It appears as though we are watching, in real time, the collapse of America the Great.
It’s easy to read that as a political statement, and although we can see the unseen war of the heavenlies playing out on the battlefield of earth, this is not intended to be taken as a political statement. We may just have front row seating to the collapse of a nation who has been blessed tremendously by God with tons of favorable gifts. And we, like Hosea’s wife, have used it for idolatry.
We have given credit to anyone, but God. In fact, we have lied to our offspring about the existence of God, and let the public school system indoctrinate them away from believing He is the Giver of all the good graces in their lives since they were malleable five-year olds. We turned our faces away, while deception was pouring into their minds about some catastrophic “miracle” of an explosion creating all they can see, morphing their ancestors from apes into humans. Rather than just giving credit where credit is due.
We were born in a first-world country, and decided it was our right, rather than spending each day basking in gratitude for how easy we have it. But now, it’s not so easy. And the deception is no longer as convenient to look away from (although many are still blind to it).
Over and over again, I read in the Bible that when nations rejected God repeatedly, He extended a whole lot of grace and patience, but their came a time when He was done. Kind-of like good parenting. We extend grace, but there comes a time when extending grace is actually just enabling our kids to act like selfish heathens, and we are practicing lazy, apathetic parenting. That’s not really grace, it’s just us abdicating our role. In this case, we are the obnoxious, disobedient, spiteful children, and God is the wise parent, who is about to pull the spanking spoon off the wall.
Today, I stood in the kitchen, sipping delicious coffee and dumping ingredients in a crockpot, when Smiles told me they had just found two new scraps of papyrus (or whatever it was written on) at the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls. On it were written Zechariah 8:16-17 and Nahum 1:5-6. These read, “These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgement for peace in your gates. Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.” (Zechariah) “Mountains quake because of Him and the hills dissolve; Indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, The world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire and the rocks are broken up by Him.” (Nahum). Seriously? Thousands of years and these two scraps of paper were preserved for THIS moment in history!
This is a stern warning. We have traded justice for deception. Righteousness for perjury. And ultimately, in doing so, peace and prosperity for judgment!
I sat in the church house, a few nights ago, skimming this obscure book in the Bible, Nahum. Funny it should come up again, twice in one week. The book of Nahum is where Ninevah is finally judged and overthrown.
I have been thinking a lot about the book of Jonah lately, the first part of Ninevah’s story. And wondering which we shall be like… Ninevah in Jonah’s day, or Nahum’s? In Jonah’s day, Ninevah was an incredibly wicked city, but God went to great lengths to warn them of their impending doom. They were just about to get wiped out, because of how far they’d swung the pendulum (and I dare say, like America has). But there was repentance and revival. Even the king of Ninevah tore his royal robe and covered himself with sackcloth and ashes (a sign of remorse and repentance). As a result, God turned His wrath away. He is a God who loves to show mercy and compassion. Like a good Father, who disciplines His children to train us, not to destroy us. To teach and help us, not to get revenge. Ninevah was humble, and that was the goal. They didn’t need destroyed, because they turned back towards Him, instead of continuing in their violent rejection of Him. Later, however, they went back to their wickedness, and finally were overturned in Nahum’s day.
About a week ago I was reading Joel (what is it with me and these minor prophets, lately?). In it, God is prophesying His impending judgments. Half way through the book, as I am wading the trenches of God’s prophesied wrath being poured out on humanity, I stumble on this passage, “Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; And rend your heart and not your garments.’ Now return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil. Who knows whether He will turn and relent and leave a blessing behind Him, even a grain offering and a drink offering for the Lord your God? Blow a trumpet in Zion, consecrate a fast, proclaim a solemn assembly, Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children and the nursing infants. Let the bridegroom come out of his room and the bride out of her bridal chamber. Let the priest, the Lord’s ministers, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, ‘Spare Your people, O Lord…” (Joel 2:12-17a).
This is my trumpet blast. I am not good at organizing things like a communal fast, but I can tell you with a bold, unashamed face, that we, as a nation, deserve the wrath of God, and if we have any hope of receiving mercy (and by the way, mercy means to show pity or compassion), we need to get real honest with Him about the ways we have sinned. Our entitlement. Our apathy. Our deception. Our selfishness. Ezekiel says “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” (Ezekiel 16:49-50). If we don’t see America in the mirror of Sodom, we aren’t being honest with ourselves.
So I plead with my brothers and sisters, as Joel did: Fast! Weep! Mourn! GATHER THE CHURCH! We are bleeding out, and if God doesn’t have mercy on us, we will soon perish! But just like Joel, we cry out “Spare Your people, O Lord.” And perhaps, He will have mercy, and leave a blessing behind Him!