“If My People….” Is a newly released booklet on prayer and fasting described as “A 40-Day Prayer Guide for the Nation: The Only Thing That Will Save Us!”
The booklet is further described as a guide for “believers on a 40-day prayer journey in the spirit of 2 Chronicles 7:14.” It is assumed that God will be moved to action on behalf of the nation by an outpouring of prayer and fasting from the church.
There’s only one catch. It’s recorded in Proverbs 28:9 – “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law even his prayer shall be an abomination.”
MYTH: If only we will fast and pray hard enough and long enough, God will heal America and save her from certain destruction.
The church in America has rejected the law of God as delivered by Moses and no amount of prayer and fasting, in and of itself, will overcome that corporate act of rebellion. As a general rule the church considers itself “not under the law” as the rule of life and standard of practice. To be sure, a degree of homage is paid in most evangelical churches to the Ten Commandments as recorded in Exodus 20.
But that’s usually as far as it goes. The Mosaic judicials, that follow immediately in Exodus 21-23 are treated with hushed embarrassment by the church. This section of scripture is virtually never expounded and seldom referenced in sermons on other topics. These are the specific statutes (laws) and ordinances (penalties) that give definition to the Ten Commandments, but the church has rejected them as “fulfilled in Christ.”
This is nothing new. God’s complaint against Israel was that His law was treated as a strange thing. “Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,: wrote the prophet Hosea, “They are regarded as a strange thing” (Hos 8:12).
When the church fails to honor and teach the law of God, the broader culture is quick to follow suit. In the legal realm the vacuum is quickly filled by manmade laws that are of necessity tyrannical. This is because any departure from God’s perfect law of liberty is a move in the direction of less freedom and more repression.
Rarely in the Old Testament prophets do we see God calling His people to prayer and fasting. Almost always we find Him calling them to return to His law. On those rare occasions when he does call for prayer, it is in the context of a return to His law. In any other context, God regards prayer as futile at best and disgusting at worst.
Consider this passage from Hosea in which the people of God have been crying to God on the basis of their special relationship as His people. God rejects their prayer and fasting and consigns them to judgment.
“…Because they have transgressed My covenant, and rebelled against My law. They cry out to Me, ‘My God, we of Israel know Thee!’ Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him” (Hos 8:1-3).
God Rejects Prayer
Likewise, the opening chapters of the book of Amos consign Judah and Israel to judgment for rejecting His law. The indictment against Judah is a general rejection of the law, including the “statutes” – the specific laws that are spelled out in Exodus 21-23. The indictment against Israel is more specific, detailing particular violations such as incest, kidnapping, and usury (Amos 2: 6-8).
“For three transgressions of Judah and for four I will not revoke its punishment, because they rejected the law of the Lord And Have not kept His statutes….” Amos 2:4).
A little later in the book Yahweh declares His hatred for the prayers of their solemn assemblies. He rejects the pleasant sound of their music as “noise.” Why? In one of the most poetic passages of the Bible God declares His preference for practical justice in the public arena over and above religious observance divorced from real life.
“I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowng stream.” (Amos 5:21,23,24)
God Rejects Loud Prayer
Micah likewise reveals God’s attitude toward loud prayers, when the counsel of His law in the realm of the king has been neglected. This complaint sets the stage for the famous passage in which God declares His preference for public justice as a true demonstration of kindness to our fellow man and humble devotion to Him
Now, why do you cry out loudly? Is there no king among you, Or has your counselor perished….” (Mic 4:9). “With what shall I come to the Lord and bow myself before the God on high? …He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your god?”
Instead, God is bringing judgment upon them (v. 14,15,16) because they have substituted the laws of Omri (5th king of Israel) and the grandeur of Ahab’s government monuments for the justice of God’s law (v. 16). Even as America has exalted her Constitution “and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof as the “supreme law of the land” (Article VI, Par, 2) over and above the law of God. Christians in general are blind to this great offense against true justice defined by the law of God; in fact they usually applaud it.
There are no end of examples. The prophet Habakkuk was perplexed as to why God would not answer his prayer. Once again God’s response was that “the law is slacked and justice is never upheld”
How long, O Lord, will I call for help, and Thou wilt not hear? I cry out to Thee violence! Yet Thou dost not save….the law is ignored and justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore, justice comes out perverted” (Hab 1:2,4,7).
Esoterics, the compromised, backsliders, and the irreligious in Jerusalem are all alike commanded to be silent before the Lord by the prophet Zephaniah (Zeph. 1: 5-7). Prayer is ineffectual for all who reject the law of God.
“And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven (esoterics), and those who bow down and swear to the Lord and yet swear by Milcom (compromised), And those who have turned back from following the Lord (backsliders), And those who have not sought the Lord or inquired of Him (irreligious). Be silent before the Lord God!
Religious syncretism is a great danger. There are many in America today who appear to be following the Lord, but have not forsaken idolatry. They swear by both the Lord and Milcom, who was the national god of the Ammonites. Milcom represented state power. Milcom worship is rampant in America today in government schooling, in government “welfare”, in unbiblical patriotism that endorses a military empire abroad.
There is also a form of “fundamentalism” that endorses these things by its pietistic indifference. A preacher can preach through the entire book of Nehemiah and never once make the obvious national applications to rebuilding the wall of public justice. Everything is personal and pietistic and Milcom is enthroned by default.
By contrast are those who “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the earth who have carried out His ordinances….” (Zeph.2:3)
Case Closed: When the time comes for action, God is not moved by prayer when His law is being ignored. MythBuster Rating: Upon investigation “If My People….” is awarded the HistoryMythBusters Yellow Flag for perpetuating this myth.
The time for action on the part of the American church is long overdue. When Moses came to the Red Sea he prayed for a miracle. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward’.”
Our backs also are to the wall. It is time for Christian Pastors and laymen alike to “go forward” to their local magistrate and lead them in a return to the law of God and its just requirements in the legal system of the state.