The United States of America, not perfect, not above corruption, but for 2 centuries, a beacon of light, a symbol of liberty, justice, goodness, and hope. It was a nation founded when faith in God was a necessity for survival, not just a vague feeling for favorable circumstances. Humility was an admired character trait, and a prerequisite for leaders. America was not “great” because of economic strength or military dominance. It was great because it was founded as a land for the free, self-governed, answerable only to a benevolent Creator.

Some will rightly question, “How can a nation that allowed slavery to persist or native Americans to be killed be considered great?” These are dark evils that most Americans wish could be undone, but they did not occur in a social vacuum. They were hugely complex issues that predate the nation. To simply sum it up with “Anyone who owned a slave was the devil!” is ignoring each individual case, like saying that St. Clare and Legree of Uncle Tom’s Cabin were the same person. Thomas Sowell does a much better job at addressing this question in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, so I will not attempt it here. One problem today however, is that we cannot even have this conversation, because, among other things, the topic is so dividing and inflamed, that would-be debaters just start shouting arguments and accusations. We have devolved into a fourth grade mentality and have no capacity to make a case and genuinely listen to the counter.

The founders main goal was to create a nation where men could be free from the tyranny of government. The contract was agreed upon with the utmost fragility, upon the edge of a knife. They understood that they could not possibly solve all the evils of man, or create a perfect Utopia. Anyone claiming that is possible at best does not understand the nature of man, at worst has a more sinister agenda. Regardless, the founders created a nation that would rather err in favor of the tyranny of the people.

Unfortunately, as we see with Israel in the Bible, man’s nature is only in check as long as he submits to his Creator. And collectively, as a society drifts away from God and His precepts, that society will drift toward evil, chaos, and ultimately tyranny.

And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.

Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

~ 1 Samuel 8: 7-9

The people of the United States have been on a steady drift away from their Creator in the many choices we have made over the years. The chief of these, I believe, is in exchanging the education of our children for economic status or convenience. Both as individuals and collectively, we have given moral ground to a relentless enemy. And we are now seeing the fruits of those losses. Israel did not wake up one day and demand a king, thus rejecting God. It started from the day He delivered them out of Egypt. It is easy to scoff at their lack of judgement in the wilderness: how can they worship a golden calf after witnessing the incredible and numerous times God delivered them? But that would be to judge them in a vacuum and with the benefit of seeing the big picture and hindsight.

The United States is in a similar place as Israel was in 1 Samuel 8. We have drifted and are bumping up against depravity and chaos. We have exchanged liberties for perceived securities, handing over freedoms bit by bit for temporary individual gains or comforts. We have not only allowed our government to become more tyrannous, we have come with pitch forks and torches demanding that they do it. Like Israel, we are demanding a king to “fight our battles” and deliver us from perceived, individual injustices.

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.

20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

~ 1 Samuel 8: 19-20

So, a king we will be given, and just like all the other nations we will be. And it will not take too many generations before we will be lamenting about the tyranny of our king. But it will be too late, and we will not have the moral capacity to comprehend how we arrived at such a place.

May God have mercy on this nation.

14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

~ 2 Chronicles 7:14