I often say to myself and repeat this sentiment among followers of Jesus: “Don’t complain about our culture, cry out to the Lord for mercy.”  As God’s faithful people in a negative, post-Christian environment, it is imperative to reimage our understanding of our nation.  I believe we’re past the point of dialogue with a popular narrative that is hostile to a biblical view of reality.  We are more like missionaries in a third-world country.  We are now exiles in a strange land.  Yet, we can be positive, hopeful and joyful.

For some time now, I have felt led to spend time in the prophets.  My continual question has been, “Lord, what do your prophets have to say to my generation?”  In other words, “What is God’s prophetic word for his church?” I assume that God’s prophetic word, as given by the prophets, has significant relevance when we begin to see the unfolding of his judgment on our nation as we wander further and further away from his revealed word.  

I must confess, this has been a challenge for me.  I do this work because I am motivated to know first hand – from my meditation on scripture and reliance on his Spirit – what God is saying to our culture.  The observers, influencers and policy makers are secondary.  How do we work through the confusion of the many voices?  God warns us in Deut. 28:20, “The Lord himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do, until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me.”  Micah tells us, “But your judgment day is coming swiftly now.  Your time of punishment is here, a time of confusion” (Micah 7:4). Could the confusion of our day actually be a sign of the Lord’s judgment on our nation?  

When I learn of the latest news coming out of Washington and other centers of influence, the words of Ezekiel 22:5 seem appropriate: “O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near.”  Could this be what the Lord is allowing among those who are supposed to govern us as a nation?  “Oh, what a day of crushing defeat!  What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! (Isaiah 22:5).  Who will lead us out of this confusion?  What message will finally bring relief to all this confusion?

I find great encouragement and strength from the intercession of the prophets.  For example, Isaiah 63:15-64:12 is such a prayer.  The prophet’s focus is on the Lord:  “Lord, look down from heaven; look from your holy glorious home and see us” (Is. 63:15).  He prays for God to intervene.  “Oh, that you would burst from the heaven and come down” (64:1).  There still are many questions. “Where are your zeal and your might?” (63:15).  “Lord, why have you allowed us to turn from your path?” (64:17). “Why have you given us stubborn heart so we no longer fear you?” (64:17).  “We are constant sinners; how can people like us be saved?” (64:5).  I ask these questions repeatedly.  

These are hard questions, but they are not antagonistic, nor are they directed inward.  They are directed to God, who is addressed as Father.  “They are children’s questions, expressing penitence, dependence and trust.  They are questions of prodigals come home, daring to hope that the father… will not turn them from his door” (The Bible Speaks). 

Men, don’t allow complaining voices draw you away from an “upward gaze” on our victorious Lord.  He is in charge of history.  Bring your questions to Him as you cry out for mercy.