About Jesus  -  Steve Sweetman

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When A Nation Forgets God

"In the third year of the reign of Jahoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.  And the Lord delivered Jahoiakim king of Israel into his hand" (Daniel 1:1 - 2 NIV).  Note that it was God who handed Judah (the southern Kingdom of Israel) and its king over to the Babylonians.  Why would God hand His own beloved nation over to its enemy?  Why would God cause His holy city of Jerusalem to be besieged? 


The fall of Judah (Israel) is a historical fact.  After a series of attacks Babylonian troops conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC and took captive most of its residents.  At that point Israel ceased to be a nation.  I hear Christians; including American Christians during this 2016 election, say that God would never cause their nation to fall, but He will.  "The Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone He wishes" (Daniel 4:36).  It is God's sovereign prerogative to "depose kings and raise up others" (Daniel 2:21).  He will do whatever is necessary to accomplish His will in a nation, and, His will is not always to bless.  Daniel 1:1 and 2 make that clear. 


Deuteronomy 8 provides insight into why God causes nations to fall in disgrace.  He reminded Israelis how He led them out of Egyptian captivity in miraculous fashion.  He told them to obey and revere Him, and to be thankful for the land He had given them.  He then said this.  "Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, and when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and when your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God ... You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.'  But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who has given you the ability to produce wealth ... (Deuteronomy 8:12, 13, 14, 17, and 18).   


Deuteronomy 8 is relevant to today's western world, including the United States.  Traditionally speaking, American Christians have claimed a godly heritage, much like Israel of old.  They have believed that God freed them from British domination as He freed Israel from Egyptian domination.  As was the case with Israel, they have believed their wealth and prosperity came from the Lord.  Also like Israel, America has become progressively proud of the nation it thinks its hands have built.  America, and really, the rest of the west, is arrogantly self sufficient.  America has forgotten the God who gave it its land, its international supremacy, and the ability to create wealth.  So what comes next?         


Deuteronomy 8:19 and 20 state what comes next.  "If you ever forget the Lord your God ... you will surely be destroyed."  The loss of their nation was a costly price for Israelis to pay for their forgetfulness.  Deuteronomy 8, the book of Daniel, and other passages, should remind us that even in our western democracies; it is God, not us, who installs our leaders to accomplish His will which directly impacts our nation's future.   


One way in which a nation falls is when God installs ungodly, unqualified, childlike leaders in positions of authority (Isaiah 3:4).  It is because of these unqualified leaders that a nation disintegrates in disgrace.  They become tools in the hand of God.  Maybe you will agree with me on this next point.  From my vantage point, and I've been involved in the election of a Republican candidate to the U.S. congress, the present candidates vying for the presidency of the United States exhibit the childlike qualities of Isaiah 3:4 that might well lead America to its ruins.  Whoever wins the race to the White House may not be your choice, but it will be God's choice.  If the above Biblical passages have any relevance today, and they do, America is teetering on a historic cliff.  Its fall is inevitable.  If this is so, Canada and other non-European democracies stand next in line.  It's my opinion that European democracies are already tumbling down the cliff.  


The siege of Jerusalem in 586 BC demonstrates that God is secure and confident in Himself and His abilities.  Unlike many of us, He is not afraid to destroy what He has built, whether it's a nation, a church community, or creation itself.  In fact He will destroy creation as we know it and replace it with a new creation (Revelation 21:1).  


When a nation, your nation included, forgets God it will disintegrate in disgrace.  Here's a question to ponder.  How do Christians live and survive while living in a godless nation falling at the hand of God's judgment?


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