The Fourth of July often brings thoughts from Christians about our national future. With a Presidential election looming, this year is no different.

People will search out Bible passages to buttress whatever conviction they have: "We are prospering because God is for us, for we are a Christian nation," or "We are facing dark days because God is against us for we are not a Christian nation." We need not fear for the nation's future simply because Christians might become a minority. God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of ten righteous people. To a despairing Elijah He revealed that 7000 countrymen had not turned to Baal worship. For the sake of how many righteous people would He spare a nation – 500,000? 1 million? Who knows? Let's not make God act on the basis of "all or nothing." Rabbinic tradition said that if all of Israel would keep the Law for one day God would send the Messiah. Obviously they never achieved that, but God did send the Messiah anyway. God's plan is never deterred by human unfaithfulness – He makes the sun and rain fall on the righteous and unrighteous alike. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that the righteous sometimes suffer God's judgment because of the unrighteous among whom they are living. Given these two possibilities, I find it difficult to ascertain what our future holds as a nation. Quoting Bible passages that originally applied to Israel, whether they be positive or negative, offers no help because we are not Israel, no matter what some folks may try to tell you.

Furthermore, it's interesting that when Paul instructs Timothy that prayers be made for kings and other authorities, the prayers are not so much for the good of the nation, but for the good of the Church: "that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." Let's face the sobering truth of which we sing in one of our hymns: "Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane." The United States that we are now is not the United States of 1778, nor will it be the United States of 2078 (if there will still be one). Rather, consider how that hymn verse continues: "but the Church of Jesus constant shall remain." The Church has outlasted Rome, outlasted the Holy Roman Empire, outlasted feudal Europe, and, no doubt, will outlast whatever form the United States will take under the likes of a Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Whatever happens – persecution or prosperity – comes from the hand of God for the sake of His people.