Summary: America has had its ups and downs politically. But the underlying issue Christians must consider is the condition of the church and particularly their own spiritual state. This message applies 2 Chron. 7:14 as a solution.
2 Chron. 7:13-14
The times we live in are significantly affected by two events in our recent history: (1) 9/11 in 2001 and (2) the economic bust in 2008. The attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001 changed the culture in America. We went from a more carefree society to a worried society, a careful society, a guarded society. Laws were changed to give the government authority to be much more intrusive in our lives. I’m not saying there was no justification for that; I’m simply making the observation that America is different now. The days of sprinting to the gate and hoping on a plane are over. We are now processed through body scans; our luggage is opened and inspected; and as far as I know our phones track our activities. The economic bust in 2008 has produced a less optimistic, more tentative society. We don’t trust the statistics given us because before the 2008 bust the statistics looked good. We were told the prosperity of 2007 would continue on and on and on; and we believed it.
Today most Bible-believing leaders anticipate another hit at some point. Why? Because the response to the first two hits has not been the kind of response that would avert another chastening. Instead of turning to God, the trend is toward more wickedness. When God’s judgements came upon Israel, it came in waves. In 732 BC Assyria attacked the Northern Kingdom and took captives from the tribes of Gad, Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh to Mesopotamia (2 Kings 15:29). It was ten years later in 722 BC that Samaria fell and the Northern tribe came to an end.
The Southern Kingdom (also known as Judah) watched all that but also followed a trend away from Jehovah. They had some periodic revivals along the way, but in the end fell under the same spiritual decline that the Northern Kingdom did. In 605 BC the Babylonians attacked and put Judah under tribute. That was a wave of judgement. Eight years later in 597 BC another wave of judgement hit (Jerm. 52:28). i And in another attack the temple was destroyed in 586 BC.ii The point of all that, is to say that the hits came in waves. Why would God do that? He did it to give Israel opportunity to repent. The space of time between each event was a chance to get things right and avert the next wave of judgement. Israel did not avail herself of that opportunity.
Where was all that difficulty coming from? It was coming from God Himself, the one who had chosen Israel in the first place. But when the nation was formed God gave them this warning in Deut. 4:25-31 “When you beget children and grandchildren and have grown old in the land, and act corruptly and make a carved image in the form of anything, and do evil in the sight of the LORD your God to provoke Him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that you will soon utterly perish from the land which you cross over the Jordan to possess; you will not prolong your days in it, but will be utterly destroyed. 27 And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you. 28 And there you will serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with
all your soul. 30 When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice 31(for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.iii
So here eight centuries before it happened, God gave this warning. Forgetting God and going their own way would result in captivity. But with the warning was a promise. Verse 29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” The grace of God flows in the Old Testament like that. It’s not available in its fullness like it is in the New Testament; but it is clearly there. God is God in both Old and New Testament. His nature does not change. Mal 3:6 “"For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.” The terms of the Old Covenant were very different from the New Covenant. The book of Hebrews points that out. But the God behind those covenants is the same.