You will, I hope, indulge me a bit of personal reflection in this week’s commentary. The message was a haunting one. It came from the television set in my office while I sat at my desk. I often like to take time out to click through the religious channels on the cable package that has several hundred channels. That probably sounds ludicrous—a blind guy going through the TV channels. But, I assure that, having been blessed with relatively good eyesight for more than fifty of my seventy-five years, I am, through vividly remembered sights and sounds, able to visualize (if that is the word) what’s going on with each channel. It almost seems as if I’ve been given second sight of some sort, so vivid are the cerebral images that are produced—i.e., I hardly miss not being able to see while locked into the channel surfing.
This is particularly true when it comes to “watching” and listening to preachers that were my favorites back in the pre-1994 days when I still had eyesight.
Dr. Charles Stanley sounds older, slower, and less dynamic in his presentations, as do Hal Lindsey and David Jeremiah. But, the power of the presentations they still faithfully give more than makes up for the diminished strength and quality brought about by their advanced ages.
Nonetheless, I still see them in my mind’s eye the same as they appeared on my screens those twenty-something years ago.
In the case of old reruns of the pastors and evangelists who have gone on to their eternal rewards, their images, of course, have not been tarnished by the lessening of strength and power in their speaking. They “look” and sound exactly the same to me.
So it was that last Sunday I clicked on a channel with the remote, and Dr. Adrian Rogers was holding-forth in his inimitable fashion.
Dr. Rogers, who was pastor at Belleview Baptist Church in Memphis for many years, went to be with the Lord a number of years ago. But, his Love Worth Finding television ministry continues. It is one of my favorites; much like Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Thru the Bible program is one of my favorite radio presentations that has continued since his death in 1988.
Dr. Rogers often spoke on the decline of the America we all love and want to see return to morality more in line with those ways the Founding Fathers first sought to institute. He was dealing with one such theme in the sermon last Sunday.
That message is what sparked the thought to write on “Harbingers and Hedges.”
America has, Rogers said, had a great, heavenly hedge of protection. He was thorough in emphasizing that the United States was in no way under the same covenants as God’s chosen nation, Israel. But, he did want it known that, like in the case with Israel, the Lord of heaven chose this nation for special purposes.
The proof of the hedge He placed over America is the material blessings it has been given. No other nation has ever existed that has produced for the entire world material goods that have brought the world out of the darkness of the past.
The US has been among the most spiritually blessed nations ever to grace the earth’s surface, he correctly stated.
There is a kinship between America and Israel that cannot be denied, he further instructed. Both nations have had at the centers of their foundings God’s providential Influence over the leaders who were instrumental in bringing both countries to birth and to apex positions among the peoples of history.
Just as Israel’s brilliance of conceptual level of functioning blessed all of mankind, America’s industry and ingenuity blessed the human race and continues to do so.
Israel brought the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ to the entire world. America continues to carry to the very ends of the earth the gospel message that Jesus Christ alone is the way, the truth, and the life—the only way to God the Father and eternal life.
Then the pastor, who so loved both Israel and America, painted the not-so-flattering picture of ancient Israel and modern America. They both were given great hedges of protection.
Rogers used Job, the faithful man after God’s own heart, as an example of the hedge that God provides for His people. When Satan came, wanting to test Job’s faith, the devil said the following:
Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. (Job 1:9–10)
We know how Job remained faithful and was blessed far beyond any loss he suffered during his ordeal of testing by Satan.
Adrian Rogers then brought home the truth of what happens when God takes His mighty hedge of protection from any person or nation that becomes incorrigibly unfaithful and rebellious. The biblical stories are replete with Israel acting like an unfaithful wife to her husband, the Lord God. The nation has suffered immensely because of such egregious sin. Prophecy foretells that Israel will yet suffer the worst of all persecution for remaining in rebellion and unfaithfulness.
When the nation finally does recognize Christ as Messiah—while He is returning to put an end to Armageddon—she will again be the apex nation of the world. Like Job (who did not rebel or become unfaithful in any sense), Israel will be blessed of God beyond all the nations of planet earth. She will receive far more than anything she lost in all her history of being persecuted.
America was in gross sin and immorality even those many years ago when Dr. Rogers gave that sermon. And we have witnessed God’s great hedge of protection being removed a layer at a time, because there is a concerted effort by leaders and people alike to move farther and farther away from the God of heaven who has so wonderfully blessed this nation.
My prayerful hope is that, one day, America will be restored and become one of the “sheep’” nations, not one of the “goat” nations, Matthew chapter 25.
The harbingers are all about us, as I believe Jonathan Cahn did a God-ordained job of presenting in his novel, The Harbinger. Still, there seems little movement back to the Lord, rather a government and increasing majorities within the populace that demonstrably prove daily that they prefer to remove any and all godly ties.
I believe God’s hedge of protection will remain, but to a diminishing extent—for the sake of His children, all born-again people, including, of course, those not in America—until the moment He calls “Come up hither!” (Revelation 4:1).
Let us pray that that is the case, while we watch and work in God’s great cause: the salvation of souls.