You saw it on TV. I saw it live.
Fourteen years later, deep in the Book of Judges, I am stunned at the parallels between the nations of Israel in Judges and America today. There is a timeless tale of ugly disunity in Judges 5:15-17 amidst the lofty, magnificent Song of Deborah. Right in the middle, she points the finger sternly at Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher, tribes that sat on the sidelines while the battle was being fought; tribes who failed to come to the aid of their brothers.
In Judges, Israel repeats the Cycle many times – disobedience to the rule of law set down by God, who gives warnings and then fierce judgment lasting decades. But it is when Israel cries out to the Lord in perfect unity with repentance that God’s never-ending love shines through – after a certain amount of punishment, God has seen enough and he sends a judge like Deborah to save Israel from extinction.
So how is America today like Israel in Deborah’s day? America too has failed to obey the rule of law for the balance of power established in our Constitution – it is eroding almost daily into a dictatorship. And while America is not a theocracy like Israel was, its basis for the Constitution was laid out in the Declaration of Independence, that we are “endowed” by our Creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And how is America like the tribes who refused to join the fight? We have given up our position of leadership for peace and justice in the world, and we have invited the bad guys straight to our shores. I cannot believe God is any more pleased with America today than he was with Israel.
I must wonder if this is a time of punishment for America, and I must hope that all the children of Abraham – Christian, Jews, and peace-loving Islamic sects will cry out to God with repentance in perfect unity.
People are crying out to God louder and louder as we see America crumbling. Perhaps God has seen enough? On September 10 this week, a giant rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant with his children, appeared directly over and even dropping down to touch the new World Trade Center, while on September 11 a huge crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque of Islam in Saudi Arabia, just days before the annual Hajj - a warning of judgment to come?
The peaceful elements of Islam, too, have shied from the fight and have not reined in the radical elements of their faith. We are all guilty. We must all stand up and cry out to God in repentance with perfect unity.
There is hope! It is time for Jewish, Christian, and moderate Islamic religious leaders to sing “America the Beautiful” with repentance in perfect unity from the Capitol Steps, to crown God’s good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea.