Our Nation WILL be Judged
I was reading the book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament and was convicted by Chapter 5. Here it is in its entirety:
“Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city. 2 Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’ still they are swearing falsely.” 3 O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, “These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the Lord, the requirements of their God.” But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. 7 “Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. 8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man’s wife. 9 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the Lord. 11 The house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,” declares the Lord.
12 They have lied about the Lord; they said, “He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.”
14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says: “Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes. 15 O house of Israel,” declares the Lord, “I am bringing a distant nation against you – an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. 16 Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. 17 They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust. 18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy you completely. 19 And when the people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’
20 “Announce this to the house of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah: 21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say to themselves, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’ 25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. 26 “Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men. 27 Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful 28 and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not plead the case of the fatherless to win it, they do not defend the rights of the poor. 29 Should I not punish them for this?” declares the Lord. “Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?
30 “A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end? (Jeremiah 5:1-31)
These passages of Holy Scripture may specifically mention Jerusalem, Israel and Judah, but I do not believe that a more apt and fitting description of the United States as it is at the present time exists.
There are 6 themes that Jeremiah brings out in Chapter 5:
1) Moral corruption
-Increasingly, there are fewer and fewer who are righteous.
For a moment, let’s take a step back and look at what it means to be righteous. Righteousness is defined as holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard. Righteousness is a moral concept, and since God’s character is its source and definition (Genesis 18:25, Deuteronomy 32:4, Romans 9:14), the righteousness of human beings is defined in terms of God’s righteousness. In the Old Testament, righteousness defines our relationship with God (Psalm 50:6, Jeremiah 9:24) and our relationship with other people (Jeremiah 22:3). In a context of relationships between people, righteousness consists of those actions which promote the peace and well-being of human beings in their relationships with each other. In a context of relationship between people and God, ever since the Fall of mankind, people have been inherently unrighteous (Isaiah 64:6). The bottom line is that people cannot be righteous by their own merits in the sight of God, and must therefore have God’s righteousness imputed (transferred) to them.
This is what the cross of Jesus Christ has done.
God accounts (transfers) the righteousness of Christ to those who trust in Him (Romans 4:3-22, Galatians 3:6, Philippians 3:9). People do not become righteous through their own inherent goodness, simply because they have none (all people have a sin nature), so when we trust in Jesus Christ, God sees us as righteous because of our identification by faith with His Son.
Increasingly, more and more people are living their lives away from God, and away from the provision that He has made for the forgiveness of their sins, which is His Only Son Jesus Christ. People are not living their lives in accordance with behaviors which God considers to be morally correct and which are honoring to Him, but are instead living their lives in accordance with behaviors that are morally correct in their own eyes: which leads to death (Proverbs 14:12). A moral standard by its inherent meaning must be an objective standard, not a subjective standard, and must be thoroughly above reproach… only God’s moral standard meets this criteria, because only a sinless God can create such a standard, and more importantly, judge justly by that standard.
Do you want just one example of the moral corruption of our nation? Abortion… about one and a half million innocent souls brutally slaughtered every year. This is what God says:
“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)
2) Sexual impurity
-Increasingly, there are more and more who are indulging in sexual behaviors that God has not sanctioned through His Word.
The Word of God condemns sexual impurity (Exodus 20:14, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9). Despite what God has said in His Word, many people deliberately choose a lifestyle that embraces forbidden sexual behaviors. It may be protested that people are born this way and can’t change, but God has said otherwise (Genesis 1:27, 5:2). It may be protested that people are being allowed to be unduly tempted by God, but God has said otherwise (James 1:13-15). It may be protested that undue temptation can’t be overcome, but God has said otherwise (1 Corinthians 10:13). It may be protested that what God has said in the Old Testament regarding sexual (and other) sin is no longer applicable in this day and age as people have become more enlightened and progressive, but God has said otherwise (Hebrews 13:8).
It is an historical fact that one of the last afflictions a civilization will endure before its collapse and destruction is sexual impurity: and such behaviors are on an aggressive rise. Not only are these behaviors on the rise, but the acceptance of them as normal lifestyles is on the rise as well, and this is an abomination to God (Romans 1:32).
3) Treacherous unbelief
-Increasingly, there are more and more who have an unbelief in God, and in His Word, that quite simply defies description. As beings created by the hand and the breath of God in His image (Genesis 1:26), we have a special relationship to Him, and we are precious in His sight… we are the crowning achievement in His creation, given the responsibility for governance of all of God’s creation. By His divine (and revealed through Holy Scripture) plan, all who believe in Him and who have faith in His Son Jesus Christ are His covenant people, were made for the praise and the glory of His Name (Psalm 103), and are destined for eternal life in the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 23:43, Revelation 2:7). Unbelief in God is a ‘willed’ choice because all people understand innately that God exists through what has been created by His hand (Romans 1:20); Jesus Christ knew this type of unbelief, and the hatred that grows from it, very well (John 15:18,23,25). Unbelief comes from sin, and is simply and accurately defined as rebellion against God. All such rebellion, if not repented of, will be punished severely (Romans 6:23). Why will it be punished? Because God is not only a loving God, but a just God… and by a perfect standard of justice, ALL sin must be punished.
