By Ernest A. Finley
Where are we headed as a nation? I speak of America.
Of course, only God knows the answer. But a look at history might help us to see what probably lies ahead.
Take a look at Israel. When Israel faithfully served God, it prospered. But when it became like its sinful neighbors, it fell under divine judgment. The Babylonian captivity of Judah illustrates the fate of a nation that spurns God’s will.
Is there reason to believe that God deals differently with ungodly nations today than in centuries past? I am of the persuasion that he does not, though his judgments may be manifest in diverse ways. And, while there is no nation in the world that could rightfully claim to be a righteous nation, yet, would it not be reasonable to think that a nation with a greater manifestation of righteousness would be more apt to enjoy his favor than one that is almost totally given over to works of iniquity? Solomon tells us, “Righteousness exalteth a nation; But sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).
Now, let us take a look at America.
Consider the large percentage of children in our land who have no spiritual influence whatsoever exerted in their lives. Many times, the only occasion in which they hear God’s name mentioned is when his name is taken in vain. Many children receive no help in avoiding the corrupting influences in society. God intends for fathers to “nurture” their children “in the chastening and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4), but how many fathers in America are doing it? Is there any wonder that as a nation we are drifting farther and farther away from God?
Marriage and the Home
It does not bode well for America when we consider the attitude of so many toward marriage and the home. A few years ago this writer was assisting in a wedding ceremony. While I was impressing the idea of the sanctity of marriage, impressing the fact that it is a divinely ordained relationship, a young couple in the audience was heard to say, “We prefer ‘shackin’ up.” Today, millions of couples in America are living together without the benefit of marriage. This, in spite of the fact that the gospel says, “Let marriage be had, in honor among all, and let the bed be undefiled: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4). Half the marriages in America end in divorce, not to mention the number of husbands and wives that are separated but not divorced. America seems to have forgotten that God said, “I hate putting away” (Mal. 2:16). Further, an alarming percentage of husbands and wives are unfaithful to their companions. Do we not have reason to fear for the future of a nation that deals in such treachery and such debauchery? I feel that I would be dilatory in my duty if I did not warn that America is in trouble.
Sodomy is not new to the world. This is one of the evils that led to the destruction of the sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, the evil is named after Sodom. But, sadly, such sin has become more prevalent in America in recent years, or, if not more prevalent, at least more brazen and bold. When I was a youth, the “pervert” stayed hidden in the closet or the back alley. But today he is parading his or her perversion and demanding acceptance for his “alternate lifestyle.” Certain religions (?) in our society are accepting these ungodly wretches into their fellowship and ordaining preachers to “minister” to them in their continuing licentiousness. But such immorality is strongly condemned in the gospel of our Lord. Paul warns that those who engage in such are going to miss heaven (see 1 Cor. 6:9,10). Remembering what happened to Sodom, we ask, “What lies ahead for a nation that approves or tolerates such evil?”
One of the most alarming considerations of our day is the evil of abortion. When Hitler murdered approximately six million Jews, many nations of the world were outraged. But since the Roe vs. Wade decision was handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States, over three times that many unborn infants have been murdered legally, and that in our nation alone. That is over nineteen million! Can a nation that is murdering millions upon millions of innocent and defenseless unborn infants go unpunished? It strikes fear in my heart to even ask the question. America must repent if we are to avert divine retribution.
Drugs and Alcohol
The drug and alcohol problem has reached catastrophic proportions (alcohol is a drug too). Drug addiction and alcoholism are widely prevalent in our society. Our Lord tells us through the apostle Paul, “They who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21). If this evil gets much worse, God will not need to destroy us as a nation. We will destroy ourselves. Is it too late? I think not. But only God knows the answer.
Paul warned Timothy that “perilous” or “grievous” times lay ahead (see 2 Tim. 3:14). Among other considerations, Paul made it clear that those days could be identified by the fact that men would become “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” He mentioned also that they would become “lovers of money.” Do I miss the mark when I charge that many in our day are “lovers of money” and “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”? Indeed, are not many in America “pleasure-mad”? Are not many materialistic, thinking far more of wealth than of spiritual values, than even heaven itself?
A Divine Warning
David, a man inspired of the Spirit, warned, “The wicked shall be turned back unto Sheol, even all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17). While David’s warning relates to the eternal destiny of the wicked citizens of a wicked nation, God can judge a nation even before eternity dawns ‘ and often has. After Babylon had served as an instrument of divine judgment against sinful Judah, it became the object of divine wrath and judgment itself. As assuredly as God destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he can destroy sinful nations today. Just ten righteous souls in the sinful city of Sodom would have saved it from destruction (Gen. 18:20-33) but they were not to be found (Gen. 19:13,24,25). There is no way of knowing what God’s attitude toward America is today as it relates to our future or destiny as a nation. But has not God already shown a lot of longsuffering? Just how long can his patience endure? Is there yet enough righteousness in our nation that God will withhold divine judgment or wrath?
Lest it should appear that I am giving America no credit whatsoever for the good that there is in it, I am fully aware of the fact that there are righteous souls in our land. Among the young and the elderly alike there are those who have faith in God and our Savior and who are striving to live to their glory. There are those who respect the divine principles of morality, who honor marriage and the home, to whom Sodomy is wholly repugnant, who would not for a moment entertain the idea of getting an abortion, who from the earliest years of their lives “learned to say ‘no… to drugs and alcohol, who have a lot more concern with spiritual matters than material things and who are sincerely intent on spending eternity with God. But let us remember that when Judah was taken away into Babylonian captivity there were righteous citizens in the nation of Judah. Daniel was a resident of Judah and so were his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Daniel had enough faith to go through the lion’s den. His friends had enough faith to come safely through the fiery furnace. No doubt, there were others in Judah who were righteous. Still, Judah’s wickedness was so great that God brought his judgment upon her.
Where are we headed as a nation? To better things if we do better. To divine wrath if we continue in a downward course.
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 10, pp. 291-292
May 18, 1989