The Bricks Have Fallen

“The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.” ~Isaiah 9:10

This was the Bible verse quoted by Tom Daschle in his speech to Congress on September 12th, 2001 as part of his official response to the attack of 9/11. Mr. Daschle, in his attempt to make sense of a tragedy and to uplift and encourage others, went to the Bible on the floor of the Senate. You can watch the speech here. This is a practice that has been losing favor over the last couple of generations as our nation steadily moves away from God. 

It is important that we take time to count our many blessings, to think of our nation, and to reflect on the amazing providence that brought her forth onto this planet. It is vital that we also remember the spirit and the focus of that foundation. Our first president said: 
“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” -George Washington
Our nation was founded on the knowledge and understanding that we are placed here to serve God's purposes and to honor and give glory to Him. Sadly, this is not the attitude that our nation is governed with today. Many politicians use God's Word when it suits them but in a nation where we argue about whether or not the laws of God should be allowed to be displayed in our courtrooms, or whether the birth of our Lord Jesus can be allowed to be celebrated on our public grounds, or if we can even mention the existence of God to children in our schools, it becomes clear that we are no longer living in a nation that truly honors God.  

There are many that read these words and celebrate our "enlightened progress" and rejoice that we are no longer so limited in our thinking as to require a dependence on some mythical "higher being". There are many others that, though the profess to believe in God, focus their entire being on their own material wealth, security, and prosperity, accepting or ignoring the moral decay and the outright rejection of God that they see all around them. It is these prevailing attitudes of our society that proves the point that we are in danger of no longer being able to claim ourselves as a Godly nation. I wonder to myself and ponder the question of exactly what it is those that reject or ignore God celebrate on Independence Day. 

When I was an atheist, on the 4th of July I celebrated freedom. I remembered those who through their own strength and courage fought to provide me with the ability to freely gain the material blessings that I had. I marveled at what man can accomplish if he is just freed from the bonds oppression. I celebrated my family, my country, my job, and my stuff. Sure those great men that put it all together, our founding fathers, had some backwards ideas of some God controlling all things but they were to be forgiven that considering all that they had accomplished. I was thankful that I lived in a more enlightened era where we could be certain that we gain all things through our own power, our own perseverance, and our own hard work.   

It is this very attitude of our society and of our government that is portrayed by the verse of the bible that Mr. Daschle chose to use to encourage people on September 12, 2001. The irony is that the context of this verse from Isaiah is not one of encouragement but is rather one of God's condemnation against Israel who turned away from Him, ignored His warnings, and instead of repenting and turning back to God when they were shaken they said:
...with pride and arrogance of heart, “The bricks have fallen down, but we will rebuild with dressed stone; the fig trees have been felled, but we will replace them with cedars.”  But the Lord has strengthened their foes against them and has spurred their enemies on... Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised. But the people have not returned to him who struck them, nor have they sought the Lord Almighty. ~Isaiah 9:9-13
The context makes all the difference. Far from being encouraging, Mr. Daschle unknowingly read a verse that speaks of God's mighty judgement against a nation that has turned from Him and with pride and arrogance claimed its own destiny apart from Him. Given the current state of our society, it seems an eerily appropriate verse to choose. 

It is right and good to celebrate those things that God has blessed us with and to celebrate this country and the freedom that God has provided for us. We must remember that we in America have the privilege of living in a free country only because God has a plan and a purpose for us here. As we contemplate our freedoms, let us focus on how we can act through our examples of love, charity, fellowship, community, and steadfast devotion to God to bring this nation and her people back to a full and intimate relationship with God who has so richly blessed us. Let us purpose to set this nation that God has gifted us with back on the path to His glory. This goal cannot be accomplished through the political spectrum but must be done through loving those who are lost and introducing them to the truth and the saving grace of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us repent and return to God and may God again bless America!

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it. ~Jonah 3:10

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