Can you complete that Scriptural quote I began in the title to this article? Some who claim to be knowledgeable of God’s Word probably can’t. Some who don’t claim to be Christians, or who are “pagans”, probably can. Our world can be a strange place at times, and no more strange than in our application of God’s Holy Word to both our national affairs and our daily lives. So, let’s begin by completing the quote from the title to this article, found in PSALM 33:12:
“Blessed is that nation, whose God is the Lord, even the people that he hath chosen for His inheritance.” - 1599 Geneva Bible
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” - 1611 King James Bible
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for His inheritance.” - New International Version Bible
Those three versions agree pretty well. There appears to be ONE major proviso in order for a nation to be “blessed”, for the people of that nation to be “CHOSEN” as the Creator’s special inheritance--His own Redeemed People: The people of that nation MUST accept the Creator of All—the Triune God of Eternity—as their LORD. How many of the inhabitants of any nation must “accept” our God as their LORD in order for that nation to be “blessed”? What percentage of its population must declare that they are Christians in order for their country to be considered as God’s “chosen”? Our Bible doesn’t give a number, but it should be obvious to all but the most hard-headed that the more of a nation’s people who are Christians, or at least “God-fearing”, the greater the probability that that nation will truly be blessed by our Creator. Obviously, NO nation in history—to this very day—can, or could, claim that every person therein is, or was, a Christian. (Not even ancient Israel could claim that every inhabitant therein was a faithful, God-fearing Jew, any more than the modern nation of Israel can claim that). So then, does God’s Word infer that there have been in history, and perhaps are now, “nations”—or a nation-- that were “chosen” by God—not “chosen” as in being God’s chosen instruments to punish ancient Israel for disobedience and sin—but “chosen” in the context of Psalm 33:12? Ah, that is a question, isn’t it? I’m not certain that I can answer it to my own satisfaction, let alone yours, but let me make an attempt.
Let’s begin by defining the secular concept of “nation”. Internet dictionaries say that “a nation is a large body of people united by common descent, culture, or language, and inhabiting a particular country or territory, the people of which are sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or possess a government particularly its own.” Using that definition, it’s apparent that the United States is a “nation”, or at least it has been considered to be such in the past. Whether or not we still all exist in this “particular country” in “unity” may be debatable, but at least on paper the U.S., and the people who are its citizens, qualify “secularly” as a ‘nation’. (And ONLY legal citizens have the right to consider themselves as part of the “American Nation”).
There is also a Scriptural understanding of what the word “nation” means. According to Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology”, in the Old Testament “the English word ‘nations’ is used in translation of several Hebrew terms. Most often it refers to ‘goyim’, a word which means ‘body’ of a person and, by extension, the corporate body of a people. The…Bible applied the term ‘nations’ to various peoples…. In Genesis 10 Israel is included among the list of more than 70 nations…”, several of which were larger and stronger than Israel (e.g. the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, etc.). In this context, then, “Israel” was both a body of people united by common religious belief, and a body of people united by common historical experience and descent, culture, etc. Thus it is clear that the concept of “a nation” goes far back in time, and “nations”, both as groups of united people, and as territories with borders, were extant long before the people known as Hebrews, or Jews, came on the scene, e.g. Ancient Egypt. If that’s the case, we might logically ask whether or not our Creator “chose” any of those “nations” as His “inheritance” (i.e. His special, or “redeemed” people), and whether any of those ancients (other than Israel) qualified as people who had chosen the One True God as their LORD.
God’s Word says: “Blessed is the nation”—singular, not plural ‘nations’, as in “blessed are the nations…”. Scripture tells us only of God’s Covenant People, the Hebrews or Jews, as being so designated, so if any other geographic groups of people, or “spiritual nations”, earned His blessings with certainty, it is lost in the mists of time and/or was not recorded in His Word. The truth that Christians were later “grafted” onto God’s Covenant with Israel—with the ancient Jews, verifies only that we Christians are INCLUDED as part of God’s “inheritance”—His “set aside” or unique people—a “nation” of believers in the Scriptural sense, rather than believers living IN a nation, in the secular sense. Whether or not any modern nation in general, and the United States in particular, qualifies as a “nation” blessed by God and considered as His “inheritance” was long considered by most Americans in the affirmative. I believed that for most of my life, but today I’m not so sure, because we are being told, and it is increasingly obvious, that more and more Americans are rejecting Christianity—are turning away from the religious structures of their forebears, and are either “going it alone” or are seeking after “other gods”. (Satan must surely be smiling).
One of my heroes of the early history of our country—our ‘nation’—is George Washington, who was a great leader of men (although not always considered by his contemporaries as a great military leader), and who was a God-fearing man of faith whose life was exemplified by his Christian beliefs and his constant prayers to his Creator. He said something pertinent to our discussion: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” Obviously, not all ‘nations’ then, or now, acknowledged the Providence of God, but Washington DID. He lived his beliefs.
