“In a Fix”
“Why should the Gentiles say, ‘So where is their God (Psalm 115:2)?'”
In the wake of the awful mass murder in San Bernardino, California a number of people tweeted out that their “thoughts and prayers” were with the families of the victims. In response to some politicians tweets, that they too were adding their prayers, the New York Daily News (NYDN) ran this headline; GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS.1 To be sure the paper expressed the political frustrations of a segment of their readers but even more transparent was the open mocking of any appeal to a higher power in response to such a staggering incident. In laying bare their ridiculing motives, NYDN emboldened the word “prayers” in yellow in each of the quotes. Such “prayer shaming,” as it has been called, could not be possible unless there were many scoffers who share this view.
Is it not possible that this very attitude may be responsible for our hurt? It is undeniable that this country of our sojourn is increasingly turning its back on the God of heaven. In a generation the U.S. has turned to the nightly celebration of adultery, acceptance of infanticide, and bullying any who are perceived to not heartily endorse homosexuality. But worse still is the increasing scorn directed towards those who publicly profess faith in Christ.
Solomon wrote, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34).” But even Solomon found that when he turned his back on God that the Supreme King of the universe raised an adversary for him (1 Kings 11:14) and then another (1 Kings 11:23) shattering the peace.
The One who first created the nations (Genesis 11:8-9) has pre-appointed their boundaries (Acts 17:26).
The One who established the times and seasons for states to exist and exert influence (Daniel 2:21) is still the Ruler over the leaders of nations (Revelation 1:5). He who appointed those kings of old (Exodus 9:16, Daniel 5:32) still positions the powerful in the present day (Romans 13:1).
Throughout history God has judged individuals, rulers and nations. He patiently allowed some 400 years before employing the Israelites as His instrument of judgment against the Amorites (Genesis 15:16, Numbers 21:25). In His sovereignty the Lord chose to use the ungodly Assyria as His “rod of anger” to punish Israel for turning away from Him (Isaiah 10:5). But even that nation was merely an axe or a saw in the hands of a craftsman (Isaiah 10:15) and they too were judged (2 Kings 19:35-37, Jeremiah 50:18). When the prophet cried out for divine action against the violence in his country he was utterly astounded that the Lord should use Babylon against Judah (Habakkuk 1).
It is a testament to His patience and loving character that before rendering final judgment God would send an offer of repentance and peace (Deuteronomy 20:10-12, Jeremiah 18:7-10). Even to the Assyrians He sent a begrudging Jonah to warn them of doom. On that occasion the entire capital city repented and sought God’s mercy and He spared them (Jonah 3:9-10). He extended that same offer to Israel prior to using Assyria to conquer them (Joel 2:12-14, Amos 4:4-13).”
So, is God using a wicked people as His “rod of anger” to punish western nations in the present day? We don’t know this with certainty, but He is still the sovereign God of all the world and has that right and has presented us with a thorough record of such a precedent. God has always had a purpose for the nations of the earth. At Babel He scattered to preserve. Paul told the Greek philosophers that He has fixed the nation’s times and boundaries “in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us (Acts 17:26-27).”
He has scattered His citizenry (1 Peter 2:9, Philippians 3:20) about the globe and opened the borders of His nation so that we may help to turn a single mocker to pledge allegiance to Him (2 Kings 6:2-3, 17). Can God fix this? He already has (Revelation 14:6-7). Only one nation will endure forever, mockers be damned (Hebrews 12:22-29).
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me (Jeremiah 32:27)?”