How quickly time speeds by. It is already a year since I last fulfilled my responsibility as president of the American Alliance of Jews and Christians by soliciting your support. It’s time for me to do so again. Instead of just asking for your help, I would like to deliver to you something of value in exchange.
Here is a fun question worthy of dinner table conversation: The book of Exodus, chapter 17 verses 8-16, describes the warlike Amalekites attacking the newly emerging nation of Israel that was weakened by a few hundred years of brutal slavery. Israelite victory is clearly going to take a miracle.
Moses tells Joshua to conscript an army to battle Amalek while he ascends a nearby hill and prays with his hands raised in the air. While Moses’ hands are raised, Israel wins, and when his hands droop down, Amalek prevails. By a miracle from God, the tired Israelites handily defeat the Amalekite warriors.
Question: Since this was going to take a miracle anyway, why couldn’t God have told the Israelites to remain in their tents eating pancakes while He miraculously wiped out the bad guys? Why did God need an Israelite army if victory would be the result not of superior strategy and strength but of a miracle?
Similarly, the book of Joshua, chapter 6, describes how Israel approached the mighty walled city of Jericho. God instructed Joshua to have the priests and soldiers circle the walls of the city each day for a week. On the last day they were to blow horns and shout. This they did and the city walls collapsed, allowing the Israelite soldiers to capture Jericho. Obviously, blowing horns and yelling do not cause a wall constructed of colossal stone blocks to crumble and fall. It was a miracle. Since destroying the walls was going to require a miracle anyway, why did God need the Israelites to encircle the walls for a week? God could have said, “Leave this to me.” Why trouble an entire army to walk around a city for a week when in the end, God was going to collapse the walls miraculously?
Finally, the book of Esther, chapter 4 verses 15-17, recounts how Esther reluctantly agrees to her uncle Mordechai’s request to initiate an audience with the king—ordinarily a death sentence. She asks Mordechai to arrange for the entire Shushan Jewish community to fast for three days. After three days, she sought her royal audience and all went splendidly. Another miracle, of course. So why did all the Jews have to fast for three days? God could have miraculously arranged for Esther to find favor in the king’s eyes—which is exactly what He did anyway. What was the purpose of the fasting?
Ancient Jewish wisdom explains that in each case the people were the beneficiaries. For Israel to move onwards to Sinai, Amalek had to be defeated. For Israel to inherit their Promised Land, Jericho had to be conquered. For Persian Jews to survive the fatal edict, Esther’s plea had to fall on friendly ears. For the people to benefit from the successful outcomes, they all had to invest in the enterprise.
Do you see where I am going with this? We’re not in good shape here in America. (And if we’re not in good shape, freedom loving people the world over are in even worse shape.) In spite of government propaganda, we all know the true state of the economy. We all know that our friends don’t trust us and our enemies don’t fear us. We all know that a vulgar culture and fraudulent public education has made it much harder to raise good and successful children. We all know that unrestrained public spending and borrowing is constantly forcing down our standard of living. We all know that more and more Americans are living on the sweat of fewer and fewer American’s brows.
And we no longer believe that all this can be fixed just by electing the right candidate next November. No, I think we all know that something deeper, something more powerful needs to sweep the country. A surging spirit of regeneration has to fill each heart and a wise vision of restoration has to suffuse each mind. But how? For times to change we all need to make an investment.
Let’s think of the only nation in history to ever come back from the brink. Only Israel has returned from the precipice. The Prophets describe how each time Israel abandoned God’s Biblical blueprint, they faced extinction. Jerusalem was ransacked and Israel exiled to Babylon. They returned and rebuilt. A few hundred years later, the country was again overrun, the capital burned to the ground and the people exiled as slaves to Rome. Through centuries the remnant was persecuted, eventually suffering the loss of nearly one half of their numbers as the Nazis carried out a genocide against the Jewish people. Once again, the nation regrouped and rebuilt, even returning to the land of Israel in 1948.
Each recovery was accompanied by a spiritual renaissance and a return to God’s Biblical blueprint. America has experienced two great religious re-awakenings. The first brought success in the War of Independence. The second brought the abolition of slavery. If we can instigate a third great religious reawakening in America, we can bring about the same recovery experienced by ancient Israel.
In a great religious reawakening, faith drives away nihilism; integrity banishes corruption; courage conquers cowardice; beauty defeats ugliness, and prosperity replaces poverty.
The blueprint is Biblical and the American Alliance of Jews and Christians is poised to help bring this blueprint into the heart of every American. Not through intimidation, but by invitation. Not by debate but by shining a laser beam of clarity onto its transcendent beauty. Not by political power but by exposing every open-minded person to the Bible’s power to transform hearts and minds, cultures and societies, institutions and organizations.
We have a number of potentially powerful initiatives on the drawing boards for 2016 and with your help, we’ll proceed to execute them faithfully. Whatever your level of support, we here at the American Alliance of Jews and Christians are grateful. I can tell you that if every Thought Tool reader donated $500 we’d have our 2016 budget assured and I won’t have to enlist your support for another year. However, we’re grateful for whatever your own heart and prayers lead you to do. Whether it is huge or modest, or perhaps for now, nothing at all, we love and appreciate you and look forward to another year of Biblical inspiration and the transformation it brings. May God bless you with a 2016 of good health and prosperity.