I took my family up to the Cascade Falls last night about 25 minutes from our house along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
As you can see, it’s a beautiful place. The Falls are gorgeous and we enjoyed a nice picnic supper and a stroll through the woods to the Falls. But, I noticed something. I’m assuming with the budget shortfall that we see in our state and nation there is not enough money to go around to keep the paths and steps cleared from overwhelming undergrowth. The paths look very “snakey.” Pam and I were constantly saying, “Don’t go over there. There might be a snake in all of those weeds.”
As I thought about the beauty of what is available to anyone who chooses to take the journey to Jeffress Park, (which is just 2 miles off of Highway 421 in Deep Gap, along the Parkway), I came to the conlusion there may come a day because of our financial problems as a nation that we may never get to see these kind of sites again. We are beginning to see what will happen when you let things get out of control. It’s like undergrowth that just takes over a path. Honestly there were places on the path that in a couple more weeks I wouldn’t dare go down because the path will be overtaken with thick undergrowth.
Sad isn’t it? Reminds me of the condition of our nation. Because of sin we have forgotten to do the work of keeping the undergrowth cleared. The truth is that’s the case in the Church and in our own lives as well. Sin is like undergrowth. if it’s not handled day by day, then it can take over a life, a church, and yes…even a nation.
Read the headlines and see what the leaders of our nation are involved in today. It’s sickening. The undergrowth is killing us. We no longer are a people that can be counted on or respected, as we once were. I know, I know… I lament about this all the time, but it breaks my heart to see where we have fallen as a nation.
Reminds me of the words of Moses in Deuteronomy 6 when Moses was addressing Israel (His chosen people), but the principle is applicable to us today (even though…contrary to popular belief, we aren’t God’s chosen nation):
10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 6:10-15
Does that sound eerily familiar to America? You see over time I have come to believe that the world is flat regarding Christ’s love for it and the people of all nations, tribes and tongues. America is not superior just because we are America. I believe we have been exceedingly blessed over the last 200+ years because we chose to honor and trust in God. However, today, by and large, we no longer do so. We’ve let the undergrowth of prosperity and superiority choke out the Lord. We admire actors and actresses who take off their cloths, curse and make filthy movies. We laud politicians who grew the country economically, yet had an affair in the White House. We look the other way when athletes have sexual trists with women who aren’t their wives, but because they can throw, hit or shoot a ball, we’re still willing to buy tickets to their games. Why? Because of the undergrowth. The paths of righteousness have “grown up” with the weeds. We can no longer even get to what’s really good, the beauty of the Falls…the best things of God in our lives because we are choking on the undergrowth.
You may say, “Who cares about this nation or any other nation for that matter?” Well, the problem with that thinking is the fact that there will be nations that will come in and out of the New Jerusalem. The Bible teaches this in Revelation 21. Take a look…
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, transparent as glass. 22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 21:21-27
Did you see where I underlined the word “nations?” There will be nations in the eternal state coming in and out of the New Jerusalem. Isn’t that an awesome thought? Imagine that. What will that look like? What does that mean? You think about it and ask the Holy Spirit to show you. But, I can tell you what I see. I see nations (just like the Scripture says) walking into the city of God. You say, “Well, aren’t we all the family of God?” The answer is “yes.” So, why have nations? I don’t know? But, that’s what the Scripture says. It says “nations.” So, in my heart and mind I’m concerned about the nations, including this one.
Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” That is what he said isn’t it? Make disciples of all nations. So there must be something that the Lord is trying to say to us today about nations. They are important to Him. And yes, I often minimize America and our “position” in the world. Yet, the Lord God cares about nations. So, we must pray for our nation and our leaders (Romans 13). We must pray for our government officials and elected men and women. We must pray that God can bring new life out of this dead and decaying nation before it’s too late.
Can this happen? You bet it can. Take a look at what I saw on the way back up the path from the Falls…