Rebuild or Repent?

As residents living in areas afflicted by Hurricane Harvey begin to assess their circumstances, an important question needs to be answered.

It is not a question political leaders at the local, state and national levels are asking. Religious leaders are overlooking it. The news media is too corrupt to even consider it.

The question is this, “What should victims of Hurricane Harvey do first, rebuild or repent?”

President Donald Trump and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, each issued proclamations designating September 3, 2017, as a day of prayer for victims of Hurricane Harvey.

Their proclamations encouraged people “of all faiths and religious traditions and backgrounds to offer prayers” for all those affected by this catastrophic weather event. These proclamations sought God’s wisdom, comfort and healing in the recovery and rebuilding process, which will be long, difficult and expensive.

In President Trump's proclamation, he referenced the words of America’s founding fathers, who earnestly sought God’s intervening hand in times of great difficulty.

The first reference was a proclamation by Congress on June 12, 1775, following the battles at Lexington and Concord. It designated July 20, 1775 to be observed “as a day of publick humiliation, fasting and prayer.”

Instead of seeking God’s wisdom, comfort and healing first, America’s founders sought God’s forgiveness of sin through repentance.

“This Congress, therefore, considering the present critical, alarming, and calamitous condition of these colonies, do earnestly recommend the twentieth day of July next to be observed by the inhabitants of all the English colonies on this continent as a day of publick humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that we may with united hearts and voices unfeignedly confess and deplore our many sins, and offer up our joint supplications to the all-wise, omnipotent, and merciful Disposer of all events; humbly beseeching him to forgive our iniquities, to remove our present calamities, to avert those desolating judgments with which we are threatened, . . .”

Unlike Congress today, congressional leaders in 1775 understood God’s intervention in trouble was dependent on the nation sincerely repenting of their sins first.

This need for repentance was expressed by John Adams to his wife Abigail, in a letter dated June 17, 1775.

"We have appointed a Continental fast. Millions will be upon their knees at once before their great Creator, imploring his forgiveness and blessing; his smiles on American councils and arms."

Sadly, the proclamations of President Trump and Governor Abbott failed to call on the people to humble themselves before God in repentance. Ignorance, political correctness and fear of the news media prevent these leaders from fully drawing on America’s rich spiritual heritage and example.

The second reference was President George Washington’s first inaugural speech, given on April 30, 1789. In his address, President Washington specifically stated “that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained.”

What “eternal rules of order and right” was President Washington referring to?

The “eternal rules of order and right” called the Law of God, found in the Holy Bible.

King David explained the great benefits of God’s Law in Psalm 19:7-9.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

David also explained in verse 11, God’s Law serves as a warning to those who would consider violating it.

“Moreover by them Your servant is warned,

And in keeping them there is great reward.”

In comforting the victims of Hurricane Harvey, President Trump quoted Psalm 46:1, which says, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.” This is very true, but not for a people or nation living in sin. If God is to be a refuge and provide help in time of trouble, then God’s Law must be obeyed.

II Chronicles 7:14 provides the way for God to be a refuge and help for people in times of trouble.

if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

READER, TAKE NOTICE! Before God can provide real healing, repentance of sin must come first.

Repentance involves acknowledging the breaking of God’s Law (I John 3:4). It then requires a commitment to live by the Law. Without these 2 conditions, God will not intervene in the recovery process. Without God, all recovery efforts will merely be the energy of human effort alone.

The proclamations issued by the President and Governor for prayer are missing the important call for people of Texas and America to humble themselves before God and repent of their sins.

Unfortunately, people living in the ravaged areas of Hurricane Harvey’s path will begin the rebuilding process, while ignoring the need for repentance. This course of action will insure more storms, more destruction and more loss of life for the nation.

Before beginning to rebuild, Harvey’s victims and America as a whole should humble themselves in repentance before God. This will allow God to heal their lives, heal their families, heal their land and protect them from further devastating storms, like Hurricane Harvey.