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God and the Other Nations

When I discuss the state of our country and our disregard for God’s Law with other believers, I often hear the phrase “America is not Israel!” The argument is essentially that God’s Law was given to Israel, not America. Since we’re not Israel, we are not held accountable to God’s Law as a standard for righteousness. Furthermore, we should not expect blessing or cursing for obedience or disobedience to God’s Law.

The first objection is one I will address briefly, since it’s not the topic of this post. God did indeed give one nation a Law. He called this Law perfect and righteous altogether (Psalm 19:7–9). He also said that under this Law, every transgression receives a just penalty (Hebrews 2:2). God did not give Israel the Law arbitrarily. He gave it to them because it was just (among other reasons). If you are going to say —for example—that capital punishment is inherently unjust for America, you need a place to stand.

Where does the Bible say capital punishment is unjust? Where did God say that His righteous decrees are conditional based on geography and century? Take note: you will either have God’s Law or you will have man’s law. The latter has killed over half a million babies this year already.

Much more could be said on this point in another post, but for now I want to leave it at this: There is no biblical reason to look anywhere else than Scripture for a perfect standard of righteousness by which governments should rule. Christians are not left in the dark about politics. God has spoken in His Law about this and we should look to Scripture, praying that the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom as we seek to understand how we should apply His precepts today.

God’s Dealings with Nations

What I just addressed is not what this post is about, but it needed to be said in order to set the stage for what Amos is about to say. In this post, I’ll be working from Amos 1:3–2:5. You may wish to read that passage before continuing to read this post.

The first thing we notice is that Amos is prophesying here against not just Israel, but also the surrounding nations. It’s the prophetic equivalent to RoundUp™. He’s spraying everything because God is essentially going to clear the land and start afresh. This is the political equivalent of the Noahic flood.

If you read the passage, you’ll notice a pattern of two phrases being repeated about the nations surrounding Israel. The first one is “for three transgressions and for four.” Amos begins his address to each nation with this phrase. There’s some debate on precisely what this phrase means, but the general consensus is that we’re to see that three and four make seven, which is the number of completion. The idea is that the transgression of the people spoken of is full and complete. Amos then lists what is probably the seventh transgression and then elaborates on the punishment.

The next phrase that Amos repeats comes in the form of God threatening to send fire on the wall of the nation being addressed. The idea here is that there is a powerful form of judgment coming in the form of an invading nation. Other judgments may be listed as well, but this one is consistent in all of them.

Amos is forecasting doom and destruction in the form of an invading army for all these nations. He has listed out their sins as one might read the crimes a criminal is accused of in a court of law. He declares their guilt and foretells pronounces their sentence.

The general idea most people had at this time was that each nation had its own God who was sovereign over that nation. So Israel and Judah had Yahweh, Moab had Molech, etc. But Amos is forecasting that Yahweh is going to crush all these other nations. Amos is speaking of a very powerful God who intervenes in human history.

What’s Changed?

That’s all well and good, you might say, but how does this affect us now? God doesn’t actively intervene in history today like He did back in Amos’ day. Things have changed.

This would be a fair question if it were supported by anything but secularist propaganda. If you are going to assert that God has changed in His dealings with nations in history, then you will need to provide some biblical evidence for this assertion. God did not start dealing with nations and cities when Israel became a nation. He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and one of His reasons for bringing Israel into the land of Canaan was judgment on the wicked inhabitants that Israel was displacing.

Where in the New Covenant does God say He will not judge nations? If your impression is that Jesus is kinder and gentler in His dealings than God was in the Old Testament, read Psalm 2. We are told that the Christ will dash the rebellious nations to pieces like shards of pottery.

Today people don’t believe that the nations are guided by false gods. We believe that they are subject to things like chance and human tendencies. We are sociological deists; we say that God is sovereign and that He works in people’s lives, but we deny that this sovereign work adds up to anything noticeable on a national scale.

But Scripture speaks contrary to our modern assumptions. It teaches us that God does judge nations and that He does so according to the only righteous standard, His Law. While we might not be able to predict how God will judge our nation’s sins with the precision that Amos could, we can know that, unless we repent, He most definitely does judge, and America most definitely has given Him reason to.

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This article was posted on 07/19/2015 . It relates to these topics:
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