Is America In A Time of Judgment?

12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. 14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: 16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. 17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

Joel 2:12-17 (KJV)

A careful study of history will certainly reveal some things to us that many would rather not admit because the truth is not what many seek today. People choose to live in this fantasy world where everything is OK when in fact things are not OK.

It is said that those who do not study history and learn from it are doomed to repeat it. Apparently America’s study of history is poor at best, because we are repeating it on a fast pace.

In the book of Joel we find Israel is in trouble! They are under constant pressure and attacks from their enemy. Their land is in a drought. The natural disasters and tragedies have left parts of the land ruined and the people demoralized.

Their specific sin is not named in this book, but a careful reading of the book indicated that the people had slipped into a state of complacency and apathy about the things of God.

God used nature and Israel’s enemies as His means of divine judgment. He used the trials they faced as a nation to awaken the hearts of His people and to call them back to Him.

The book of Joel is a book of judgment. But, it is also a book of hope. In this book, God’s people are made to understand that even in the midst of divine judgment there is always hope if they will seek the Lord.

While this book was written to the Jew, there is something here for us as well. Like Israel, we live in a land that is under divine judgment. We look at our nation and at our world and we wonder if there is any hope for the future. We wonder if there is any hope for revival. We wonder if there is any promise for us in these dark days.

While America is not yet experiencing the things that Israel was facing, we are not too far from being exactly where they are in the book of Joel.

We have had many warnings. Our enemies have warned us, nature has warned us, the condition of our government is warning us every day.

To ignore these warnings as Israel did is asking for the same judgments they experienced.

What Were Their Problems?

A.  They Faced Devastation – 1:4 – One insect invasion after another destroyed and ruined their crops. There was no food left for the people.

B. They Faced Destruction – 1:5-7; 2:1-11 – They also faced invasion from surrounding nations. The armies that came in destroyed their vineyards and orchards. Their enemies were strong, numerous and seemed to be too powerful to stop. It seemed as though they would be starved out and utterly destroyed by their foes.

C.  They Faced Desolation – 1:8-13; 16-20 – A severe drought afflicted their land. There was no rain and all the crops failed, v. 10-12, 17. The herds and wild animals suffered and perished because there was no water or pasture for them, v. 18-20. Fires broke out that destroyed the forests, v. 19-20.

D.  They Faced Discipline – 1:14-15 – None of these things were accidental, they were all the judgment of God upon the land, 2:25. The people had turned against the Lord and they were paying for their rebellion. Joel called their troubles “The day of the Lord,”1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14. Every tragedy that gripped them was the work of God. He was judging His people for their sins.

As I read about the judgment that fell on ancient Israel, I am reminded of where our nation and our churches are today.  There can be little doubt that we are facing the judgment of God in America.

Take the time to read Romans 1:18-32, it will paint a picture of where America is today.

Natural disasters rip through our nation with far greater frequency than I can remember. While the south is gripped by drought, the mid-west, the bread basket of our nation, is devastated by severe flooding. In many places, the spring planting of corn is ruined. Higher food prices and food shortages will be the result. Consider the tornadoes, hurricanes and fires that inflict damage totaling in the tens of billions of dollars. America is under judgment!

Are We Going In The Wrong Direction?

I’ll Let You Be The Judge Of That!

We are living in a generation that calls “evil good and good evil” (Isa. 5:20).

We are living in a society that protects the wicked and punishes the righteous.

We are living in a world where fear has replaced faith; sin has replaced sanity; greed has replaced God; and hatred has replaced holiness.

Preaching has been replaced by praise songs. Holiness has given was to happiness.

Commitment has been replaced by complacency. Our pews are full, but our altars are empty.

We get more excited about a shopping trip than we do about a revival meeting.

We wink at sin and wince at the holy demands of God.

We have lost our fire, our power and our desire for the things of God.

We would rather play than pray. We would rather have our ears tickled than our hearts searched by the Word.

We would rather be entertained than challenged.

We would rather stay like we are than become more like Him.

We are under the judgment of God! That is why our nation is in the shape it is in today. That is why our churches are in the shape they are in today. That is why we are experiencing a spiritual drought.

That is why our young people have little desire for the Lord.

That is why we have become cold, lifeless and impotent.

God has weighed us and found us wanting!

As we look at the book of Joel we do see the judgment of God. But that’s not all we also see the mercy of God.

Even though they are experiencing the judgment of God, there is still hope! God reaches out to them one more time to address their condition and to call them back to Him.

Genuine repentance is the only hope America has for survival. God is calling us to “turn” to Him “with all our heart”. He calls for us “rend” our “hearts” and not our “garments”. God isn’t looking for mere external displays of religion; He is looking for heart change. He is looking for a people who are broken over their sinful and who are willing to change. He is looking for a people who will be sorrowful over their sins,  “with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning”) This is the kind of people God will bless, restore and use.

The only hope our nation has of being saved from the judgment of God is for God’s people to seek the Lord in genuine repentance. When the church comes home, America will be affected. Until God’s people repent, there will be no power, no glory and no hope for our nation.
As long as the church continues to walk in rebellion against God, the world will mock us and our God. When we repent and are restored to a place of blessing, the world will be forced to acknowledge the God Who dwells among us. The only hope the church has is repentance. The only hope America has is repentance.

14 If my people, which 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 Chron 7:14 (KJV)