4) Religious Apostasy
-Increasingly, there is a ‘falling away’ from sound, Biblically-based religious doctrine and from God’s truth as revealed in Holy Scripture, as literally millions of people formally abandon Christianity. This is a truly alarming trend, but one that was not unknown even in the early days of the Christian faith (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). What is being seen on an unprecedented scale today is that in order to substantiate their false beliefs and to justify their errant and perverse behaviors, people will resort to any spiritually oriented methodology or strongly held thought, even things taught by demons, that will appease their consciences, and will actively seek out what they want to hear, not what they need to hear (1 Timothy 4:1-2, 2 Timothy 4:3-4). People who do these things will demonstrate their perverted and corrupted natures openly, something that we are seeing everywhere now (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Christians neither practice apostate religion, nor associate with those that do (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Be aware that in these, the very last of the last days, the man of lawlessness will arise and oppose God (2 Thessalonians 2:4), having his power because the Holy Ghost (who is currently restraining his evil) will have been removed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7). The evil one will display his power through the man of lawlessness through all manner of evil, and millions will perish because of his ability to deceive those who cannot discern what is the truth because they love what is a lie (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Discernment of spiritual truths is not a ‘given’, as Holy Scripture very clearly indicates (1 Corinthians 2:14). Do not presume that things will ‘get better’. Know that they will get worse.
5) Social Injustice
-Increasingly, there is gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ that is not only present, but that is continuing to widen aggressively, not only in the industrialized nations of the world, but in all the nations of the world. An increase in leisure time has not resulted in any better use of that time to either directly help those who need help, or advocate for them. An increase in wealth has not resulted in more giving to charitable causes, or to the church (and other organizations) to support those who need help. Personal and corporate greed is higher than has ever been observed, on a per capita basis, ever. We have all manner of possessions and distractions to allow us not to see those in distress, and to not respond to their needs even on a minimal basis. It is antithetical to the secular worldview to care about others, and to address the concerns of social injustices to the extent that we have the capability, but… God cares about the poor, the fatherless, the alien, the orphan, and the widow (there are 430 references to these in the NIV translation of the Holy Bible), not to mention what people are constantly doing to each other in terms of prejudice, wars, social ostracism, broken relationships and other manifestations of our sin nature. All that we have to do is to take a serious look around ourselves to see what an appalling mess we have made of the world that God entrusted to our care. What we do not understand is that all people who have less than what we have do not have less rights, and we are all the same in God’s eyes, because we have all been created by His will, by His hand. Christians are to indulge in pure and faultless religious practices (James 1:27). God will avenge all injustices willfully committed against those who are unable to defend themselves, because He is a just, as well as a loving, God.
6) Corrupt leaders
-Increasingly, there are leaders of nations and peoples that are corrupt. It can be safely said that few, if indeed any, politicians espouse true Christian values, and those who do not are characterized after that fashion in Holy Scripture (Philippians 3:18-19). If one’s mind is not on God, then one’s mind is on the world. If one’s values are not God’s values, then one’s values are those of the world. A Christian leader cannot have one foot in God’s Kingdom and one foot in the world. A Christian leader cannot serve two sets of interests that are diametrically opposed (Matthew 6:24). Leaders that are corrupt are full of their own ideas, are not led by God’s Holy Spirit, and do almost irreparable harm to the people they lead because they either lead them into a disaster through a lack of discernment, or do so through blatant intent because they pay no heed to divine truth at all. It is a sad affair that to be put into power, a person must do what the people want, instead of doing what God wants (as revealed in His Word). God is the only One who is correct 100% of the time (past, present and future), and people’s opinions as to what is right and wrong, as expressed through polls or the popular vote, don’t matter to Him (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Thus we have a picture of our nation, from Jeremiah Chapter 5), neatly summarized as follows:
-Corruptness of conduct (verses 1-9)
-Self complacency (verses 10-19)
-Apathy (verses 12-13)
-Sheer callousness (verses 20-29)
-A conspiracy of evil flowing from the center to the edges of community life (verses 30-31)
It is a picture of a nation that will come under God’s judgment, because it is a picture of a nation that has turned its back on Him, scorned His work and His Word, cast aspersions upon His character and glory, belittled the blood sacrifice of His Son for the forgiveness of sins, ignored His calls to repentance, and relied upon its own wisdom and discernment. It is a picture of a nation that has suffered loss of the ultimate free gift: a right relationship with God, the loss of which has already led to moral and spiritual decay and degeneration, and which will lead to eventual and complete destruction.
The fate of every man is this:
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)
Is there any hope? One… and one only:
if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)