Are “acknowledging our wastefulness” the words that will stir the Creator and Designer of one trillion galaxies to send rain to drought-stricken regions?
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Led by the governor of Georgia, hundreds of constituents assembled at a public prayer vigil in Atlanta, the state capitol. Some held Bibles and crucifixes. Some linked arms and swayed as a choir sang “Amazing Grace” and “What a Mighty God We Serve.” Some raised their arms to the sky in prayer, as Moses did when the Israelites were in the midst of battle.
They came to ask the Creator and Designer of one trillion galaxies to send rain to the Southeast United States, a region experiencing severe drought.
“As the state’s drought has intensified,” the Los Angeles Times reported, “[Georgia Governor Sonny] Perdue, a Baptist, has repeatedly urged Georgians to pray for rain. In June , he prayed for rain in Macon as part of the Georgia Farm Bureau’s day of prayer for agriculture.”
Did God, the Source of America’s blessings, listen?
From North Carolina to Georgia, recent population explosions have heavily taxed regional water supplies. Living under a water ban, residents are no longer permitted to use water for recreational uses, such as for lawns and washing cars. The drought has also made a significant impact on local businesses, with regulators imposing new water restrictions. Even serving a complimentary glass of water at restaurants has been eliminated.
Every water measurement record in Georgia’s history has been broken, with conditions such as inches of rain, soil moisture and stream flow rate at all-time lows.
An Atlanta-based consultant working on the current situation with an engineering firm, remarked, “We’re in a very stressful situation now…come next spring, if we don’t have substantial rainfall this winter, these reservoirs are not going to refill” (The New York Times).
With the drought growing worse, Georgia’s governor prayed, “O Father, we acknowledge our wastefulness. But we’re doing better. And I thought it was time to acknowledge that to the Creator, the Provider of water and land, and to tell Him that we will do better.”
Is acknowledging one’s “wastefulness” enough? Is this what the God of the Bible requires before He intervenes?
Certainly, acknowledging one’s misuse of the environment is a start—but only a start.
Since the creation of Adam and Eve, God has charged mankind with properly managing the earth’s natural resources.
Yet for the past 6,000 years, man has forced—environmentally raped—the land. He has rejected God’s command to allow the soil to rest every seventh year (Lev. 25:1-4). He has polluted crops season after season with pesticides that permeate our fruits, vegetables and grains, and soak into the earth. He has joined “house to house” and laid “field to field, till there be no place” (Isa. 5:8), creating overcrowded urban conditions, spawning problems—both physical and spiritual—that should never have been allowed to develop.
Referring to the prayer vigil, one man said, “It’s got to be worth a shot”—and essentially reduced the all-powerful Supreme God to a roll of the dice, a back-alley game of chance!
No wonder atheists and secularists alike view God as superstition! No wonder a Georgia college student, commenting on the public gathering, said, “It’s lunacy”! It IS “lunacy” to expect a “worth a shot” mindset to bring about divine intervention!
Are “acknowledging our wastefulness” the words that the God of Abraham desires to hear? Are these the words that will cause the Creator of the universe to intervene?
On Pentecost in 31 AD, when the New Testament Church was born, the apostle Peter gave his first public message. He addressed thousands of Jews who had traveled to Jerusalem from lands throughout the vast Roman Empire.
How did they react to Peter’s sermon? “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37). “Pricked”—which in the original Greek means pierced thoroughly!—violently agitated! Their hearts were cut to the quick! They said to Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we DO?”
Religion was more than just an emotional or academic exercise—they drank in his inspired words and wanted to put them into action!
Now what did Peter tell them? Verse 38: “Repent”—change your mind, including your attitudes, thoughts and behavior.
The rest of the verse speaks of being baptized in Jesus Christ’s name “for the remission of sins…” But what is sin? What is the biblical definition of sin? “Whosoever commits sin transgresses [breaks, violates] also the law: for sin is the transgression [breaking] of the law” (I John 3:4).
