The Lord has spoken a miracle in my heart about the year ahead, 2023. Our nation is in a crisis where darkness has descended upon us like a spell. However, with as much faith as God has given me to see, I believe the spell can be broken in the new year. God’s mercy can be an opportunity to turn back to Him.
In Galatians 3:1, Paul says, “Oh, foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was portrayed among you as crucified? This is the only thing I want to learn from you. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain if indeed it was in vain?”
Lost in Darkness
Paul is talking to people who once knew the truth, similar to many Americans today. Our nation was once founded on truth, on the cornerstone of being a country that would bring the name of Jesus Christ to reputation—not just from coast to coast in America but also throughout the world. We could worship freely according to the Word of God. However, both America and the people in the Bible fell under a spell. Paul is asking the Galatians what many of us need to be asked today: what caused you to believe the darkness could be called light and light could be called darkness? What happened to you? How did you once know the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ and substitute foolishness?
Of 103 people landing on Plymouth's shores 402 years ago, about 53 survived the first winter. In America in 1620, the people who didn’t die in this settlement were left alive and emaciated. They were surrounded by enemies with no possibility of going forward. Yet, they had a promise from God. They believed He was giving them a nation where they could worship in Truth and Spirit, and God answered. From a small handful of people in a small hut, surrounded by impossibility, a nation that became the world's envywas born. Americans used to know our founding, where we came from, and our purpose, but the power of darkness suddenly settled on our nation. We began to forbid our children to pray and moved against the one who had initially given us these freedoms.
Paul said, "Oh, foolish Galatians, who cast this spell upon you that you should not obey the truth?" In other words, you once knew your victory was through Jesus Christ. To Americans today, he would say, “Did you prosper in your strength, or was it given to you by the strength and promise of God? Have you fought to produce a fair and just society only to go down in the heap of history as a failed nation?” In Galatians 1:6–8, Paul said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
In Acts 27, scripture tells us when the south wind blew softly, the people supposing they had obtained their desire, put out to sea and undertook their journey, though warned not to take it. I think of all the Americans warning us not to take this journey away from God, but we thought in relative peace and prosperity, we could sail and chart our course and somehow not pay the price for it. We turned away from the gospel that brought us here in the first place, trading it for one that required nothing of us. It became all about me, myself, and I, instead of the cross. We didn't know that we were sailing farther and farther away from the source of our strength.
A Nation Divided
We’ve turned away from God and His Word. He is no longer our guide, and we are divided. There's a mind-boggling delusion in America, and our character is becoming unthinkable. How did we fall under the spell of thinking that we could live in disunity and continue to stand as a people? In Matthew 12:25, Jesus says, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." We have broken families and relationships. There’s division in cities, towns, government, society, homes, and every conceivable level. Romans 1:18 says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth." In unrighteousness today, people are in danger of being canceled or losing employment if they speak on something based on God’s Word. Simply having a biblical worldview has somehow become some kind of hate speech or a crime.
Romans 1:19 says, "Because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them." God was not a secret. He was known, but people did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful. They became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. God gave them up to uncleanness in the lusts of their hearts. Does this sound familiar? One of the most disheartening things I've seen in the latest news season is drag shows performed for children. It’s being touted as liberty and a good thing when men are standing in front of five-year-olds and doing pelvic thrusts. It’s an example of virtue signaling with pure evil behind it. It’s the kind of backward living that happens when we turn from God and become divided.
We are extremely divided socially. We are weak militarily. We are uncivil in our conversation. I heard the latest acceptance speech of Kenya’s President, and I was stunned at how articulate, intelligent, and gracious this man was. It's been so long since we've had statesmen standing and speaking in the name of God leading the nation. Instead, whoever can be the vilest, shout the loudest, or serve the most sarcasm becomes our leader. People don't even have to make sense anymore to lead. Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous are an authority, the people rejoice. But when a wicked man rules, the people groan." There is much groaning in the nation today because we've professed to be wise and become fools. We don’t know the difference between up from down, male from female. Everything is strict indoctrination. Young people are at the point where they have to color books or pet puppies if somebody has a contrary thought to theirs.
Return to God
Hosea was trying to return his people to God in the Old Testament. They had fallen far away, Hosea’s wife even becoming a harlot. Hosea’s heart was broken, and he did everything he could to get her back, even trying to purchase her back—like the heart of God. When God’s people fall away and turn to immorality, He has mercy on them. I see that for America in 2023: God can break the spell over us.
Many people know the story in the Bible of the prodigal son. He took his inheritance and went far away from his father's heart. He spent everything on himself and ended up in a field feeding pigs and longing for their food to be his. He never dreamt he could fall so far from what he had been born to do, his inheritance, and the house he'd come from. The prodigal son eventually said to himself, “What am I doing here?" If the pilgrim fathers saw what we would become, would they have returned on the ship and headed home? Hosea said in 14:1, "Oh, Israel, return to the Lord your God. For you have stumbled because of your iniquity." This moment of conscience is what I think is about to happen in our nation.
There's about to be a season where this spell of darkness breaks over our society and people start reasoning again. They’ll ask, “Why is evil being called good and good evil?” Like the prodigal son, we will come back to God. America, I pray with you in the name of Jesus. Let’s shake this darkened thinking away, get up, and start heading back to God. We are a nation starving for truth. We're desperate for direction and stability in our homes, families, cities, towns, states, and country. We’re in dire need of righteous leadership. God help us.
Hosea 14:2 says, “Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to Him, ‘Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.’” In other words, take away this crooked thinking, almighty God, and bring us back to the place we are supposed to be as a people. Give us back the integrity that we once possessed. Give back our preachers that will speak Truth to our hearts. We ask for stability in our homes and marriages. You are the one who said, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they do." Forgiveness is at the center core of your heart. God, receive us with your grace as we return to youand honor you again.
God’s Eternal Mercy
Hosea 14:2 continues, “Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride on horses, nor will we say any more to the work of our hands, ‘You are our gods.’ For in you, the fatherless find mercy.” In other words, we will not look to escape all the storms that have come upon us because of what we've done to you. God forgive us for this arrogance and this ignorance, for it's in you and you alone that those without fathers in our society will find the mercy they need. The Lord's response is found in verse 4: “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him. I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily and lengthen his roots like Lebanon. His branches shall spread; his beauty shall be like an olive tree and his fragrance like Lebanon. Those who dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall be revived like grain and grow like a vine. Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.”
When we bow our hearts before God and say, “God forgive us for what we have done,” He looks at us and says, “I'll heal you.” I will love you freely. I will turn away my wrath from you and be like a dew coming down upon you. I will give you stability and strength amid every storm you face. Your influence will spread, and there will be a beauty like in an olive tree among you. There'll be a fragrance, a sweet smell again instead of the stench of sin. Those who now dwell under the shadow of this great initial victory shall return to this place and be revived again like grain. They shall grow again like a vine, and their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon." Joy, love, and laughter will return. There'll be a natural caring and compassion for one another in our cities, and we will no longer be bitterly divided or under the influence of godlessness.
Hosea finishes in verses 8 and 9: “Ephraim shall say, ‘What have I to do anymore with idols?’ I have heard and observed him. I am like a green cypress tree; your fruit is found in me. Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Let us declare, "I'm going to live for God. I'm going to serve God for the rest of my life. I've heard Him. I've seen Him, and He's promised to make me like a green tree and give me that which can only come from Him." Father, Let 2023 be the year the spell over America is broken. Lord Jesus Christ, we dedicate this year to you. We love you. Amen.