A Wolf of the Deserts Shall Destroy Them
Responding to an Attack on America
Pastor Randy Booth—9-16-01
[Part Three of Three]
The Apostle Paul's words to the polytheist of his day are apropos to America today: "Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' " (Acts 17:23)
"When I had fed them to the full, then they committed adultery and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. 8 They were like well-fed lusty stallions; every one neighed after his neighbor's wife" (Jer. 5:7-8).
Both physical and spiritual adultery fill our land. Covenant-breaking, or unfaithfulness always invited covenant-curses; self-gratification at the expense of others. God has been faithful to us—He has filled us as a nation—He has cared for us. We have not only turned away from Him in unfaithfulness, we have constructed institutions—harlot's houses—dedicated to dishonoring Him and we have lined up to participate in this harlotry. We want to separate God from our national life until it becomes politically expedient to call for His help.
"Shall I not punish them for these things?' says the Lord. 'And shall I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this? 10 Go up on her walls and destroy, but do not make a complete end. Take away her branches, for they are not the Lord's" (Jer. 5:9-10).
It is this spirit of national arrogance that is so fatal to nations: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov. 16:18); "Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up, or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!" (Isa. 10:15). This is an evil spirit that diminishes the fear of God and propels us into greater and greater dangers. As the years go by, and if we continue under this arrogance and false confidence, then it does not take a prophet to predict a greater judgment upon this nation as it has come upon so many others before us.
God brings calamities: "I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, your vineyards, your fig trees, and your olive trees, the locust devoured them; yet you have not returned to Me,' says the Lord. 10 I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; your young men I killed with a sword, along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,' says the Lord. 11 'I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to Me,' says the Lord. 12 'Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel! 13 For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth—the Lord God of hosts is His name" (Amos 4:9-13).
They Have Lied About the Lord
"For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously with Me,' says the Lord. 12 They have lied about the Lord, and said, 'It is not He. Neither will evil come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine.' 13 And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them." (Jer. 5:11-13).
I fear that this accurately describes our own beloved nation. We too "have dealt very treacherously with the Lord," i.e., we have been unfaithful to Him. We too have "lied about the Lord." "God wouldn't judge us. He wouldn't let this happen to us." "God is on our side." But when an assault like the one we saw last week comes against us, on what grounds are we outraged—to what principles do we make our appeal? Are we not left with a vain philosophy and arbitrary system of morals, public opinions and platitudes? Or do we stand on the firm foundation of the words of Christ: "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matt. 7:24-29).
The prophets have become windbags. God's holy and authoritative Word has been replaced with sweet and sentimental platitudes. If we get no further than this, then I fear that a greater and more complete judgment awaits us. "Woe to the multitude of many people who make a noise like the roar of the seas, and to the rushing of nations that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 13 The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; but God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, and be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, like a rolling thing before the whirlwind" (Isa. 17:12-13); "They sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind" (Hosea 8:5).
Let us give thanks to Jehovah for His mercies and the opportunity for a bold Gospel witness facilitated by the darkness of the deed done today. Perhaps the Lord is offering America a wake-up call. Perhaps there is a window of time in which we can seek His mercy. We pray that God will, in the midst of judgment, remember mercy, remember His people, remember the faithful who have prayed for this country.
Our God, Our Help in Ages Past; Our Hope for Years to Come
"Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain" (Ps. 127:1); "Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all—37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree. 40 Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. 42 And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead. 43 To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins'" (Acts 10:34-43).
William Cowper's Poem:
For "that effeminacy, folly, lust,
Enervate and enfeeble, and needs must,
And that a nation shamefully debas'd,
Will be despis'd and trampled on at last,
Unless sweet Penitence her pow'rs' renew,
Is truth, if history itself be true.
There is a time, and justice marks the date,
For song forbearing clemency to wait:
That hour elaps'd, th' incurable revolt
Is punish'd, and down comes the thunderbolt."
The word once giv'n,' "and mutiny soon roars
In' all her gates, and shakes her distant shores;
The standards of all nations are unfurl'd,
She has one foe, and that one foe, the world.
And if He doom that people with a frown,
And mark them with the seal of wrath, press'd down,
Obduracy takes place; callous and tough,
The reprobated race grows judgment-proof,
Earth shake beneath them, and heaven roars above,
But nothing scares them from the course they love;
To the lascivious pipe and wanton song,
That charm down fear, they frolic it along,
With mad rapidity and unconcern,
Down to the gulf from which is no return.
They trust in navies, and their navies fail,
God's curse can cast away ten thousand sail;
They trust in armies, and their courage dies;
In wisdom, wealth, in fortune, and in lies;
But all they trust in withers, as it must,
When He commands, in whom they place no trust.
Vengeance at last pours down upon their coast,
A long despis'd but now victorious host;
Tyranny sends the chain that must abridge
The noble sweep of all their privilege,
Gives liberty the last, the mortal shock,
Slips the slave's collar on, and snaps the lock."