Have you ever heard a televangelist teach this verse to the tens of thousands of his viewers? Have you ever heard religious leaders give the Bible’s definition of sin?
They speak of “having love,” but fail to reveal that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10). That is, when you keep God’s Law, you automatically show love—selfless, outgoing concern for others—to your fellow man (vs. 8-9).
Yet religionists of this world teach that the Law of God is “done away,” “abolished,” “kept for you by Christ.” According to their reasoning, there is no need to repent, no need to change one’s thoughts, words and conduct.
These are the same false ministers God foretold would lead people astray in this modern age. Notice: “Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned My holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shown difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My Sabbaths, and I am profaned among them” (Ezek. 22:26).
A counterfeit gospel about Christ (actually, “another gospel” about “another Jesus” – II Cor. 11:4) started soon after the birth of the New Testament Church. That false message thrives today, proclaimed by churches, denominations, movements and religionists who appear to serve God—but are utterly different from what they seem to be.
In Matthew 6:26-29, Jesus Christ explained that God knows every part of His creation to the tiniest detail. This includes the needs and necessities of human beings, to which He says, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?” (vs. 31). God promises to provide His servants their every need—IF they apply His command: “But seek you first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (vs. 33).
“Righteousness” means to keep God’s commandments (Psa. 119:172), a truth seldom discussed from the pulpits of seemingly God-fearing churches.
In the past, Georgia and South Carolina have been forced to remove displays of the Ten Commandments from state government facilities. In effect, those who legally pushed this move through the court said, “We don’t need God to teach us right from wrong! We’ll make our own laws and judgments!”
Now that the people cry out to God for rain, how should He answer?
Traditional Christianity, which is well-entrenched throughout the American South, loudly proclaims a message of “getting to know Jesus”—a “gospel” that centers on the Person of Jesus, but ignores the message—the true gospel (literally “good news”)—that Christ preached.
Immediately after being baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9), and qualifying to replace Satan the devil for world rulership (vs. 12-13), Jesus Christ began His ministry “preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: Repent you, and believe the gospel” (vs. 14-15).
“The kingdom of God” and “righteousness”—how often are these preached by the leaders of mega-churches, which are mushrooming across the United States?
The God who promises to provide for the needs of His servants also says this: “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18). He is a reasonable God, approachable, patient, willing to listen.
Yet there remains a spiritual gulf between humans and their Maker, an ever-widening rift that prevents them from drawing close to God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:1-2).
Sin—lawlessness!—separates man from God. And until sin is repented of—until people change how they live—their prayers will go no higher than the bedroom ceiling!
The treasurer (an atheist) of the Atlanta Freethought Society, which organized a small protest rally against the public vigil, said, “The governor is exceeding his constitutional authority. He has no right to set up prayer services on behalf of the people of Georgia, particularly not on the grounds of the state Capitol.”
What would he have thought of Abraham Lincoln, who proclaimed in 1863 a “National Day of Fasting and Prayer”?
Lincoln said, “It is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God…and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord…We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God.
“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!
“It behooves us then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made similar statements.
Imagine if the U.S. President made such proclamations today. He would be vilified by the news media and political opponents. He would be scoffed at and mocked by society. He would be accused of abusing presidential powers. Enraged critics would cry even louder, “Separation of church and state! Separation of church and state!”
As the years go by, and generations come and go, societal tastes and values change. What was acceptable and fully embraced in Lincoln’s day would now be considered taboo and, for some, a “threat”—all because every man chooses to do what is “right in his own eyes” (Jdg. 21:25).
Millennia ago, the God of Israel sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh, capitol of the Assyrian Empire, to warn them of divine destruction. Despite being pagan idol worshippers and a bloodthirsty warrior kingdom, the Assyrians heeded the warning and humbled themselves. Their obedience became a historic turning point for Assyria and ancient Israel—just as the continuing disobedience of the modern house of Israel will be a future turning point for a united Europe and the American and British peoples.
Another person who expressed his opinion about the prayer vigil said, “God is not an ATM machine to go to and get whatever you need and whenever you ask.”