Did God “bless” our early American nation? I’ve always believed He did. Many of you probably believe likewise. Did He choose the young United States as His “inheritance”, in the same or similar manner that He chose the ancient Hebrews? For many generations, despite our faults and shortcomings, it appeared that He had done so, because the ‘nation’ that became the U.S. had a Christian-oriented beginning and was mostly populated by either those who considered themselves to be Christians, or at least gave evidence of being God-fearing people. Does He continue to “bless” our nation today in that same context as Psalm 33:12? I’ll leave that for you to decide, because I’m in a quandary, trying to rationalize that our America is still worthy of God’s blessings or even still enjoys God’s blessings, if indeed it ever had them as an entire “nation”. I have no satisfactory answer, nor do I have a sufficiently proficient Biblical expertise to give a definitive answer from Scripture. Therefore I can only conjecture and present my opinions.
Many who consider themselves to be Christians and/or Christian patriots are torn between the admittedly unique Christian heritage of America and the present-day paganism so rampant in our land. Don’t misunderstand—I’m still proud to call myself an “American”, and NOT a “hyphenated” American either. Just a plain American American! In my opinion the U.S. is still MY country and I am proud of what my countrymen of the past accomplished, and are still accomplishing today. The U.S. is a country with many faults and failures, both historically and presently, but I still believe it to be the greatest nation in existence today, and I consider being a citizen of MY country to be a privilege, MY birthright, and NOT to be shared with every invading vagrant from earth’s hell-holes who claims it is his/her “right” to come here illegally and expect me and my fellow LEGAL citizens to pay for their uninvited freeloading presence! (Some of my fellow Christians might consider that to be counter to God’s admonition to “welcome” the ‘sojourners’ among us. Perhaps they are correct, but that is what I believe, and I cannot—I will not-- change!)
Despite the political turmoil and the threats to our Constitutional liberties so patently obvious all around us, we Americans are still blessed with a degree of liberty that is envied by untold millions around the world. (How long we’ll be able to maintain that liberty in the face of determined anti-freedom, pro-socialist, pro-repression left wing progressive politicians like Comrade Sleazy Joe Biden and his Co-POTUS running mate, Comrade Kamala Harris, and their brain-damaged allies--AntiFa and Black Lives Matter, to mention two-- in our body politic, remains to be seen.) We are still blessed with many rights and liberties that are unknown to much of mankind: We can travel almost anywhere we want, when we want (even with the restrictions caused by the Chinese corona-19 virus and forced upon Americans by leftist/Marxist Democrat and RINO governors and/or mayors). With only a few limitations, we can freely speak what we want to say, and to whom we want to say it (although some powerful people and corporations and scurrilous fascist agitators are seeking to deny us that basic right). We have the freedom to worship as we choose, and when and where to exercise that freedom (despite some of our Houses of Worship being shut down by various budding tyrant state governors to ‘protect’ worshippers from the deliberately induced Chinese Covid-19 pandemic)—or not to do so if that is our choice. Most of us are blessed with enough wealth to live better than the kings of old times lived, in homes that are heated, cooled, and illuminated better than the castles and the dwellings of our ancestors; and most of us enjoy sufficient food in our comfortable homes, things which even today are virtually unknown to many of earth’s suffering inhabitants. We still retain the constitutional right to “keep and bear arms”, and use those weapons—those “arms”—to defend ourselves and our loved ones whenever it becomes necessary to do so. (A right, incidentally, that WILL be curtailed or even eventually eliminated should the disgusting mental zombies of The Klan of New Bolsheviks come into power on Nov. 3, 2020).
Our Founders declared that the pursuit of “happiness” was inherent to Americans, and we can strive to “be all that we can be”. Most of us live in relative safety, and except for the Satanic communist/anarchist insanity of AntiFa/Black Lives Matter/Islamic terrorism that is becoming more frequent, the scourge of “undocumented” criminal ALIEN predators roaming freely among us, courtesy of the brain-damaged liberal progressives who see “sparks of divinity” in even the most violent pieces of human debris, and the pestilence of those anti-free speech “AntiFa” mobs threatening to intimidate and beat those with whom they disagree, we still can go about our daily lives without much fear (caution-yes, fear-no, as long as our 2nd Amendment is still in force and Americans are determined in that right to BEAR their arms). Our nation hasn’t been engaged in an aggressive war on our own shores since 1814 (although some perceive the events of 9/11/2001 to be “acts of war”). We as Americans have always considered ourselves to be “blessed”, because America was a nation whose underlying strength was the perception that Americans believed that our Triune God was the LORD, the Creator of all. Some of us still believe that and still proclaim that, sometimes not as confidently and sadly not in the numbers that we did in our past.
