Let me make this clear right away: I’m neither prophet nor the son of a prophet.
I am a lover of history, an observer of current events and – above all else – a worshiper of God and a student of the Bible.
In fact, I don’t think we need a modern-day prophet to tell us if our country is being judged or not. I believe we can look at what Scripture has to say on the subjects of how God judges (punishes, if you prefer the term) nations and look at the moral conditions and current events in our country today and reach a pretty solid conclusion.
None of this implies or demands that God has a special covenant relationship with the United States that calls for our chastening. Our nation is “ripe” for judgment whether it has such a relationship or not (Psalm 9:17). The simple fact is that God chastises, dismantles or destroys Gentile (not Jewish) nations which nationally, officially, defy His authority and despise His basic moral/ethical laws, which He has written, both in Scripture, and upon the human heart (Psalm 2, Romans 2:14-16, Daniel 2:21).
Why does this matter? It matters because, as proclaimers of the gospel in a nation under judgment, we must continually, in love, call our hearers to repent of the very sins which are the cause of our national demise. “The news” provides us, on a daily basis, with profound evidence that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Both the lost and the found who hear the Word of God taught on Sundays need to be aware of the Providential nature of the disasters unfolding around them.
So here’s the evidence. I’ll merely list these ten ways with Scripture references and call upon the reader to do some homework.
Next week I’ll be writing about the much more encouraging subject of how we can, as Christians and as congregations, thrive in the midst of the chaos.
(1) Giving us over – Romans 1:16-32 uses this term three times. God allowed the antediluvian world (the world before the Noahic flood) to suffer the inevitable results of its own evil choices. It doesn’t take much imagination to see that in many ways, Americans as individuals, and America as a nation, are suffering as a result of their God-defying decisions.
(2) Hardness of heart – Exodus 7-14 says repeatedly that God hardened the Egyptian Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not allow the Israelites to leave his country, resulting in great havoc to his nation. Far from being ashamed of His aggression, God wanted the whole earth (Romans 9:17) to know about what He did to Egypt.
(3) Silence – I Samuel 28 gives us one instance in Scripture (are there more?) wherein God answered the prayers of a national leader, King Saul, with a devastating, deafening silence. At the height of the carnage which was the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln turned to God in prayer. Would our current leaders do this? Would God answer if they did?
(4) Madness/confusion – Daniel 4 shows us that God judged King Nebuchadnezzar of the mighty Babylonian Empire with madness (insanity), until he repented and bowed the knee before the one true God. Genesis 11 describes God’s use of confusion as a judgment upon the citizens of Babel who were seeking to build a tower which reached up to the heavens.
(5) False prophets – First Kings 22 tells us how four hundred prophets told King Ahab that he would be successful in a battle against the Arameans. He did not survive the conflict.
(6) Evil spirits – Before the afore-mentioned chapter (I Kings 22) is concluded, we read the strange account of a “lying spirit” from God in the mouths of disaster-inflicting false prophets.
(7) External enemies – We have an overwhelming number of examples of this in the Old Testament. God uses Gentile nations to punish His chosen people Israel (as in the Book of Habakkuk) and He uses Gentile nations to crush and replace other Gentile nations (Daniel 2, 7, etc.). The most common judgment against Gentile nations found in Scripture is destruction at the hands of other Gentile nations.
The Bible depicts at least two ways in which this destruction is carried out: direct military aggression and moral infiltration – most notably in the story of Balaam, the false prophet who was unsuccessful at cursing Israel but highly successful in enticing Israel to “curse herself” by way of her own immorality – See Numbers 22 through 25.
(8) Evil leaders – Daniel 4:17 tells us that, at times, as a judgment, God raises up the “lowliest of men” (men of poor character) to curse nations with their foolish leadership. This is seen repeatedly in the Jewish Kingdom known as “Israel” or “Samaria,” in I Kings 12 – II Kings 17.
(9) Disease – Illustrated dramatically near the beginning of the Bible – the plagues on Egypt of Exodus 7 through 12, and near the end of the Bible – the diseases inflicted on rebellious nations in Revelation 6 through 18.
(10) “Natural disasters” – Consider the 10 plagues in Egypt – judgments against Pharoah and his nation – and again, the judgments of the Book of Revelation.
Just a note: The “ten ways” above and the Scripture references I’ve given are representative, not exhaustive. There may be more than ten ways and I know there are many more instances in the Bible of God using these types of judgments.