Americans have a generally weak understanding of sound Biblical theology. This is evidenced in our academic curriculum, movie and media depictions of God, the church and ministers, and in the common wisdom of the day.
We have many books and teachings on the difficult subject of why bad things happen to good people, but we also generally reject the idea that bad things will happen to bad people. We talk of karma like it was a simple equation without any connection to a sovereign God who watches over the earth and intervenes in a scheduled and specific way.
Atheists don’t believe God exists – those that do – think he is like Santa Claus or a doting grandparent. Others think he is just too heavenly involved to be bothered with the affairs of men.
Both are mistaken, but even the most biblically grounded believers often mistake the reasons for the calamities that befall men as individuals and in communities, nations or globally.
That God allows troubles is generally understood, but that he calls for them in equal and direct proportion to our sinful disobedience is rejected more often than not. We want to believe that the lion has no teeth, but we continue to feel the deadly bite and our bewilderment and confusion is what follows.
We struggle with every new outbreak of senseless slaughter unleashed upon us by radical Muslims, unhinged people with a grudge and others without a trace of reason to be found to explain their behaviors.
Only days ago, nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds injured by a lone gunmen who opened up with an automatic weapon on concert goers in Las Vegas.
Although it is very sad and a terrible loss of innocent life, questions abound on the why of it all, but few to none are willing to admit that the question has long since already been answered.
God made an agreement with ancient Israel in which he clearly outlined the good he would do for them if they obeyed him and walked circumspectly. He also carefully listed every detail of what would happen if they did not. (Leviticus 26: 1f)
We tend to dismiss this warning for one of three reasons, all three which fail the true theological test.
The first reason is that we are not Israel! And yet in almost every way we are exactly like Israel. We are the last nation on earth that as yet has not given up the gospel and taken the Son of God out of our national life. Although apostasy is on the rise we have millions who have not yet kicked their witness to the curb.
Secondly, like Israel or not, we have known the full blessings and protection of God in an unprecedented way.
It is because of this, that the maxim contained in the following words applies to us more than any nation in world history.
“..For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” (Lk 12: 48b)
The third reason we disregard God’s warnings and interventional judgments is because we are no longer under the Old Covenant of the Mosaic Law and are now in the age of God’s grace. While this is true as it pertains to the pathway to salvation it does not mean that the nature of God has changed. Sovereign is sovereign and it will never change.
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Heb 13: 8)
“For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Mal 3: 6a)
So just what is it about the Lord – that has not changed?
Terrorism both old and new
Does God use, engage or allow terrorism to strike us as a response to our deep and collective sinfulness? Cutting right to the chase is the best way to approach this heated question.
Yes, and he will continue to do so until the end of time.
The entire 26th chapter of Leviticus outlines all that God intends to do if we disobey his plan for us, a plan designed for our own good and prosperity.
But a key element of that warning quite clearly states that terrors are on the table along with all the other means of getting our attention.
“I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.” (Le 26: 16)
It is important to note the word “appoint” in this passage. This removes any possibility that the terrors are man-made, natural occurrences or simply chance.
If you are among those who can’t accept the theology that God will intervene in this way; then it will be even harder to see that it is by the same power of God’s intervention that entire nations, kingdoms and empires rise or meet their doom.
“At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.” (Jer 18: 7-10)
Wake up America – We are not misinterpreting the Bible, you are!
Almost a hundred years ago, American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie explained how even the worst criminals and scallywags see themselves as misunderstood people, all with good hearts and intentions. America’s people in general, are no different.
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” (Pr 21: 2)
But the facts, the record and the history don’t line up with their assessment of themselves. Let’s see.
Sixty million un-born children mercilessly slain since 1973, perversions and homosexual marriage and transgenderism abounding and seeking social acceptance under the law; self-indulgence and fleshly pursuits off the charts and a foolish dependence on the idea of our own strength – all this we think escapes God’s notice?
This is wholesale naiveté barreling across the line at the speed of laziness, theological ineptitude and self-imposed ignorance.
Sadly, there is only one city noted in the bible that repented of its wickedness and was spared. But one is enough so we will neither presume nor despair.
The idea that we collectively have nothing at all to do with the terrors that befall us is not just pompous hypocritical sanctimony – it is borderline national sacrilege.
Where does America stand? Can we catch the message before it is too late?
God help us!