This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)
The heart of our problem in our nation today—in our lives, families, churches, and com- munities—can be captured and summarized in these verses found in 2 Chronicles 15, a portion of God’s Word talking about ancient Israel:
For many days Israel was without the true God and without a teaching priest and without law. . . . In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for many disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. Nation was crushed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every kind of distress. (vv. 3, 5–6)
The first thing missing was “the true God.”
The Israelites had not become atheists. Nor was their attendance at the temple down. The sacrificial fires continued to burn. Yet despite all of their religious activity, Israel had lost a correct view of the true God.
They wanted a convenient God, one they could control. They wanted a kingdom with- out a King.They wanted a figurehead, a puppet with the trappings of kingship only. Yet any god or king you can boss around isn’t the true God, or the true King. The true God does not adjust to you. You adjust to Him.
Our culture doesn’t want the true God either. Our culture wants to pay homage only—to offer a nice little prayer before public meetings.
Yet any time we simply pay homage without aligning our thoughts and actions under God, we are reinforcing our culture’s false view of God as a harmless deity who doesn’t have anything significant to say about the educational, scientific, entertainment, civic, political, familial, legal, or racial issues of the day. Doing so, we seek to leave God the title of King in name only, but give His powers and authority to others, or even ourselves.