Source: Col and Jan Stringer
The media often portrays Australia as a nation devoid of Judeo-Christian values. Yet a quick survey of our past suggests the opposite â€“ in fact the vast majority of our forefathers publicly acknowledged faith in their God and the Bible as the Word of God. Certainly some of their rhetoric may have been different â€“ Captain James Cook talks of â€˜Providenceâ€™ saving his life. Providence, in those days was acknowledged as the â€˜hand of Godâ€™. Some of our heroes of faith include Charles Sturt, Matthew Flinders, Edward John Eyre, John McDouall Stuart, Ludwig Leichhardt, Governor Macquarie,Â Caroline Chisholm, Prime Minister Alfred Deakin John â€œFlynn of the Inlandâ€™ â€“ to mention but a few!
One of the ways the enemy uses to change the heritage and faith of our forefathers is to remove every trace of Christianity from public life and office. Recently we have seen moves to cease prayers at the Opening of Federal Parliament or days such as â€œChristmasâ€ replaced by the term â€œHoliday Seasonâ€. Nativity scenes have been removed from schools and public areas. But I believe itâ€™s time for us reclaim our nation and faith of our forefathers and to â€˜seek first the Kingdom of Godâ€™ rather than that of man.
In 2 Chronicles 14:1-13 we find that when Asa returned to the Lord â€“ the faith of his forefathers, peace and prosperity reigned throughout the land.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€œKing Abijah was buried in Jerusalem. Then his son Asa became the new king of Judah, and there was peace in the land for the first ten years of his reign,Â for Asa was careful to obey the Lord his God. He demolished the heathen altars on the hills, and broke down the obelisks, and chopped down the shameful Asherim-idols, and demanded that the entire nation obey the commandments of the Lord God of their ancestors.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Also, he removed the sun-images from the hills and the incense altars from every one of Judah’s cities. That is why God gave his kingdom peace. This made it possible for him to build walled cities throughout Judah.â€
Â Â Â Notice here, when the people returned to the Lord â€“ the God of their forefathers, God gave them peace and prosperity!
Verse 7 “Now is the time to do it, while the Lord is blessing us with peace because of our obedience to him,” he told his people. “Let us build and fortify cities now, with walls, towers, gates, and bars.” So they went ahead with these projects very successfully.â€
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â When trouble did come, Asa called upon the Lord and He delivered them.Â Verse 8 â€œKing Asa’s Judean army was 300,000 strong, equipped with light shields and spears. His army of Benjaminites numbered 280,000, armed with large shields and bows. Both armies were composed of well-trained, brave men. But now he was attacked by an army of 1,000,000 troops from Ethiopia with 300 chariots, under the leadership of General Zerahâ€¦â€¦â€¦..
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â “O Lord,” he cried out to God, “no one else can help us! Here we are, powerless against this mighty army. Oh, help us, Lord our God! For we trust in you alone to rescue us, and in your name we attack this vast horde. Don’t let mere men defeat you!” Then the Lord defeated the Ethiopians, and Asa and the army of Judah triumphed as the Ethiopians fled.Â They chased them as far as Gerar, and the entire Ethiopian army was wiped out so that not one man remained; for the Lord and his army destroyed them all.â€Â Â TLB.
The key to this period of peace and prosperity can be directly attributed to the people returning to the God of their forefathers.Â May I remind you that the God of our forefathers was the Lord God and his son Jesus!Â Our schools, hospitals, freedom of speech â€“ even the Trade Union movement in AustraliaÂ can trace their very roots back to Christianity! Our legal system is based upon the Westminster system â€“ which comes from Magna Carta â€“ a document written by a man of God and based upon the Bible!
Even our very name â€“ Australia â€“ was declared by a man of God who claimed this nation for the Lord. In the year 1606 two Spanish ships sailed into the uncharted waters of the Pacific Ocean. These ships were under the command of a Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros – a Portuguese man of deep Christian faith.Â In his unwavering Christian faith, he was totally convinced the Holy Spirit had led him to find this new land. In fact, he was so sure of this divine calling that he had the figure of the Apostle Paul carved on the bow of his ship. It was de Quiros who claimed these lands – as far as the South Pole – naming them â€œAustralia del Espiritu Santoâ€ or â€œSouthland of the Holy Spiritâ€.
Although De Quiros never set foot on Australian soil he named and took possession of these lands in the name of Jesus, calling it the â€˜South Land of the Holy Spiritâ€.Â Part of his proclamation is as follows: â€œLet the heavens, the earth, the waters……and all those here present witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros….in the name of Jesus Christ …..hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross on which His (Jesus Christâ€™s) person was crucified and whereon He gave His life for the ransom and remedy of all the human race â€¦.on this Day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606 â€¦I, take possession of all this part of the South as far as the pole in the name of Jesusâ€¦..Which from now on shall be called the Southern land of the Holy Ghost â€¦..and this always and forever …and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands, the holy and sacredÂ evangel may be preached zealously and openly.â€
Â I believe itâ€™s time for Australia to hearken to the Word of the Lord and return to God of our forefathers â€“ then we too, can surely look forward to a period of peace and prosperity. â€œRemember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations, Ask your father, and he will show you: Your elders and they will tell you. When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, He set the boundaries of the peoples.â€ (Deut. 32: 7).
Let me close with these words from the Apostle Paul, during a time in which he was facing great trials that few of us could even comprehend: â€œI think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. And he did deliver us from mortal danger. And we are confident that he will continue to deliver us. (2 Cor 1:8-10Â Â Â Â Â Â
Perhaps it has never occurred to you that we have been standing on the shoulders of our forefathers – the faith of our fathers! As we celebrate Australia Day 2009 it should be painfully obvious that the worldâ€™s ways simply donâ€™t work. Itâ€™s time to â€˜seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness!â€™ Itâ€™s time to see towns and communities turn to the Lord. Like Asa, itâ€™s time to return to the God of our fathers â€“ the God of the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ the Lord!
Col and Jan Stringer