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Welcome the Discipline of God

Recent events have led to a national (and even global) panic.  Most of the recent panic is due solely to the declining economy as banks are failing, stocks are dropping, and people are losing jobs and money.  Many factors have contributed to these issues, including irresponsible spending by the citizens and the government of this country, a protracted and expensive war, increased fuel costs, the threat of terrorism, election season, etc.  Pundits and politicians all have their own notions and theories about the causes of the problems and who is to blame for them, but most of them never consider that there may be a deeper, spiritual meaning to all of this.

I do not pretend to have prophetic insight or to understand all that is happening, but I do know that God rules over this world according to His word.  Psalm 103:19 says, “The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.”  I also know that God judges the nations, and they belong to Him, for Psalm 82:8 states it plainly: “Arise, O God, judge the earth!  For it is You who possesses all the nations.”  I know that when He judges the nations, it is a small thing for Him to raise them up or bring them down, for Isaiah 40:15-17 says:

“Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.  Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering.  All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.”

With this understanding, I tend to interpret current events in light of the discipline of God.  In the United States in particular, we have been on a steady and increasing binge of greed, indulgence, promiscuity, and abominations against God for a long time.  In many ways, our prosperity has made us forget God, and we have attempted to purge God from our national conscience.  We have indulged every sinful pleasure and lost our sense of shame.  The state of our national morality is deplorable: half of all marriages end in divorce, fornication is celebrated as a national pastime, homosexuality is embraced as a legitimate practice, and 50 million babies have been murdered since abortion was legalized in 1973.  Do we really think that God will allow this to go on forever unchecked?  When I view our nation from a spiritual standpoint, it seems to me that it cannot long endure in this atrocious condition.

This may seem to be a strange thing to say, but if indeed we are being chastised by God, then we should welcome His discipline.  This is not to say that what we are about to endure will be pleasant by any means, but how else can the errors of our people be corrected?  As a nation, we have not the self-discipline nor the self-restraint needed to keep us from sin, so it may require the loving hand of God to discipline us for our own good.  Therefore, we should not resist the discipline of God, but instead we should patiently endure it with the knowledge that it may be the last chance for our nation to survive.  To emphasize the point, consider a few passages of Scripture:

“Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline, but he who regards reproof will be honored.” (Prov. 13:18)

“The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; in the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught.  The LORD has made Himself known; He has executed judgment.  In the work of his own hands the wicked is snared.  The wicked will return to Sheol, even all the nations who forget God.” (Ps. 9:15-17)

“Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for You will judge the peoples with uprightness and guide the nations on the earth.” (Ps. 67:4)

The result of God’s discipline will be determined by how we receive it.  As a nation, if we learn the lessons taught by God’s chastisement and repent of our national sins, then we can expect blessing in return.  This cycle of national sin, punishment, repentance, and restoration was repeated over and over again in the pages of the Old Testament in the nations of Israel, Judah, and their neighboring kingdoms.  We have even seen such cycles in our nation before.  The abuses and inhumanity of slavery were purged from our nation through a bloody war that nearly brought the nation to an end.  The indulgence, greed, and carelessness of the “roaring twenties” were reversed by the Great Depression and World War II.  In each case, the nation’s character was refined by the fire of hardship so that we became a more godly people.  This can happen again.

As a nation, if we refuse to learn the lessons of discipline, then we can only expect stronger discipline in the future and ultimately the loss of our nation.  Notice Jeremiah 10:10 – “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.  At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation.”  I have no doubt that the indignation of God has been kindled and stoked to a blaze, so if we will not respond to His discipline, then this nation will be consumed in the fire of His anger.

Therefore, let us not dread what is happening around us, but let us see it from a spiritually mature viewpoint as an opportunity for this people to be brought closer to God.  Let us also understand that regardless of what happens to the United States of America, the kingdom of God will endure and our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20).  May God be praised, and may His will be done in all things.

 Stacey E. Durham



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