by David C. Grabbe
CGG Weekly, June 27, 2003
"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains; it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
Yesterday the Supreme Court of the United States of America removed the ban on homosexual sex. Even as deplorable as this court ruling is, it is only another indicator—though significant—of the downward spiral of this once-great nation. Like the Ninth Circuit Court's ruling on the Pledge of Allegiance, this decree did not happen in a vacuum. It is just a milestone in our continued escapade down the slippery slope of immorality.
Although it is getting a great deal of media attention, including that of the entertainment industry, homosexuality is not the only sin in America. The murder of unborn children continues unabated in spite of the recent token "victory" of outlawing partial-birth abortion. If the writers and sponsors of this law were truly principled, they would not have stopped with the specific circumstance of "partial birth."
Neither deviant sex nor infanticide is the greatest national sin, though. Corrupt officials and business leaders, perverted priests, marital infidelity, murder, lying, cheating, stealing—these symptoms, as devastating as they are, all point to a much more serious condition: idolatry. Not the bowing down to little statues kind of idolatry, but the kind where God is forgotten and His standards of conduct are pushed out of the picture (Ezekiel 23:35-39).
There isn't a law that can be passed to curb idolatry. Political activism is useless here. National prayer breakfasts won't solve it. Holding hands around a flagpole accomplishes nothing toward turning a nation back to its Creator in proper worship. Filling sports stadiums with teary-eyed men for religious revivals isn't changing the national character. Radio and television evangelists are everywhere, and yet aren't effectively getting anyone's attention. Simply preaching the mainstream Christian message won't do it because the majority of this nation already believe there is a God!
What will it take to turn this nation around? What would have to happen for us, as individuals and as a nation, to wake up and, instead of rolling over and going back to sleep, actually turn back to God with the entirety of our being? God, in His infinite love for His wayward children, knows how to get our attention. European politicians notwithstanding, God is not afraid to spank His children (Hebrews 12:6)! He will do this for our own ultimate good—because the path we are on leads to disaster.
Because of God's faithfulness to Abraham, He decimated the nation of Egypt—the greatest nation of its time—culturally, financially, politically, and militarily. He used all manner of natural disasters and plagues to get the people's attention! Then, because of His faithfulness to the Israelites, God caused a multitude of adversities to befall His own people to keep them from destroying themselves. One of the Israelites' most common sins was, of course, idolatry—and God used plagues, earthquakes, death in large numbers, and even captivity in order to point Israel in the right direction. Is God willing to punish a nation for immorality? The biblical record is clear that He does, and He will.
Already this year the West is enduring a drought, while the East was recently deluged with rain. This continent is enduring high winds in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky; a heat index of 110 degrees in Washington, D.C.; tornadoes in South Dakota; torrential rains in Iowa and Florida; earthquakes in Alaska; and an infestation of grasshoppers in Montana. Our national birthrate is declining while disease is increasing. Our public and private debt are both skyrocketing. These things, and many more, are all outlined in Deuteronomy 28 as consequences of disobedience. And yet most of us aren't really affected so far. Nothing truly grievous has happened to make us think that maybe, just maybe, we should let go of the distractions and diversions that are keeping us from considering whether we are living lives that are pleasing to God. What will it take to get everyone's attention? What will it take to cause us to repent?
Right now, the United States is at the top of the world politically and militarily. Even though we are the leading debtor nation, our economy is still the largest. Our deplorable entertainment is exported around the world. Our reach and power seems almost limitless. In many ways, especially militarily, we seem untouchable. We have troops in 120 countries, and our defense expenditures are greater than the next 20 countries combined. In our pride and complacency, it seems the farthest thing from reality to think that anything really bad could happen to the "land of the free." But is any nation too powerful for God to bring down? As the apostle Paul said, "Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12).
The nine "High Priests" of the United States have made another abysmal decision, and it undoubtedly will not be their last. Yet we go on eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Life continues on. We give little thought to how God views things. As a nation, and perhaps as individuals, God does not have our attention—yet.