Judgment? You mean judgment, as in reference to a very unpleasant act or series of very unpleasant acts initiated by a holy God upon a society of depraved people? Surely not! Haven't we been told for years that God is a God of great compassion and love, and it is not within the nature of God to inflict any trouble or discomfort of any kind upon people anytime? Well, yes, it would appear so from the overwhelming references made to God in sermons, Sunday School teachings, books, devotional tools, and seminary preparations of pastors. Granted that in a few isolated instances there may be a reference to the "judgment of God," but it's kind of like a dose of castor oil -- we'll do anything to avoid it, and if we have to take it, then get it over with as soon as possible and hope it will be a long, long time before we have to deal with it again!
That God has at times throughout human history taken a very negative course of action and inflicted devastation of various kinds upon people for excessive wickedness is extensively documented in the Scriptures. The scope of God's judgments have ranged from world wide (Noah's generation)(1), nations (Egypt, Babylon, Israel, Judah)(2), communities (Sodom, Gomorrah)(3), and individuals (Korah, Dathan, Abiram, Ananias, Sapphira, Herod)(4). Defeat, destruction, and death are the heart rending results of the judgment of God!
Details as to why God would do this have been spelled out in the Scriptures. Sometimes the reason given is a simple statement as in Genesis that the hearts of people were wicked continually and they were intent on doing evil repeatedly wherever they were.(5). But greater details are given regarding judgment on nations such as the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In Judah's case we have an abundance of information as to why God severely judged the kingdom in 586 BC with Babylon being His "instrument" through which the judgment was carried out.
The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel are excellent sources of information as to what the spiritual atmosphere in Judah was in the years prior to the judgment God brought against the kingdom.
In summary the major offenses were widespread idolatry, immorality, and child sacrifice which was more commonly referred to as the "shedding of innocent blood."(6). In the idolatry aspect, the people were taking up with the false gods of the heathen cultures which surrounded them. Some of the religious "rituals" included immoral sexual acts. God indicated that the spiritual condition had deteriorated so badly that the nation had a "whore's forehead"(7) and refused to blush because of its sins!
However, God's compassion is seen over the years by raising up and sending forth prophets(8) who issued a call for total repentance and a return to God. But the calls were rejected and often the prophets were considered the "bad guys" who spoke a gloom and doom message which nobody wanted to hear! After all, isn't it a fact that one is expected to be positive at all times? There has been a heavy emphasis on the "positive" approach in ministry among pastors in this country for years.
And so in due time after many repeated warnings that judgment would come if there were no repentance, it really did happen!(9).
Now then, all of the foregoing is to remind us that cultures in the past didn't escape the judgment of God when they rejected the call to repent from all sin. So why do we in the United States think that we are exempted from the standards to which those ancient peoples were held accountable? Or maybe we've bought into the popular heresy that God doesn't do a "judgment" thing anymore, if ever He really did so in times past.
Consider some reasons why we as a nation are fast approaching the "ripened" stage wherein God responds in acts of judgmental wrath:
Our massive and entrenched idolatry in the forms of objects and/or involvements which mean much, much more to us than does God! For a kind of dramatization of this go to Popular Deities of American Culture! (Use reverse on your browser to come back to this area).
Our abominable brand of "shedding of innocent blood" in the form of millions of unborn children having been destroyed since 1973! The total of the victims is kept up to date with our little "number cruncher" seen just below. The average number destroyed on a daily basis is from 3,700 to 4,000, depending on whether the abortionists (read "executioners") are having a good day or not.
Millions of unborn children have been intentionally murdered all over
the world over time and the United States has contributed tens of millions
to the total - see latest tally at Number of Abortions
If you haven't taken a look yet, it helps to get a better perspective on the gravity of this abomination so widely accepted in the United States of America by going to:
- United States Holocaust Gallery!
- USA's Hidden Horrors!
- Justice Denied!
- RU - 486 -- The Final Nail?
(Use reverse feature on your web browser to return here.)
Our sexual immorality openly flouted and brazenly practiced in many forms, such as fornication, adultery, and homosexuality/lesbianism. And in addition to these, there are also the many facets of sexual abuse of children. In recent years there has been a concerted effort to advance the cause of homosexuals and lesbians for full acceptance in our society, including the goals of legitimate "marriage" in eyes of church and state and the adoption of children for establishing "families."
Our consistent fulfillment of the deadly loves as outlined in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 -- the love of self, money, and pleasures more than loving God!
The tragic lack of spiritual disciplines on the part of those who profess to be Christian in faith and followers of Jesus Christ. Surveys and studies done turn up a common malady -- serious, intense daily prayer and Bible study are clearly not the practice for huge numbers of professing Christians! And since those critical practices are not taken seriously, the pursuit of and demonstration of a life that speaks clearly of the holiness of God is not a top priority item. It is far easier to find ourselves marching to the drum beat of the world around us, and voice little or no objection to the juggernaut of ungodliness which is nothing less than a devastating malignancy eating away at the soul of our culture.
Our times of prosperity have produced a drifting that has taken place and a complacency that has taken hold with a growing attitude that we are pretty much in control of everything -- it happened in the kingdom of Judah not so long before God's judgment came upon them and God specifically points out the snare of propserity.(10).
