I ended last weeks’ “Blessings” article with the words, “That’s the good news”, because blessings have a flip side: responsibility. There’s another, darker side to blessings, which we’ll get to also. For now, the responsibility issue. Jesus is speaking in Luke 12:48:
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (NIV)
Last week we considered just a tiny part of the incredible array of blessings America has had. But that implies that America has a massive responsibility to the rest of the world. America has in some respects fulfilled that responsibility admirably well. I offer these next two links as evidence:
That’s a staggering amount of money to be giving away. It’s Biblical: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
And that’s our corrupt government. After they take a big chunk of our money in taxes, Americans still give as individuals, through charitable organizations, more than any other people on earth.
What could possibly be wrong with America? Shouldn’t God be pleased with us?
“Between 1990 and 2002, federal prosecutors convicted more than 10,000 government officials of acts of official corruption … Recently, the governors of both New Jersey and Connecticut have had to resign amidst allegations of corrupt practices. The past three insurance commissioners of Louisiana have been convicted for official misdeeds (Corporate Crime Reporter, 2004).”
Mustn’t forget the Clintons.
The watchdogs are guilty:
“The investigator who led the Department of Homeland Security’s internal review of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned in August after he was implicated in his own incident involving a prostitute…”
“The FBI has admitted it failed to properly investigate early tips about Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s disturbing behavior on social media, and didn’t contact YouTube for help tracking down his most infamous threat.”
Churches are rotting:
“Among the four largest mainline Protestant churches … The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (not to be confused with the Presbyterian Church in America, which opposes same-sex marriage) and the Episcopal Church have wrestled with the [same-sex marriage] issue for years, often as part of a larger debate on the role of gays and lesbians in the church.”
From the same source: “… a solid majority of white mainline Protestants (62%) now favor allowing gays and lesbians to wed, with just 33% opposed, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey. A similar share (63%) say there is ‘no conflict’ between their religious beliefs and homosexuality.”
Abortion: “… roughly half of all U.S. Catholics (48%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, in spite of the Catholic Church’s strong opposition.”
“On Friday (Jan. 19), nearly 45 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, hundreds of thousands will rally in the streets of Washington … the historic denominations of mainline Protestantism are hardly represented at all. The simplest explanation is that the largest Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian and Congregationalist denominations support abortion rights.”
Like the list of blessings, these are just a small part of the offenses against our holy God. God warned the people of ancient Israel. Deuteronomy 11:1-25 is a long list of amazing blessings of all kind which God promised the Israelites. But verses 26-28 are a warning: “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.”
The promise and the warning are repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 28. Verses 1-14 are a detailed description of the amazing promised blessings.
But this time, only 20% of the verses talk about blessing. 80% of Deuteronomy 28 is devoted to the most horrifying, gruesome, revolting description of the horrors that would result from not “diligently obeying the voice of the Lord your God”, “observing carefully all His commandments”. If you can stand it, read it all the way through.
It would be easy to take the attitude that God was being unreasonable to the point of insanity. But we have to bear three facts in mind:
1) God warned the Israelites.
2) There were two reasons God was so harsh with Israel: first, sin kills. Second, Israel was the only nation chosen, carefully protected, and precisely prepared to be God’s messenger-nation to the world. If this channel of communication was destroyed, there was no Plan B.
3) The “punishments” or “judgments” are the natural result of being without Divine protection in a sin-broken, malfunctioning, and very dangerous world.
They did disobey, turn away, defy Him, and He stood aside, and the judgments fell.
America has been turning away from the God of the Bible for decades. God does not change. He will not pamper rebellious spirits who not only reject Him, but have gone so far in sin that they now hate Him.
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. ” (Jeremiah 7:16; also almost identical words in 11:14 and 14:11. When the Trinity says something three times in a brief period, I take it that the discussion has ended. The Judge of all the earth has pronounced sentence. Court is adjourned and no appeals will be heard.)
“Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and defiled the house of the Lord which He had consecrated in Jerusalem. And the Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy.” (2nd Chronicles 36:14-16)
If the shoe fits, America …