I believe there is a progression of actions God takes when His people turn their backs on Him:
1) He calls them back–through Prophets, the Word, Preachers, the Holy Spirit, etc.
2) If they refuse to listen, He removes His hand of blessing (which they may have previously enjoyed, but have not given Him credit or praise for.)
3) If they continue in rebellion, He sends them discipline (may be through economic turmoil, security threat, natural disaster, etc.
4) If they continue, He then sends His wrath (this is bad–major problems, overthrow, collapse…)
You can see this pattern throughout the Old Testament, in the New Testament book of Romans, the early chapters of Revelation, etc.
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:18-32)
The big question of the day is ‘Where is the United States on that continuum’?
That is IF you assume that there was a day when our country sought and acknowledged the blessings of God, and tried to fulfill His will in this earth, and IF you acknowledge that, as a country, this is no longer the case…where are we at in this progression?
I believe we are on #3 and rapidly heading toward #4.
The only reason we haven’t experienced economic collapse is that our FED and the Central Banks around the world are propping countries up–with smoke and mirrors–to keep the charade going. This is not sustainable, and at some point will implode.
Our morality is imploding around us, and we are no longer simply ‘allowing sin’ (as defined in the Scriptures), but are now CELEBRATING and APPLAUDING sin and are attacking anyone who calls it that (see v. 32 above).
Our political leaders seem to either lack courage, lack conviction, or lack wisdom–so that they refuse to do what is necessary to get us back on track. (It’s possible that they not only lack those things, but that they actually posses evil, greed, and avarice, so that they are purposely doing these things.)
Bottom Line: We’ve told God–as a nation–to leave us alone, we’ve shut Him out, and now we are in danger of experiencing His wrath.
So, what is the answer?
We’ve pointed to it all week: The Only Hope is in His People–the church–dedicating themselves anew, with new-found boldness, all-out worship, and life-changing passion–to know Him, serve Him, and make Him known.
That’s why Revival and Renewal are so crucial!
And they only come through prayer, humility, repentance and worship–See 2 Chronicles 7:14)
If that happens, then we may get our nation back on track, acknowledging Him and experiencing His blessing again.
Even then, though–even if we do experience His wrath and punishment–His People are going to have to humble themselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our own wicked ways. Then, perhaps, He will restore.
In the days of the Prophet Joel He said this:
“Even now,” declares the Lord,
“return to me with all your heart,
with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
13 Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity.
14 Who knows? He may turn and relent
and leave behind a blessing—
grain offerings and drink offerings
for the Lord your God.
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
declare a holy fast,
call a sacred assembly.
16 Gather the people,
consecrate the assembly;
bring together the elders,
gather the children,
those nursing at the breast.
Let the bridegroom leave his room
and the bride her chamber.
17 Let the priests, who minister before the Lord,
weep between the portico and the altar.
Let them say, “Spare your people, Lord.
Do not make your inheritance an object of scorn,
a byword among the nations.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”
18 Then the Lord was jealous for his land
and took pity on his people.
19 The Lord replied[a] to them:
“I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil,
enough to satisfy you fully;
never again will I make you
an object of scorn to the nations…
25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]—
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.
28 “And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.” (Joel 2:12-28)
I hope and pray that God’s people and the Church will repent and turn to the Lord.
I hope and pray that the Lord will show His mercy.
I hope and pray that, no matter what happens we will serve Him, worship Him and point others to Him.
Let us pray for that.