musings of a saint and sinner

Saturday, July 22, 2006

are we facing judgment?

Jeremiah 5:15-17—“‘O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,’ says the LORD. ‘It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand. Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty. They will eat your harvests and your children’s bread, your flocks of sheep and your herds of cattle. Yes, they will eat your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified cities, which you think are so safe” (NLT, emphasis mine).

Jeremiah 6:24-25--“We have heard reports about the enemy, and we are weak with fright. Fear and pain have gripped us, like that of a woman about to give birth. Don’t go out to the fields! Don’t travel the roads! The enemy is everywhere, and they are ready to kill. We are terrorized at every turn.”

I found an excerpt from Crossings Newsletter ( on the first anniversary of 9/11 particularly relevant. The writer says, "But if God does bless America, then He can do the opposite....[E]ven though the [9/11] attack is not proof of God's disfavor against the USA, we would be guilty of the broadest obtuseness and biblical ignorance if we did not at least ask ourselves whether God may have specific cause to be against us." To that, I say, Amen! I think that in our culture, we are all to quick to think that God is only behind the nice things that happen, like romances and kittens. But from time to time, God may be out to terrify us. God may be out to destroy us in order to save us.

In Jeremiah 7:3-15, the people of Judah say that they think they will be safe from judgment because they have the Temple in their midst. Do we think the same thing about our luxury, our democratic system, our social programs, our strong military? Are we trusting in those and forgetting about justice, mercy, and walking humbly with our God?

And so, when hard times come (and hopefully even before!), we must--we must--at least ask the question: is God trying to get through to me? To my nation? What sin might He be asking us to turn away from? The question will be most helpful when we ask it of ourselves first, instead of pointing the finger at "all the wicked people" who are causing the judgment. The best prophets (in my opinion) were the ones who confessed their own sin first.


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