There is the issue of "sabbath keeping" which to some degree has always been a controversial subject whether you argue over what is the proper day, or exactly what it is that you do to observe sabbath! One thing is for sure -- there was a time when things were fairly quiet on Sunday with a lot of families going to Sunday School and worship services at their respective churches. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and maybe visiting with relatives. Businesses and factories for the most part were shut down. But then after WW II especially, the pressure was on to "open" Sunday up to business and entertainment! So that now it's totally wide open with everything going full speed ahead 7 days a week! Sunday really ought to be renamed "Fun-day" due to the fact that even a number of professing Christians can't wait for church to "let out" because we've got a full day of activities scheduled -- places to go and things to do, including shopping for those "Sunday specials" with a lot of discounts! What has been lost in all this is the fact that God incorporated a 7 day cycle into His creation -- He demonstrated how it is to work. He created for 6 days and then rested the 7th day -- remember that? And God does say quite a bit about Sabbath observance throughout His Word! For humans there is something about the balance of that 7 day cycle -- 6 days of work and activity of many kinds and then worship and relaxation on the 7th day in order to be renewed, refreshed (spiritually and physically) and then be ready for the next 6 days of activity! Break and violate the cycle and in the process you will be broken! Little wonder we have people falling apart emotionally, physically, and spiritually in huge numbers, and this in turn has a very negative impact on the nation at large! There is little encouragement that we will attempt to discipline ourselves to adhere to this very basic principle of balance which God has woven into His creation -- we'll just keep gulping our pills and run like crazy until we drop into the grave!
And there is the issue of the return of Jesus Christ to this earth -- He stressed that His people were to be alert to the "signposts" that would point to His return drawing near and take responsibility in faithfully representing Him and His Kingdom, but since this too has been such a controversial subject in the church, we just sort of ignore it and pretend such a thing isn't all that serious. And besides, the idea of His coming back to this planet is more of a far fetched interpretation of certain Bible texts held by a rather radical element of persons who claim they are Christians!
Yes, it must be conceded that in the midst of all this there is a lot of church activity, and a few million people go to church each Sunday. Here and there we hear of reported "outpourings" of blessing, and some speak of "revival" and "awakenings" taking place. And there are people who are accepting Jesus Christ as Savior and experiencing the new birth from above. BUT, there is no unified call for repentance, and the subject is still more often neglected at the local church level than not! Further, there is certainly no real impact being made at the national level so that we hear prominent church, political (national, state & local), mass media, military, corporate CEO's, business, educational, professional, and community leaders urging and exhorting the citizens of the need to seek God with humble and contrite hearts in genuine repentance, confessing personal and corporate sin! (See Daniel 9 for a superior guideline regarding prayer on this issue).
Perhaps most disturbing in this is the fact that the group identified as "evangelical" doesn't seem to have a whole lot to say about the very real possibility of an angry God in His fury bringing judgment upon this nation! It may be that this group, which already has its back against the ropes in attempting to deal with the same gender coupling crowd, hasn't really taken a good hard look at the overall spiritual condition of the culture and drawn some disturbing comparisons between us and ancient Judah in the few decades preceding its destruction in 586 BC. Or maybe most just want to play the ostrich game with this one! So, in being distracted in the attempt to be "nicey, nicey" and not risk offending the same gender coupling crowd, but at the same time trying to insist that we are "evangelical" and "Biblical," we can't seem to interpret those fuzzy out-of-focus markings on the wall that resemble some sort of hand writing!
There's more than an outside chance that when God begins to deal with this nation, as He has done in times past with other peoples, that a common cry will be heard coming from within as well as outside the church -- "Why is God doing this to us?"(11). And it just may be that God will send forth a prophet or two or more to give an explantion which likely will be immediately rejected! Take a close look at a concise summary as to how a culture self destructs in 2 Chronicles 36:11-21 -- see anything that is a teensey weensey bit disturbing?
And so I close this as I have done in a few other areas of Circuit Rider's Range by asking,
Is it possible that the nation living under
the above banner by refusing to repent (12)
may end up like this?
Millions of unborn children have been intentionally murdered all over
the world over time and the United States has contributed tens of
millions to the total - see latest tally at Number of Abortions
1. Genesis 6, 7
2. Exodus 8 - 12; Jeremiah 50, 51; Jeremiah 46; 2 Kings 16; 2 Chronicles 36:11-21; Lamentations
3. Genesis 19:1-29; 2 Peter 2:6
4. Numbers 16:1-35; Acts 5:1-11; 12:21-23
5. Genesis 6:5
6. Jeremiah 7:5-7; 19:1-6: 22:3
7. Jeremiah 3:3: 6:15
8. Jeremiah 7:13, 25-31; 25:4-11; 2 Chronicles 36:15
9. 2 Chonicles 36:11-21
10. Jeremiah 22:21, 22
11. Jeremiah 16:9-12
Take a Selah Moment before leaving:"I listened and heard, but they do not speak aright. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle. Even the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times; and the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD."
Jeremiah 8:6,7 (NKJV)
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Update - May 1, 2020 by CDH