If God exists, and if the US is a Christian nation, then why the economic downturn?
The Bible talks a lot about blessings and curses. Ancient Israel was promised blessings if it obeyed and curses if it disobeyed (Dt 28). However, Jesus spoke of 2 catastrophes in His day and asked, “Do you think that these … were worse sinners than all the other[s]?” (Lk 13:2, NIV). How should Christians view recent events?
The Bible has a lot to say about righteous people and how they will be blessed. However, to concentrate on those verses and exclude others is taking them out of context. Job was a righteous man. Even God stated so (Job 1:8), and you cannot get any higher compliment than that. Yet, he was stricken, and he was stricken hard. Not only that, but some scholars say he was stricken for a year. That is a long time to suffer with boils, which was probably a form of smallpox. Yet, to listen to some of these prosperity preachers, you would have to conclude that Job must have been a sinful man. If that is the case, though, then God did not tell the truth when He called Job “a perfect and an upright man”. Therefore, there must be some other lesson we are to learn from Job’s story.
God does not forget. He made extraordinary promises to Abraham and then later to his son Isaac. These promises were a mixture of spiritual promise, which would culminate in the Messiah coming from the seed of Abraham, and physical promises. Many scoff at the idea that these promises were delayed but that God had to fulfill His promise in the end times to what we now call the US and Great Britain. Not only does God look at the fact that our forefathers put themselves into the hands of the Creator, because surely only He could have protected them from the greatest empire of its time, but also He looks upon the fulfilling of His promise, even though it was delayed 2520 years because of their disobedience! God cannot lie, and He always fulfills His promises.
The US would do well to heed Jesus’ warning that to “whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required”. I remember in grade school singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” first thing in the morning. Indeed, the mountainsides, the woods, the rivers and the plains are all blessings from the Almighty. Great natural resources abound, and yet have we been good stewards of what He has given us?
People came to this country for religious freedom. Our forefathers invoked the name of nature’s God, and later created a Constitution that would legalize freedom of religion. The Constitution doesn’t contain the words “separation of church and state”. The phrase was originally penned in a letter stating that there was a barrier to prevent the state from interfering with religion (not the other way around). It is so disconcerting that these facts have been lost on this generation who do not want to believe in absolutes.
As time went on, this society has removed prayer from our schools, the 10 Commandments from our government buildings and has marginalized those who would want otherwise. Freedom of religion has suddenly become freedom from religion.
Did God cause 9/11? Did God cause bankers and investment firms to become greedy and produce “investments” that were nothing more than gambling? Did God cause Bernard Madoff to swindle people in a ponzi scheme? If He had, wouldn’t that have violated free will? There are some things that God allows to happen in order for us to view the results of sin. Ever since Adam and Eve, this world has been a fairly hostile place to live. We aren’t in paradise any more. We need to learn that in order for stability to be the norm, we must rely upon God.
There are verses in the Bible that show that God allows wickedness to return upon the wicked. They are given over to the consequences of their own sin (Neh 4:4; Job 4:8; 5:13; Ps 7:16; 81:12; Ro 1:24; Gal 6:7; Jas 1:14). Unfortunately, sin does not just affect the sinner. That is what makes it so heinous. If it only affected the sinner, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but it never works that way. It is like the butterfly in Asia that flaps its wings and creates a hurricane in the West.
Why do we live in such a fragile world? Think about the fact that mankind was removed from the Garden of Eden. It was a perfect physical environment. Did Adam and Eve even know what briars and thorns were? Yet, when they were kicked out, they were cursed with these 4 things:
- Childbirth and raising children will be more painful.
- There will be dysfunction within the family, and there will be a struggle to be in control.
- Work, especially farming, will become burdensome.
- They will die and return to the ground.
This is the cost of disobeying God. When things are easy, do people turn to God in droves to thank Him for their many blessings? Or, is it when tragedy occurs that people start to look for answers?
They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
p style=”margin-left: 36pt;”>~ Job 21:13-15
Think about how it was in Noah’s day. People ate, drank and lived their lives right up to the time Noah went into the ark. Jesus said it would be like that in the last days as well (Mt 24:38).
It has been said that there are no miracles these days. I disagree. The greatest miracle of all is when someone’s eyes are opened, they repent of their sins and they become converted. They are made new creatures, growing in grace, character and wisdom until the time of the new birth when Jesus returns. Often, this starts with calamity. It shakes them up. It causes them to think.
Repentance is not getting on the Capitol steps singing “God Bless America”. God is not a doll that we leave on the shelf until we need a magic trick to get us out of a jam. No, God wants our attention all the time. Left to natural processes and our own devices, we will bring destruction on ourselves. God often allows that in order for us to learn – eternally learn – the lessons.
Oh, and by the way. Remember what Jesus told the crowd after asking if those who had perished were “worse sinners”? He left a warning. Even though they were not “worse sinners”, Jesus told them “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” In other words, we must repent on an individual level as well as a national level. If we do not repent of our sins and look after our own sins, then we will suffer the ultimate fate of destruction in the Lake of Fire.