Why is disaster and gloom the new norm for America? Isn’t this the land where our fathers died, the land of the Pilgrim’s pride? Aren’t we due continual blessings? Aren’t we are entitled to life, liberty, and happiness regardless of the way we live… or who (or what) we worship?
In the Bible, there are vital lessons to learn from Israel’s errors. The Israelites of old assumed - because they were God’s chosen people and were living in the land of promise - that they were automatically safe from enemy invasion; safe from disasters overtaking them; even immune from prosecution by God for violating his covenant with them.
God has built into creation an operating principle that applies even if you are a church-going practical atheist, like most Americans today. That law is this: “Whatever you sow, you will reap” (Gal. 6:7). An impartial Father watches our ways. He looks for reasons to bless us and show mercy, but if we persist in stubborn rebellion, He will let us reap sin’s sad harvest (1 Pet. 1:17). The bill comes due.
You can’t say “I didn’t know” when your conscience tells you that sexual immorality is wrong; lying or stealing is a sin; dishonoring your parents is wicked; betraying your vows is evil; and refusing to worship the Lord as your Creator is idolatry.
When Israel persisted in sin, ignored God’s prophets, and resisted the call to return to right living, they invariably came under judgment. Whether natural disaster, economic chaos, or an enemy invasion, their willful sin brought on the loss of heaven’s protection. When divine favor was revoked, they lost the land that was to be theirs forever, if only they would’ve kept the covenant. Sound familiar?
The writings of the New Testament still warn us. The scriptures appeal to the record of ancient Israel. “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction …” (1 Cor. 10.11) God is like any loving earthly father who says to his child, “I’m warning you: if you do that again, I’ll paddle you!”
Almighty God has standards. His grace isn’t a cover-up for sin. Consequences will occur. The One who gave us this beautiful land, who gave us rich blessings to enjoy, can quickly take it all away. Be warned. Pay attention to the Voice that still speaks from heaven. The Lord, the righteous judge, will appear once again and then He will judge the living and the dead (2 Tim. 4:1,8). God’s patience will run out.
By coincidence, the epic movie, Noah, is now at theaters in the USA. It will be a global success. While church folks quibble about minor details, the message is nevertheless a strong prophetic sign - a warning from God using Hollywood - to remind us that sin eventually, inevitably, always, brings judgment on nations. One day, time’s up.
Jesus said disaster would strike when our cultural sin repeated that of Noah’s day. “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah …” (Mt. 24:37). Jesus was referencing the Genesis flood that was designed to wipe out a depraved humanity so utterly defiled it was beyond hope; given over to sexual immorality, greed, gluttony, violence, and even the perversion of marriage.
People then were caught by surprise. They perished despite seeing the Ark being built over a period of 300 years. How about you? Had enough time to repent?
Ron Wood is a pastor, writer, and a former resident of Meridian. You may contact him at email@example.com.