by Bill Bright
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land" (2 Chron.7:14, NLT).
Do recent national tragedies mean that America is being judged or chastened by God?
Thomas Jefferson was not known as a Bible-believing Christian but he did have a biblical world view. He was not bashful in sharing his belief about God's judgment on nations, as shown is this quote: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."
What is God's nature in this matter? The only true insights we have on the character and nature of our wonderful and Almighty God, the great Creator and Savior of the universe, are given to us in His holy, inspired Word, the Bible.
First, we know that "God is love" (1 John 4:8, NLT). Also, the Bible is full of examples of God dealing with nations. Israel is unique, but she is an example of God rewarding nations for honoring and obeying Him, and punishing nations for dishonoring and disobeying Him. In Deuteronomy chapters 8 and 28, God is very clear about promised rewards and punishments for Israel. God said, "Thus you are to know in your heart that the Lord your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son. Therefore, you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him" (8:5-6, NASB).
Our loving God graciously gave Israel the fruitful promised land, great blessings and power, but Israel would often forget her Creator, resulting in God's discipline.
God has also given America a wonderful land, with blessings and power far beyond that of any nation in history. But as a nation, we have also forgotten Him, and reduced Him to only equal-opportunity status with the millions of other gods in the world, and we have ignored and even ridiculed His laws and spokesmen. We have been flirting with national suicide.
God is gracious and not the author of evil, but when He lifts His hand of protection, people and nations are vulnerable to evil forces. There is great danger, but there is hope if we turn back to Him, for we serve the God of love and hope.