A City of Luminaries!

Throughout the ages there has been no end to the exit of great sovereignties and nations. Dictators and democracies rise and fall, cultures transform and morph into unique civilizations, but the one thing that has never altered over centuries of change is the love of God for an individual human soul. Everyone leaves an irreplaceable hushed mark upon history. No man’s life is a waste or meaningless to God, or humankind for that matter. My attitudes and characteristics will be indelibly etched upon the offspring of my children’s children’s child in one way or another, whether they know I existed or not. And the whispered song of our comparably short existences place great value upon a nation. I may not know the burial place of my ancestors; still they have silently left their mark upon my life and this great nation. Ultimately, each unknown soul carries the weight of a meaningful future for every dominion that has ever existed.

This is why it’s the individual life that God focuses His message upon when He’s speaking to a nation. Often we hear American politicians point to children and say this is the future. It’s a successful and tactful manipulation to press a self-absorbed society to unite around a common goal for good. After all, who wants to leave a dirty environment, corrupt government, ruined economy to their sons and daughters? And so the child’s future becomes a great rallying cry to transform society through legacy. Here’s a thought: how about emphasizing social revolution for the sake of “it’s the right thing to do?” The future is what we do now for the sake of beneficial principles! When this task is sought vigorously the future of our children will take care of itself. The Creator places His value upon the individuals of the moment to affect a future. It is the present living that has capacity to hear the message—transformation is theirs!

Then comes the question, “Who’s right thing do we follow?” Only a godless culture would ask that inquiry. There are moments when American Society displays incredible solidarity and a realization that a Sovereign governs the universe and He knows what’s right. As a result of 9/11 Irving Berlin’s American patriotic song God Bless America made a stunning comeback in the repertoire of favorite songs for public social functions. Listen to the lyrics of this piece—it’s a form of prayer for God’s blessing! Why has this tune made such a comeback? Because it’s in the heart of every person who acknowledges the power of a Divine Creator in the midst of incredible devastation! No one applies physical force upon individuals at baseball games to sing along with this prayerful song—people do it with spontaneity and contrition of heart on their own. If success is for those who seek God, it takes individuals to make a nation successful. So we prayerfully sing and beseech the Governor of the universe, God bless America!

The ancient power of the great Assyrian nation stood at the threshold of God’s destruction. Jonah the prophet took one days journey into the city, going grassroots through the streets, crying Nineveh had 40-days of existence left before a great overthrow. It was the plebs of the nation who believed God as they called for a fast putting on sackcloth, from the least to the greatest. It took a longer period of time for the message to reach the ears of the king. I can’t help but believe that as the sovereign espied his subject’s contrition he was moved to call for a national fast and did the same. The ground swell of solidarity began convincingly with the masses of the Nineveh society and culture. The individual people heard Jonah’s message, the nation mobilized in a unity of repentance.

We may not know any of the names or addresses of the individuals who repented in Nineveh those few days, nonetheless an amazing legacy was left for their children and ours! Sadly, it’s always up to the next generation to carry-on that gift—the Assyrian empire chose to discontinue their newly found faith. To this the prophet Nahum would cry, “the LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.” A stiff reminder that God’s anger toward them had once turned through widespread personal contrition. However, a second opportunity would not be afforded. Again the prophet speaks to the great power of Nineveh, “What do you plot against the LORD? He will make a complete end; trouble will not rise up a second time.” In modern lingo: You got away with it the first time by your contrition, a second opportunity will not be afforded for your trouble to others as a nation!

Bottom line: what I’m saying is that for real change to happen nationally, it takes the individual contrition from the populous. That began with 9/11; and from this grassroots gospel building block let a message for transformation continue forward. God’s warning to Nineveh—a second opportunity may not be afforded. The message must go to the individual people of the nation. To the people and for the people—a message of transformation must be heralded. Let us end the clichéd talk of empty hope and change, replace it with a reality of substance—as Nineveh of old, “let us call out mightily to God.” For the nation within a nation of individuals believing the truth, carry the message of transformation to the communities of this great land, we are lights in this world, and a city of godly luminaries on a hill cannot be hid!

J. Robert Hanson

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