Yet this is essentially at the heart of the popular “prosperity gospel,” a message that remains strangely silent on advocating personal responsibility. No mention of observing God’s Law. No biblical distinction of right from wrong.
One-third of the Bible is prophecy, most of which describes the deteriorating spiritual condition of the modern nations that are descended from the house of Israel (not to be confused with the Jewish people, descendants of the house of Judah).
Here is an irony: The modern-day descendants of Israel—primarily the birthright nations of the American and British people—are ignorant of their prophetic identity! They have no idea their vile conduct—relying on political alliances, which God calls spiritual adultery; favoring the rich over the poor, and vice-versa; murdering unborn children; exchanging sex partners as easily as changing one’s clothes; practicing pagan and idolatrous customs and traditions, then calling them “Christian”—will bring the greatest time of trouble the world will ever see: “Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7).
Acknowledging “wastefulness” is far from the type of prayer that God will answer. So what does He expect from people who beseech Him?
“Therefore also now, says the Lord, Turn you even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: and rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repents [regrets, pities] Him of the evil. Who knows if He will return and repent [return, turn back], and leave a blessing behind Him?” (Joel 2:12-14).
But like the scribes and Pharisees, the American and British peoples see no reason to heed God. Throughout Matthew 23, Jesus called the religious leaders of the day “Hypocrites!”—“Blind guides!”—“Fools!”—“Serpents!”—“Generation of vipers!”
Why? “For you are like unto whited sepulchers [white-washed tombs], which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (vs. 27-28).
Millions within America’s religious community are quick to proclaim their religious fervor. But among them are those leading hypocritical lives, speaking out against sexual immorality, yet secretly engaging in it. Among priests, preachers and other prominent religionists are serial adulterers, child abusers and men who, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burn in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly” (Rom. 1:27).
The hypocrisy of religious leaders has jaded millions, and their message of a “God” without laws—who does not hold followers to a higher standard of conduct and thinking—a “prosperity gospel” without expectations from believers—is ultimately empty. The result is a spiritual wasteland of human-based ideas that may sound appealing, but are not of the Bible and have nothing to do with the true gospel Christ preached.
Calling the civic and religious leaders and citizens of the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other sister nations “rulers of Sodom” and “people of Gomorrah,” God asks, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me?” (Isa. 1:10-11).
The peoples of the birthright nations, especially those of the “Bible Belt,” show great religious fervor and are quick to “praise Jesus” and offer solemn prayers.
“When you come to appear before me,” God asks, “who has required this at your hand, to tread My courts?” (vs. 12).
“Bring no more vain oblations [tribute]; incense is an abomination unto Me,” He declares. “The new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies [such as prayer vigils], I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates [because they are “Christianized” pagan holidays, not of God]: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them. And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide My eyes from you: yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear” (vs. 13-15).
Why? Because “your hands are full of blood” (same verse).
What does God expect of those seeking Him? “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek judgment [true justice], relieve the oppressed, judge [defend] the fatherless, plead for the widow” (vs. 16-17).
Prayer without true repentance—without a 180 degree change in personal conduct—will go unanswered: “He that turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Prov. 28:9).
Regrettably, the American and British nations will not take heed, and each person stubbornly lives as he or she pleases.
Their stiff-necked defiance will be “rewarded” with famine: “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth [from lack of food] in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have you not returned unto Me, says the Lord” (Amos 4:6).
Rain will come to some regions, while others will suffer drought: “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned unto Me, says the Lord. I have smitten you with blasting [wildfires] and mildew [too much rain]” (vs. 7-9).
Disease pandemics, military invasion and mass death will follow: “I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have you not returned unto Me, says the Lord” (vs. 10).
Only after being carried away into national captivity in foreign lands will the modern peoples of Israel be ready to seek God—to do more than merely “acknowledge wastefulness.” This is the unsettling future that lies ahead.
And so, we are left to ask: What do you call it when an unrepentant people ask for divine intervention from a God they refuse to obey?