NATIONALISM

28 01 2009

You will find this word in the dictionary, but not in the Bible. Webster’s defines it as, “the putting of national interests and security above international considerations.” I have heard tell that nationalism should be played down in the interest of our world community. You see, we don’t want anyone to be offended. I have heard tell that strong feelings of nationalism could lead to war with nations of like passion. I have heard tell that a public display of nationalism is arrogance. Probably like saying, “our nation is better than your nation.” I contend that nationalism is of God, ingrained within the character of man so deeply, that political correctness cannot quench it. This love for one’s nation is not overwhelmed by disaster it is energized by disaster. Nationalism stepped up to the plate at Pearl Harbor and flexed its muscles the weeks and months after 9/11. For the next few posts, I would like to look at the Biblical justification for nationalism.
In Luke 7:1-5, an officer in the Roman army had a servant that was sick and ready to die. He sent Jewish elders to Jesus, asking healing for his servant. The Jews knew that they had a hard sell. They had to convince Jesus that this Gentile officer of the occupying Roman army deserved a miracle. No doubt, they gave their most convincing argument first. What was that argument put forward, proving he was worthy to receive a miracle? Here it is (in verse 5), “For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.”
He loved their nation and proved this love by making the nation better. That argument convinced Jesus to go with them, see the officer, and heal his servant. He loved a nation not his own. It is probably akin to the love a missionary would have for the field to which he is called. Significant in this encounter is that love of country is proved by an honest desire to make it better.  The ultimate love is to die for the ideals of that country,  protecting its citizens from potential evil.
Nationalism is not an American idea, it is God’s. It is not unique to democracy, but all ideologies. Its justification goes back to the Book of beginnings, Genesis.
1. The justification of nationalism -Genesis 11:6-8
The command was given after the flood in Genesis 9:7 to be, “fruitful, multiply, and replenish the Earth. After 100, 200, 300 years or so, the 3 sons and daughters-in-law had a family large enough to move away from the site of the Ark. They only made it as far as Shinar. (About the distance from the Kurdish land of Armenia to Baghdad in Iraq.) They actually migrated back toward the Garden of Eden. No doubt they knew how big the earth was from Noah, Shem, and Japeth, their pre-flood survivors. They also knew of the anarchy and failures of that pre-flood era that lasted over 1500 years. So they probably thought, “Let’s do what they didn’t. Let’s pool or resources, talents, strengths, and wisdom and let’s create a unified earth, with Shinar as its capital.”  God came down and said”uh uh, that’s not my plan.”
They wanted world unity, God wanted world repopulation. They desired strength in numbers; God desired faith and obedience to Him. They thought they knew better than God. God comments, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language… and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do” he alludes to Genesis 6:5 (before the flood), “That every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,”
Since the Fall, Satan has been, “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). His plan has always been a one-world government. He will finally get his desire fulfilled during the 7-year tribulation period, headquartered on the plain of Shinar (Babylon). The nations of the world will unite at Armageddon and wage war against the Lord of glory.
God’s solution was to create different languages that would take away the potential for this one world venture. The different language groups settled in different parts of the earth in units we now call “nations.” In Genesis 10:5 we find that the division was, “every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”

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