“The Lord is our Judge, the Lord is our Lawgiver, the Lord is our King; He will save us.” The text is Isaiah 33:22, and it is often taken by David Barton types as indication of the biblical inspiration for our three branches of government. Be that as it may, let’s not overlook the obvious: the Lord, and not the will of the people, is each of these three things.
God would have spared Sodom for 10 righteous men, but surely there were many times that in Habakkuk’s Judah, and they were carried away into Babylon. Greater light calls for greater accountability. Our fathers who founded this country were overwhelmingly orthodox, trinitarian Christians. They possessed the Scriptures and a wealth of the knowledge of God. Much has been given us, and much will be required of us.
Yet we have rejected the Lord. The People are our Judge, The People are our Lawgiver, The People are our King, and therefore it is up to The People to save us — and The People, quite frankly, are not up to the job.
A government of the people, by the people, for the people, cannot but perish from the earth. Only a nation intent on serving Christ and bringing its honor and glory into the New Jerusalem — only a nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We have not kissed the Son; how can we delude ourselves that He is pleased with us? How can we expect that He will save us?
But then, being saved by Him would mean having to recognize Him as Judge, Lawgiver, and King, and at that price, we don’t want Him to save us. And He won’t. If we insist on saving ourselves, He will let us. And then, when we take counsel together to break His bonds in pieces and cast away His cords from us, He will laugh, and His derision will ring from sea to shining sea.
And we who are made in His image and charged with reflecting His likeness — we should not run about like Chicken Little, squalling that the sky is falling. No, God laughs, and we should laugh with Him.
But perhaps we can hope for better. Perhaps, if God is incredibly gracious, He will grant us repentance, and we will one day have nine Supreme Court justices who publicly acknowledge God as the Judge of the nation, a President who openly announces that Jesus Christ is King of America, and the best a President can hope for is to humbly serve as His vassal. Perhaps we will have senators and congressmen who know and proclaim that God is the Lawgiver. Perhaps we will have these things because God has given us a heart to insist on them.
I am not talking about some small, politically active evangelical cabal taking over Washington. That would at best have a temporary good effect, and at worst lead to the Republic of Gilead.
No, I am talking about a reformation in our churches, so that believers will be one, shining forth the glory of the risen Christ so that our neighbors will see us and believe the gospel. A reformation that leads to believers being commissioned and released for Spirit-led, loving ministry in their communities. A reformation that loves our whole nation into the Kingdom, a neighborhood at a time.
It is in this way, and in no other way, that our nation can be saved.
On this day, of all days, let us not be puffed up with vainglory about how proud we are to be Americans. (Grateful, sure. Proud? Maybe not the best idea.) Let us not make delusional speeches about how wonderful we all are. He who exalts himself will be humbled.
Rather, let us confess the sins of our people, that His grace might soon lift them all into the light. Let us seek the kindness and forbearance of God for our people, because He promises that those who humble themselves will be exalted.
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.