By Ed Hindson
America has pushed God to the limit of His patience. We have legalized sodomy and criminalized the Ten Commandments. We continue to protect abortionists, while we arrest pro-life protesters. We cry about the treatment of whales but turn a deaf ear to the cries of the unborn. We want God out of our schools but complain that public education is failing to teach morals and values.
We have the most confused system of morality of any nation in history and we still cant figure out what is wrong with us. I fear that we have crossed the line of Gods grace and patience. In so doing, we are inviting the wrath of God upon our society and ourselves.
Would God really do that? you ask. Would He really get mad at us?
The Bible is filled with examples of the anger of God. It is often described as provoking Him to wrath. It is like God saying, Alright, Ive had enough! Such was the case with the generation of Noahs day who were wiped out by the flood (Genesis 6:5-7). Gods holy wrath also fell upon the Israelites who sinned against Him in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-35). Moses, Joshua and the prophets all warned people about the wrath of God (Isaiah 10:6).
In the New Testament, Paul predicted the coming day of wrath (Romans 2:5). He even described unbelievers as children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). The Book of The Revelation refers to the coming apocalyptic judgments as the wrath of God (Revelation 16:1). All of these warnings remind us of the reality of the fact that God does indeed get mad. And when He does, you dont want to be there!
The book of Judges is filled with statements about the perfect anger of God. It begins by observing that the Israelites soon forgot the Lord after conquering the Promised Land. The Bible says: there arose another generation which knew not the Lord and provoked the Lord to anger (Judges 2:10, 12). Time and time again, the book of Judges tells us the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel (Judges 3: 7-8).
The pattern soon became very clear. Every time Israel sinned against God, He strengthened their enemies and enabled them to overpower the Israelites. Each act of Gods judgment was intended to bring them to repentance. He was trying to teach them to seek Him and remain faithful to Him.
Days of the Judges
The book of Judges is familiar to most of us through its unusual and outstanding characters like Samson, Gideon and Deborah. Despite the temporary successes of these military heroes, Judges is really a book about spiritual apostasy. At least six cycles of compromise, apostasy, oppression, repentance and deliverance occur in this book. In many ways, Judges is the opposite of Joshua. Under Joshuas leadership, Israel won constant victories in their conquest of the Promised Land. But the next generation failed to maintain that victory in the days of the Judges.
Israel was fresh from victory when the book of Judges opened. But the victorious conquest was quickly replaced with an attitude of compromise and toleration as the next generation took over the land they had inherited from their forefathers. Their incomplete settlement of the conquered territory was followed by a lack of leadership as every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).
The moral and spiritual weakness of Israel during the time of the Judges is one of the darkest chapters in her long history as a nation. In some cases, they actually forsook the Lord and adopted the worship of Baal and Ashtar, the gods of the Canaanites whom they had conquered. Soon they were committing numerous violations of Gods laws including lying, stealing, sexual immorality and murder.
The last five chapters formulate an appendix that catalogs Israels outrageous spiritual decline. Spiritual compromise led to moral corruption, which resulted in civil catastrophe. These stories reveal the sad condition of the spiritual life of the nation in those dark days. Despite the efforts of Hebrew heroes, like Gideon, the general quality of spiritual life was extremely low during this entire period.
The book of Judges deals with spiritual apostasy as it affected individual families as well as the nation as a whole. Samson couldnt keep his Nazirite vows. Gideons father worshipped Baal. Micah was a thief. His mother was an idolater. The Levite had a concubine. The entire tribe of Dan forsook its spiritual inheritance. The Benjamites incited a civil war among the Israelite tribes. The whole story of the Judges ends in spiritual chaos and civil disaster.
Learning From History
It has often been said that the only lesson we learn from history is that we dont learn from history. This is especially tragic in light of the fact that the Bible tells us, now these things were our examples to the intent that we not repeat these same mistakes (I Corinthians 10:6). If we miss this point, we really are asking for trouble.
I realize that America is not Israel. The covenant promises of God were unique to Israel as His chosen people. They were a theocratic nation, whereas we are a democratic nation. God was literally their King. He made specific promises to Israel that were for her alone. Still, the basic spiritual principles upon which God operates are the same for all people in all generations. We cannot sin against the laws of God and expect to get away with it. He holds us accountable personally, and He will also hold us accountable collectively.
In his famous speech on Mars Hill in Athens, the Apostle Paul said, God now commands all men every where to repent (Acts 17:30). In the context of his sermon, the apostle indicated that God was patient with men for centuries. But since the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, He calls on all men to give their lives to Him. There are no excuses for unbelief in light of the many infallible proofs God has given us regarding His Son and His plan of salvation for mankind.
Unfortunately, many Americans have not responded to the call of God. They have turned to the false gods of secularism, materialism and selfism. The secular high priesthood of self-deceived scoffers snubs its blasphemous nose at the God of the Bible while promoting the religion of tolerance for all beliefs. The end result of this contemporary wave of apostate religion has left the average American with little use for God.
The Master of Disaster
The Bible describes Satan as the father of lies and pictures him as the ultimate deceiver (John 8:44). He is depicted in Scripture as the accuser of God and His people (Revelation 12:10). He opposes God and seeks to alienate people from the truth of God (II Thessalonians 2:10). Ultimately, He inspires false prophets and the very spirit of Antichrist (I John 2:18-23).
The Bible clearly warns us that in the last days people will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons (I Timothy 4:1).
It is no wonder that spiritual-minded people are concerned about the future. Anyone familiar with the cycles of failure in the book of Judges realizes that we are in a downward spiral. Just as that generation forgot God and suffered the consequences 3,000 years ago, so our generation is in danger of making God mad as well.
Sometimes Gods wrath is expressed in direct and immediate acts of judgment like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Other times, His anger is expressed by simply letting society suffer the consequences of their own choiceslike the Israelites insisting on a king like Saul, instead of one of Gods choosing. One of the great surprises about God is that He sometimes gives us exactly what we want just to teach us a lesson about Who is really in charge.
Some have lost hope for this generation altogether. Others have diluted the Gospel message to make it more acceptable to todays generation. But lost in this ecclesiastical revisionism is the message that sent Christ to the cross and the disciples to martyrdom. I believe we still have time to turn this generation around. But it needs to be done quickly, before God really gets mad. When He does, it will be too late!
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