We American Christians have come to expect spiritual John Waynes to arrive during our nation’s worst times and rescue us from imminent disasters. This has often happened in times past when men like John Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Finney, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham and others have called America away from the spiritual abyss.
So, is there still balm in Gilead for America?
Let’s look back at the events of the 2008 presidential election.
At the Democratic Convention in Denver (August 25 – 28, 2008), the party selected the two most radical pro-abortion candidates in the history of America as its standard bearers: Senator Barack Obama and Senator Joseph Biden. Both were Planned Parenthood poster candidates.
The Republicans countered at their convention in St. Paul, Minnesota (September 1 – 4,2008) with two pro-life candidates in Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Governor Palin’s refusal to abort her son, Trig, a Down Syndrome baby, focused America’s eyes on the abortion issue.
Soon after the Republican convention, the polling data showed a dead even race between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin. This was a remarkable comeback for McCain who had lagged behind Obama in the double digit percentage range for weeks.
McCain/Palin finally inched ahead going into the second week of the month.
Then, on September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. The following day, the Federal Reserve authorized a $85 billion bailout loan to AIG. Financial news swirled out of control until the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was enacted, which established the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
With the bad economic news, Obama/Biden surged back into the lead and McCain/Palin wilted on the campaign trail. Obama eventually won in a landslide on election night.
Spike Lee, film director and producer, later declared, “God Himself ordained the financial crisis to happen when it did in order to propel Barack Obama to victory.”
For the last two years, Spike Lee’s words have haunted me. Were Lee’s words accurate?
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Lord could have held back the financial crisis until after the presidential election, but He didn’t. Why not? I wondered. After all, if the financial crisis had not hit, McCain could have been elected president and the Supreme Court’s balance could have been shifted to the right by now with a good chance of Roe versus Wade being overturned sometime in the near future.
When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation. (Luke 19: 41-44)
In the midst of the hubbub and excitement on that first Palm Sunday, Jesus paused on His journey to Jerusalem at a spot on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem and the Temple. This was the exact spot where Jews throughout history had mourned and wept over the Temple.
When Jesus stopped and wept at the overlook, the people probably hushed, anticipating a historic speech, but what they heard shocked them. The Prophet, their long awaited King David, prophesied the above words which trumpeted the death of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Why did Jesus prophesy Jerusalem’s and the Temple’s death warrant?
…because you did not recognize the day of your visitation. (Luke 19:44)
The Greek word episkope in verse 44 is translated into our English word visitation. Yet, episkope does not imply a visitor stopping by for a friendly visit. Its true meaning suggests God the Judge would visit a nation, examining the people to determine whether they would be blessed or cursed.
Yes, Jesus is the Prince of Peace, but also He is the stumbling stone and a rock of offense whereby people and nations stumble and fall to their doom. (Jesus’ prophesy was fulfilled in 70 AD when a Roman army under General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple and killed over a million Jews.)
It’s now my sincere belief that the 2008 Financial Crisis was a plumb line event the Lord sent to discover how America measured up. So, was America squarely looking up to Him and His ways or tilted off center? What did the plumb line event reveal to the Lord?
Lou Engle stated it best:
In this election, we have bowed our knee to Baal and chosen prosperity over posterity. (See full article here.)
Sad words, but true. Our nation failed the test, and like Jerusalem and the Temple on that first Palm Sunday, America’s death warrant has been signed by the Judge. It’s just a matter of time until the execution is carried out.
Sadly, in retrospect, Spike Lee’s words proved to be accurate.
(Continued in Part 2)