That’s the crux of this article, isn’t it? Is America STILL a nation whose God IS THE LORD? In the light of this discussion, was America EVER such a nation? For context, let’s look at some of Moses’ final words to the Hebrew people, who after 40 years of “wandering” in the wilderness, and with most of the “fathers” who left Egypt in the “Exodus” deceased, are poised to cross over the Jordan River and begin their wars to conquer their “promised land” that God had given them to inhabit. The Scripture reference is DEUTERONOMY 4:5-9, taken from the N.I.V. Bible:
5)“See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are
entering to take possession of it. 6)Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” 7)What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? 8)And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? 9)Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
In the years that followed, the people of Israel did conquer the land that their GOD gave them. Their greatest strength was general obedience to their God and His “decrees and laws”. But over time, as we know, God’s People—Israel—rebelled against strict adherence to God’s teachings and decrees and commandments, the nation was split, and war, violence, conquest by invaders, rebelliousness, and kings to dominate and enslave them became their lot. Eventually the nation of Israel (Judea), that had begun with the direct promise of God’s blessings upon it, ceased to exist in 70 A.D., being totally destroyed by the Roman military, for its people had rejected God as their “LORD”, and had turned their backs on the One who had chosen them as His “inheritance”. Ever since our founding, America’s preachers and religious leaders have been cautioning our people to not make the same mistakes that the people of ancient Israel made. Have Americans been listening to that sage advice and those needful warnings? Good question.
America is a nation that was blessed with abundant natural resources, and our people have used those resources, under the protection of our unique Constitution and the REPUBLIC it formed in 1787, to create a culture and a lifestyle that is the envy of the world. But for most of the years of our country’s existence, our greatest “national resource” was perceived to be God’s people—those who were called by His Name—i.e. Christians! We Americans, particularly we “American Christians”, have long considered ourselves to have been “chosen” by God as His “inheritance”. Was that justified, or were we being more than a little “arrogant” in inferring that we Americans were to be considered as God’s “redeemed”, as part of His “inheritance”, because of the somewhat unique and special circumstances that engendered our founding as a nation?
We Americans also had our “decrees and laws”, considered by our ancestors as inspired by God: The Mayflower Compact, The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, and The United States Constitution, as well as many earlier compacts and colonial constitutions, all of which we were taught and cautioned to “observe carefully, thus proving our wisdom and understanding to other nations, who will say ‘surely this American nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Perhaps as a nation—as a people—America has never fully lived up to its “self-assigned” role of being a “nation” completely “chosen by God for His inheritance”. It would appear that we haven’t, even though Americans throughout our history have, for the most part, taken onto themselves the persona of “God’s modern redeemed people”. However, like the Hebrews of old we seem to be forgetting our historic American “decrees and laws”, and are more and more chasing after other “socialist/progressive/repressive” ‘decrees and laws’ that glorify man and empower the State at the expense of individual freedom.
It truly pains me to consider that my country, my countrymen, my friends, neighbors, family, fellow Christians, and….I…. may not have been, and perhaps never were, “chosen” by our LORD as His “Inheritance”—i.e. as His special, redeemed people. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Americans who consider themselves to be “born again” Christians will not be resurrected unto our Heavenly Father, because we know that IF we are such, we will be! But I know of no other nation, with certainty, other than ANCIENT Israel, that could have been described as being so “blessed” that God considered them to be His Inheritance, and even that nation turned its back on the Creator of all. Our American nation might legitimately have been considered such by its inhabitants at some time in the past, but today it is difficult for even the staunchest American Christians and Christian Patriots to make that claim with absolute assurance. So then, that leaves only the spiritual “nation” of born-again Christians the world over, grafted by our Savior Jesus’ sacrifice for us at Calvary onto God’s Eternal Covenant with His “chosen people”, the ancient Hebrews, who may or may not be the same as the Jewish people of today.
Some Christians believe in what is called “Replacement Theology”, whereby God’s Chosen People are to be considered to be the true born again Christians, rather than the Hebrews (and especially the “Jews” of today) who rebelled against His decrees and laws, AND against our Savior, Jesus, AND MANY OF THEM STILL DO. I’ve long had a somewhat sympathetic agreement with that contention, but I’ll leave that discussion for another time. Probably this issue of whether or not the United States of America qualified at one time, or does so now, as God’s “inheritance” must be left up to each individual American Christian’s beliefs. What I do know is that we, as Americans and especially as Christians (if we are such), must resolve in our hearts to never forget Who our God is, what He has done throughout history in ALL the nations, and what He has done for each of us who are “called” by His name. We must resolve to cease our “wanderings” away from His Word and His blessings, for they are ETERNAL, and will not change no matter what physical “nation” we inhabit nor what form of government we may have to endure. Never forget that BLESSED IS THE NATION WHOSE GOD IS THE LORD, AND CURSED IS THE NATION THAT FORGETS GOD! And those are NOT my words!