"Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). As God is our Creator and Sustainer, it should not surprise us that He desires nations to walk according to His will, to live by His principles of righteousness. That nations do not always walk in righteousness is understood by what John tells us in 1 John 5:19, "the whole world lieth in the evil one.” We should not be surprised, then, that God responds to the unrighteousness a nation commits, either against itself or against other nations. To Jeremiah He said, "If they do that which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them” (Jeremiah 18:10). Sin in any nation can bring God’s judgment against it, to warn, punish, or destroy.

God’s desire, however, is not to condemn, but to restore and to bless. When Jonah was sent to Nineveh, the message he was given to preach was short but powerful. "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). The people believed in God and repented, and showed the sincerity of their belief by reforming their lifestyles. This is what God desired, not to overthrow them, but to bring them to His righteousness, that He could bless them. Jonah knew this about God, and wanted Nineveh destroyed, as they were enemies of Israel. "For I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and repentest thee of the evil’” (Jonah 4:2). Destruction is not God’s first option; He desires a change of heart from sin to righteousness, from what condemns to what will bless.

God warned Solomon of what would happened if his nation turned from God, but also what they should do to find His grace and mercy again. "If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). Through Isaiah He says, "Put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow . . . If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword; for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it” (Isaiah 1:16-17, 19-20).

Clearly, God wants to bless all nations, as He has created us all. The problem is in exalting sin and abandoning God’s righteous ways, but the solution is in returning to righteousness. God’s word gives all nations the principles they need to live by. Rather than reject His will, it’s time to return to the truth of His word. Rather than justify sin, we must abandon it and, from the heart, recognize right from wrong once again, and embrace what is right. As our Creator, God alone knows what is best for us and how we should live. We have the time and opportunity to return to Him; we must respond while there is yet time. If we repent and return to righteousness, we can find God’s grace again. This is what God wants. This should be our resolve.

Robert Johnson
Longview, TX