2 Chronicles 7: 11-22

 “When Will God Bless America?”

July 1,2018

God bless America

Land that I love

Stand beside her and guide her

Through the night with a light from above.

From the mountains – to the prairie —

To the ocean white with foam

God bless America – my home sweet home

God bless America – my home sweet home.

            So are the words of this familiar and popular patriotic song.  The sentiment of this popular song, written by Irving Berlin in 1918 is still shared by us today.  I am sure that all of us here today, especially when Wednesday  is July 4th when we will be celebrating our county’s 242nd birthday, are proud to be citizens of America and pray for God to bless America.   I know I am glad to live in this great country of ours and I am sure all of you are, too! 

            But, today is not only July 1, 3 days before July 4th, it is Sunday. the day we gather together to worship and give praise to God. So we have a question to consider today. The question is –

When will God bless America?

            We sing and pray for God to bless America, but what exactly will we have to do for God to bless America? When do you think God will bless America?

            Our scripture reading from 2 Chronicles 7 gives us some ideas about the answer to the question of what we must do, what needs to be done, for our prayers and the words of the song “God Bless America” to come true.

            When will God bless America?

Well, there are some things we must do for God to bless America.

            The scripture from 2 Chronicles 7 can help us understand the true relationship between God and country,  and what must happen for God to bless America. Let me set the scene for you.  In 2 Chronicles 7 King Solomon, King of Israel, a great king in his own right and son of King David, has completed the magnificent Temple in Jerusalem.  This is the Temple that King David had wanted to build but it had been left up to Solomon to build. God speaks to Solomon after the Temple is completed and tells Solomon that He approves of what Solomon has done and will bless Solomon and his country.  This blessing, though, is not automatic or promised to them regardless of what they do. God promises Solomon that He will bless them if they will follow in God’s ways.  But if they fail to follow in His ways God will not bless them, but will curse them.

            God promises to bless Solomon and the people of Israel if they will follow Him.

            Listen again to what God says in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

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

However, God also promises a curse upon Solomon and the people of Israel if they fail to follow His ways.  Listen to what God says in 2 Chronicles 7:19:

“But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from the land that I have given you;”

            We are getting closer to the answer to our questions —

What will it take for God to bless America? and When will God bless America? 

 The promises that God gave to Solomon centuries ago still hold true today. 

            We can sing “God, bless America” and pray for God to bless America all we want, but we have to ask ourselves —  

What must happen for God to bless America?

             For God to bless America, Americans are going to have to follow God. If we really want God to bless America, then we as Americans are going to have to humble ourselves, pray, and seek God’s face.  If we really seek God’s blessings for America, if we truly want America to receive God’s blessings, then we need to give our lives to God, follow God’s teachings, and follow God’s ways. We are going to have to humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and follow God’s ways.

            The great words of the Declaration of Independence give us a description of the freedoms we enjoy as Americans:   

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

These are indeed great words.  But the Apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:13:

 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.

Friends,  freedom is a gift from God. We might see freedom as being free to live as we want to live and do whatever we want to do,  but  God sees freedom as the ability to live in the ways He has called us to live. To God, freedom means being free to live in His ways.

So, as Americans we truly can and do celebrate great freedoms.  But for God to bless America we are going to have to celebrate God’s freedoms and live in  God’s ways.               

            As God told Solomon:

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

            But – as God also told Solomon:

            “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from the land that I have given you;”

            When will God bless America?

            God will bless America when we really want God to bless America!      

Do we really want God to bless America?

            God will bless America when we as Americans truly live in God’s ways.  

            Many times we do not live in God’s ways, and we suffer, and America suffers. For God to bless America we as Americans are going to have to repent and begin following God. We are going to have to humble ourselves, as God says, and pray. We are going to have to humble ourselves and pray for God to forgive us for the times when we follow our ways instead of God’s ways. We are going to have to humble ourselves and pray for God to forgive us of our hard headed, sinful ways, as individuals and as a country, and commit ourselves to living in God’s ways instead of our own, and in God’s will instead of ours.   

            This takes repentance. This means confessing that we are wrong and that we need God in our lives and in our country.

            You know, America has been called a great nation. This is very true.   America is a very great nation. However, America is only truly great if we as Americans have a truly great faith in God and truly live in God’s ways, sharing God’s love with all people, and working for God’s kingdom of love, justice and peace on earth.    America is only as great as our faith in God.

            America has been called a Christian nation.

            Indeed, our country was founded upon Christian principles, but we must return to those principles and deepen our faith in God.  America is only a Christian nation as long as we, Americans, are a Christian people.  Once we stop following God and Christ, we can no longer be considered a Christian nation.  As a nation, America is only as Christian as we,  it’s people, live out our Christian faith and let our Christian faith determine what we do as individuals and as a country. 

            America has been called a strong nation. 

            Once again, this statement is only true if we, as Americans,  have a strong faith in God and a strong commitment to following God.  It’s only when we let our strong faith in God and our strong commitment to God determine what we do as individuals, as a community, as a Church, and as a nation that we can be considered a strong nation.

            When will God bless America?    

God will bless America when we commit ourselves to acting on our faith,  working for God’s love and God’s will for a world filled with God’s love, justice, and peace. 

            God, bless America.

            Bless America with true blessings that come as we all work for God’s will for justice and peace for all people. Bless America with true blessings that come when we are humble before God, confessing our wrongs, and rededicating ourselves to doing God’s will.  

            When will God bless America?

            God will only bless America when we as Americans confess our sins and begin again living in His ways.

            I’m going to issue a challenge to each of you. The challenge is:

Commit yourself to doing what you can for God to bless America.

Commit yourself again to repenting of your sins and living in God’s ways.

Commit yourself to praying and working for God’s blessings to be upon you.

This prayer and action is what it will take for God to bless America.  

            Indeed —

God bless America – my home sweet home. 

God bless America – my home sweet home. 

Amen.