Why is there such an increase of trouble for America? Could it be that our sins are beginning to catch up with us? Centuries ago Moses warned Israel that if she served God she would be the most blessed of all nations, but if she disobeyed God, terrifying judgment would come. In Deuteronomy 28:65-66, Moses warned: “And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life.”
Moses warned that the enemies of Israel would conquer her if she disobeyed God. We all know the history of Israel. We know that Israel did disobey God and that she suffered one judgment after another.
Today America is following the same dangerous path. We worship the gods of secularism and materialism. God is displeased, and I warn you that His anger is being kindled. If ever a nation has enjoyed prosperity and the blessing of God, it is America; but instead of giving thanks to God, we have offered our reverence and worship to created things. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:20-21, “There is therefore no possible defense for their conduct; knowing God, they have refused to honor him as God, or to render him thanks. Hence all their thinking has ended in futility, and their misguided minds are plunged in darkness” (NEB).
Could this be the difficulty with some of our leaders today? Has all the planning of the past few years by some of America’s most brilliant intellects begun to end in futility?
The Apostle Paul said, “They boast of their wisdom, but they have made fools of themselves.” Then comes the awful judgment—”For this reason God has given them up to the vileness of their own desires” (Romans 1:21, 24, NEB). In other words, the Bible says there will come a day when a nation sins so much against God that God will give them up, and will allow them to go on for a time in pleasure, worldliness, idolatry, wickedness and immorality. The Scripture says that there is pleasure in sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25), but warns that the pleasure will be extremely short-lived and that judgment will follow.
Paul wrote, “Thus, because they have not seen fit to acknowledge God, he has given them up to their own depraved reason. This leads them to break all rules of conduct. They are filled with every kind of injustice, mischief … and malice; they are one mass of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery and malevolence … They know well enough the just decree of God, that those who behave like this deserve to die, and yet they do it; not only so, they actually applaud such practices” (Romans 1:28-32, NEB). These words are from the Scriptures, but they sound like something taken from our daily newspapers.
Paul said that the kindness and patience of God are meant to lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4). However, we have spurned God’s mercy and kindness to America and have gone deeper into sin.
“For those,” continued Paul, “who are governed by selfish ambition, who refuse obedience to the truth and take the wrong for their guide, there will be the fury of retribution.”
From the beginning of the Bible to the end, God warns that any nation that departs from Him is going to suffer judgment. America has been given more spiritual and moral light than any nation in the history of the world. We have millions of Bibles at our disposal; there are hundreds of thousands of churches. Yet in spite of all this, we continue to be the most crime-ridden, the most divorce-prone, and the most immoral nation on earth. Pornography fills our newsstands, and we spew this filth all over the world.
How long will God withhold His hand of judgment? I tell you it will not be long. Unless we as a nation repent and turn to God, we are going to suffer a judgment such as no nation has ever endured. The Prophet Ezekiel said: “Every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble, every spirit will faint, and all knees will be weak as water. Behold, it is coming and shall be brought to pass,’ says the Lord God” (21:7).
This day God is speaking to our nation in a thousand ways urging us to repent of our sins and to turn to Him before it is too late. But as the Prophet Jeremiah said, “They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return.” (Jeremiah 5:3). So there is nothing left but judgment.
Three thousand years ago, when King Jehoshaphat ascended to the throne of David, his country, like ours, was surrounded by threatening foes. Earnestly and sincerely King Jehoshaphat sought peace for his people as we are doing today. This great ruler was a man of God. The Bible says that “he walked in the former ways of his father David” and that he “sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments. His heart took delight in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4, 6).
I pray that God will give to America candidates for office who are God-fearing, God-loving men and women. One of the deep-rooted troubles of the nation today is that so many of our leaders who control national affairs either do not know God or deliberately deny His existence by the way they live.
When the United Nations representatives met in London to frame their constitution, a delegate from the little republic of Panama was distressed because there was no reference to God in the proposed draft. He pleaded fervently for the name of God to be included. He recalled that the Japanese and the Nazis had renounced God, and he demanded, “Where are they now?” The assembly remained silent. When the debate was closed and the vote was recorded, it was found that only Panama and Colombia favored the motion. As a New York newspaper reported at that time, “God was rejected.” How different this was from the attitude of our Founding Fathers who landed at Plymouth Rock! They knew they could not succeed without God; and so the Constitution they penned, the Mayflower Compact, begins with the name of God.
When King Jehoshaphat sought peace and social progress for his people, what was his course of action? Did he try new laws, new social plans, new educational projects and new financial programs? No. He went back to the Word of God. Jehoshaphat demanded that his people learn the Word of God, that they live by it and that they humble themselves before God.
When Judah returned to the teachings of the Bible, one of the most striking triumphs of military history occurred. When his enemies, the Ammonites, the Moabites and the Edomites, made an alliance against Judah to destroy her, Jehoshaphat trusted God; and he sent into the field the strangest army that the world of warfare has ever witnessed. Ahead of his forces marched not infantry or cavalry, not men with swords and bows, but singers who chanted the Lord’s praises and the words of Scripture. No wonder that without fighting a battle, without losing a man, Judah put the enemy to flight! Obedience to the Word of God had brought peace.
If our nation at this hour would turn to the Word of God, then I guarantee on the authority of God’s Word that the enemies at our gates could be pushed back; God would intervene and put them to flight.
Visitors to Pitcairn Island in the South Pacific have compared the island to the Garden of Eden because it is a place of such happiness and contentment. It was first settled by mutineers and outlaws seeking to escape punishment. Because of the brutality that these criminals practiced on the little island (which was then only two miles long and one mile wide), it became filled with treachery, betrayal, racial strife, murder and war. Yet within 20 years after they had come to this island, the community had undergone a complete change. Harmony and good will reigned. Quarreling and cursing and war disappeared.
The people had turned to the Bible. They never began a meal without a prayer of thanksgiving. If during the day an islander had spoken hastily to his neighbor, he refused to let the sun go down on his wrath. On the Sabbath everyone went to church. All business was stopped. They had no labor troubles, no social troubles, no racial problems. Why? Years earlier, before the criminals burned the ship on which they had mutinied, someone rescued its Bible; and that Word of God brought the people to Jesus Christ and made a small Utopia out of a lonely South Seas island.
What would happen today if the Bible were the supreme authority in the United States? If every individual in America would accept Christ as Savior and begin to live up to the terms of the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus Christ could solve the problems that the nation faces—the race problem, the crime problem, the home problem, the international problems. He can also lift the burdens that we have as individuals; He can reach the problems down in the innermost recesses of our own souls.
The same things I have said about the United States are largely true in other countries as well, so those nations also need to repent if they are to be spared the judgment of God.
But many of you have frustrations and difficulties on a personal level. You have a civil war raging inside of you. I want to tell you that Jesus Christ can solve that problem and lift that heavy burden. He can bring peace to your soul.
A member of the British Parliament once said, “Let’s try God and see if He won’t solve our problems.” My message today to the nations of the world is this—turn to God before it is too late! And that is my message to you as an individual as well. Turn to God before it is too late.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Bible verses marked NEB are taken by permission from The New English Bible, ©1961, 1970 The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and The Syndics of the Cambridge University Press, Oxford and Cambridge, England.