless you!
I have sent men of God to speak to you and warn you of the judgment to come, but you have not heard them. I have sent droughts and floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, and yet you have not returned to Me. Now hear, O America – if you continue to forsake Me, then I also shall forsake you. For your greatness is not your own, but from the LORD whom you forsake.
But if you humble yourselves and repent of your sins, then I will hear you. And you will find Me, if you search for Me with all your heart.
It is not hard to believe that God’s words to America would be quite similar to the ones I’ve written above.
But now I ask a harder question – what would He say to you? To me?
Would His words be harsh?
To the one who calls himself a Christian, hear Me. I know your thoughts, and I know your ways. I see that your heart is not directed after Me. You seek your own pleasure, and not Mine. You are caught up by the cares of this world, too engrossed in your own life to hear what I have to say to you. The Word that you do hear, you do not obey – like a man who observes his face in a mirror and then goes away and forgets what he has seen. You deceive yourself into labeling yourself as Mine, but have you ever stopped to consider what label I would pronounce? Your walk with Me is lukewarm at best, your attempts to please Me half-hearted and vain. Out of the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things ought not to be so! You lie, you covet, you honor yourself more than others, you succumb to greed and laziness and anger. And now My anger is directed toward you.
Remember that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to everyone according to their works. Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Repent therefore, and seek My face, lest I spew you out of My mouth. Cleanse your hands, you sinner; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourself in My sight – and then I shall lift you up. Behold, the time is short: now is the day of salvation. Examine yourself as to whether you are truly in the faith. Test yourself. Do you know whether Christ is really in you – or are you disqualified?
Would such be God’s letter to us? Or would He speak peace and encouragement?
To the one who loves Me above all else, hear Me. I know your thoughts, and I know your works. I know that though you sometimes stumble, your heart is directed toward Me. I see your tears over your sin; I hear your cries of repentance – and I forgive you. I know that you set Me first above all else, and your desire is to love and serve Me always. You delight in My Word and you daily seek My Presence. You abide in Me, and I in you.
Blessed are you, My child, for you are a person after My own heart. Therefore do not fear, for behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. No matter what may befall you here, I am with you, and the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared to the glory that shall be revealed.
I am your Refuge, your Peace, your steadfast Anchor, your Light, your Life, your Savior, your King. And you are My child, and I love you.
What would God write to you?
Perhaps you should set aside some quiet time today to ask God that question. Be still, and let the Holy Spirit speak truth into your heart. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.