This land of America has many names. To many who live here and love it, it’s affectionately named as the “Land of the Free, and Home of the Brave”. To many immigrants who seek a better life from the limited-ness of their birth nation, it’s the “Land of Opportunity”, a “Place of Refuge”, a “Land of Liberty”.
There are also those who disparage this nation, who wish to either change it or destroy it, whether physically, culturally, historically, or ideologically. To them, America is seen (but not usually said out loud) as “An Empire”, “A Global Police Force”, “A Nation Bully”, “A Nation of Infidels”, and I’m sure there are other labels and titles as well.
But there’s one title that means something to me: “Land of Promise”. And by Promise, I don’t mean “Great Potential”, as in “Land of Great Potential”. No, this is more along the lines of God’s relationship with this land…and the promises He made with the people He sends to this land, whether by birth or by immigration. They’re His promises to us with respect to the relationship we establish with Him. Those promises are two-pronged… depending on whether we turn to Him or turn away from Him.
But for me, the blessings aren’t “either…or” for this nation. This nation can experience being blessed or cursed…but with both happening at the same time.
Let’s go here:
2 Nephi 1
7 Wherefore, this land is consecrated (set apart)
unto him whom [the Lord] shall bring.
And if it so be that they shall
serve him according to
the commandments which he hath given,
– it shall be a land of liberty unto them;
– wherefore, they shall never be brought down into captivity;
if [they are brought to captivity],
it shall be because of iniquity;
for if iniquity shall abound,
cursed shall be the land for their sakes,
but unto the righteous it shall be blessed forever.
Think about that:
1. If iniquity abounds, the land will be cursed (for their sakes).
2. To the righteous, “it shall be blessed forever”.
This tells me that this land can be blessed with liberty…and cursed…at the very same time. Simultaneously. In parallel. Why? Because you’ll have two groups of people living upon it at the same time: those who are aligned with the Lord and do His work, and those who don’t and won’t.
It just means that for those who align themselves to God, they can still prosper…just not in the way we think of prosperity. Opportunities will open up for them. Trials will be made bearable. They will have strength to face challenges. They may be delivered from truly desperate moments. They’ll be given inspiration and divine direction in which way to proceed…despite the troubles and confusion that happen around them. They can live with Hope, that expectation that God will help them in due time when things around them look bleak.
For those who’ve rejected God, ignored him, removed him, or just replaced him…and desire to live their lives not according to Him but according to their own whims and desires instead, the land will be cursed…in the sense that whatever they do will not bring them lasting happiness. Things don’t work for their success. Things will be out of control for them. Things will unravel for them. They will seek to put things under control…because things are unraveling from their control. They will be unsettled, without peace in mind and heart. They will be worried, without resolution, without hope. They will lose what they thought they had.
So, the key to being free in a cursed land? Do the Lord’s work and align ourselves to Him. The way to be cursed in a free land is to do iniquity and be contrary to the Lord. We can still be free even if this land goes to pot. Sometimes, we can’t stem the tide. That’s the challenge with free will. We can’t force people to live freely or to even qualify for it. We can’t force “good-ness” upon a people to “make them” free. We can only carve out what we can where we are….to choose, on our own, to live righteously and align ourselves to God to qualify for His freedom.
This people have forgotten their God…even among those who call themselves Christian or even God-believers. We get so caught up, distracted, in the things of the world that we forget just how fleeting it is. If we can just remember to place God above all else, it doesn’t matter how strong the adversaries think they are, it’s God who can keep us free and prosper us.
2 Nephi 1
9 Wherefore, I…have obtained a promise, that
inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring…
shall keep his commandments,
– they shall prosper upon the face of this land; and
– they shall be kept from all other nations,
– that they may possess this land unto themselves.
And if it so be that they shall keep his commandments
– they shall be blessed upon the face of this land, and
– there shall be none to molest them,
– nor to take away the land of their inheritance; and
– they shall dwell safely forever.
10 But behold, when the time come[s] that
they shall dwindle in unbelief,
after they have received so great blessings from the hand of the Lord:
– having a knowledge of the creation of the earth, and all men,
– knowing the great and marvelous works of the Lord …
– having power given them to do all things by faith;…
– having all the commandments from the beginning, and…
– having been brought by his infinite goodness into this precious land of promise…
behold, I say, if the day shall come that
– they will reject the Holy One of Israel, the true Messiah, their Redeemer and their God,
behold, the judgments of him that is just shall rest upon them: …
11- he will bring other nations unto them, and
– he will give unto them power, and
– he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and
– he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.
12 Yea, as one generation passeth to another (multigenerational)
– there shall be bloodsheds, and
– great visitations among them;
America. It is still a Land of Promises: The Lord’s two-pronged Promises.
We cannot obtain these promised blessings by vote. We can’t vote in Prosperity.
We cannot avoid the promised judgements (curse) by voting them out, either.
It will be cursed when we turn away from Him.
It will be blessed when we return to Him.
And, yes, America is a land of Freedom.
We are FREE: We are permitted to choose for ourselves which way we desire to go.
And the promised blessings will follow according to the path we desired to choose and the life we desired to live.
We may not be able to expect an entire people to change from iniquity…but we may be able persuade many to stay with God, and persuade others to return to Him, in order to preserve a righteous few….and get a sparing of Liberty and Freedom in a land gone awry. It is only through our returning to God and our staying with Him that we may expect the blessing of Freedom, of Liberty, of Life.
The LDS Lamplighter