A Wolf of the Deserts Shall Destroy Them
Responding to an Attack on America
Pastor Randy Booth—9-16-01
[Part Two of Three]
THE JUDGMENT OF A NATION
"Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem; see now and know; and seek in her open places if you can find a man, if there is anyone who executes judgment, who seeks the truth, and I will pardon her. 2 Though they say, 'As the Lord lives,' Surely they swear falsely" (Jer. 5:1-2).
Righteousness Exalts a Nation
The Bible teaches that there is a clear connection between national judgment and national sin. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). Count on the fact that when a nation experiences calamities of this magnitude, the events are meant to get her attention. We should first look to ourselves, and then to our enemies. We should be examining ourselves as a people to see if we have been faithful to the God of our spiritual fathers who forged this nation. If we hope to enjoy the protection of God against our enemies, we must seek His favor by turning from our materialistic idolatries, our perversions and our child sacrifice. Last week thousands died, but every day thousands of innocent children die grizzly and horrible deaths in the State-blessed abortuaries of our nation. Surely this grieves God—surely this is an abomination in our land. From the grave, the voice of the innocent cries out for justice.
Success breeds a spirit of invincibility. The history of Israel demonstrates this over and over.
Americans also live in a dream world of false security. But all earthly security is illusory. The amazing thing is not that this calamity happened last week, but that it has not happened before. America has long been vulnerable, not only from terrorist bombings, but also from technological and biological attack. It only takes one terrorist and a couple of vials of Anthrax to kill an entire community.
We must proclaim with every fiber in our bodies, that absent the blessing of God, our defenses are useless. As the Titanic testifies, there are no unsinkable ships—and there are no invulnerable nations. The only absolute security is eternal security in Jesus Christ. We must flee to Him and beg Him to be our strong defense and our shield. "No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. 17 A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy, 19 to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in Him, because we have trusted in His holy name. 22 Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You" (Ps. 33:16-22).
Surely They Swear Falsely
We hear a lot of talk about God right now, but is this true? Men frequently boast that God is on their side. Osama bin Laden believes God is on his side too. We were told on Friday, during the prayer service at the National Cathedral, that we were calling on the "God of Abraham, Mohammed, and Jesus Christ." Do we really think that this is the God of the Bible? We have "God" in our mouths, but it's a false god and a vain hope. This pretext for self-righteousness is a disguise that will yield no blessing from God, but rather, it provokes Him further. God's name is precious to Him, and He will not allow it to be profaned.
Poor and Foolish
"O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return. 4 Therefore I said, 'Surely these are poor. They are foolish; for they do not know the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God." (Jer. 5:3-4).
God's sees what we do not and will not see. "For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7). The pomp and the show of ceremonies cannot be a substitute for substance. "For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise" (Ps. 51:16-17).
Our nation has had many warnings of impending judgment. The 241 Marines killed by the truck bomb in Beirut, the extended humiliation of the hostages taken by Iran, the war with Iraq, the bombing of the Cole, the destruction of the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the devastation of the Starke, the Saudi barracks, and the dropping of airliner after airliner (just to name a few). This calamity that has befallen our nation speaks volumes of instruction to the whole world. From the midst of the ruins we can hear the voice crying loudly in the ears of our nation: "Beware that you do not depart from the living God!" But will we listen—will we hear? May God incline us, as a nation, to give serious attention to His warnings, having known His blessings, lest we fall into utter ruin and disgrace. [Note: we cannot claim that God has blessed us but then refuse to acknowledged His judgments.]
The sins of our country are already more than sufficient, so that every Christian should be alarmed. We should tremble and weep as we consider our national wickedness and the degree to which we have departed from the true God. Insensitivity to sin prevails everywhere, both in terms of what we deserve as well as in our awareness of the repeated manifestations of God's displeasure with us. Is there any form of wickedness that is not named among us, and that in abundance? God has sent warning after warning that has hung over us for a while, and then dispersed. We have flattered ourselves, therefore, that we shall continue to remain unpunished. "Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil" (Eccl. 8:11). But as the black sky darkens once again, and we hear the distant thunder of an approaching storm. Still no dread prevails and no reformation is discernable. Instead, we presume upon our false sense of national security and military might, as though divine judgment could be answered with a cruise missile.
Great Men Have Burst the Bonds
"5 I will go to the great men and speak to them, for they have known the way of the Lord, the judgment of their God.' But these have altogether broken the yoke and burst the bonds."
This is a reference to the law of God." (Jer. 5:5); "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, 3 'Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us.' 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. 5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure" (Ps. 2:2-5).
Men have known what God requires—they have been given His law—but they will not have it restrict them. Some of our national leaders arrogantly flaunt their disregard for God's moral standards, and thereby invite His judgment upon us. "Now the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded. 2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: 'Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. 3 For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 4 but when in their trouble they turned to the Lord God of Israel, and sought Him, He was found by them. 5 and in those times there was no peace to the one who went out, nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. 6 So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity. 7 But you, be strong and do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded!' 8 And when Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Oded the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord" (2 Chron. 15:1-8).
A Wolf of the Desert
"Therefore a lion from the forest shall slay them, a wolf of the deserts shall destroy them; a leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many; their backslidings have increased." (Jer. 5:6)
An enemy will come out of nowhere and return into the darkness. He will come when you least expect him. He will come by stealth. Fear shall prevail. The reason: increased transgressions and backslidings. Would anyone deny that this is the case with our nation? Is it not an extra humiliation to have a wolf from the desert bring a nation to its knees?
"How shall I pardon you for this? Your children have forsaken Me and sworn by those that are not gods" (Jer. 5:7).
Our children have forsaken God, because we have forsaken our children. I speak now of the nation. We give our children to a culture and an educational system that denies God and then we want to call for God to bless us when trouble comes. "And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse" (Mal. 4:6). Psalm 33:8,12: "Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.... Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...." What we are witnessing in our country is an appeal to a polytheism for blessing upon our nation.