Almost every day we see news of devastation in the world and in our land. Wildfires burn out of control in California. Lake Lanier north of Atlanta is drying up. Tornadoes rip through communities leaving their destruction in their wake. Texas is flooded in places that often lack rain. The Midwest finds rivers and creeks at their peak.
Al Gore and the tree huggers would tell us it’s the result of global warming. I’m no Nobel Peace Prize winner–I’m too conservative to be nominated–but I can read the Bible. If I read my Bible correctly, I believe I can find one reason for all this destruction.
I believe it’s God trying to get our attention. While we should fear what terrorists might do to this great land of ours, we must have a greater fear of what God can do to get our undivided attention. He did it with Israel. He can do it with us. If God decided to send wave after wave of such devastation, there’s not enough money in the Federal Budget for the disaster relief that would be needed.
Like it or not, disaster relief and a defense budget could drive this nation to the point of bankruptcy. Personally, I think we need to spend more on defense and less on some endangered species of frog in some isolated swamp. If we cut out the pork projects of our Senators and representatives and just spent on what the federal government should be spending on, we’d have less waste and even the liberals couldn’t figure out a need for high taxes. Ah, but I’ve digressed. Let’s get back to the subject at hand.
Look at 2 Peter 2:4: “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment; 5 and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter; 7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men 8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority.” NASU
Say what you will. We know God will one day deliver us out of this present evil world but we also know God has judged before and will judge again. If He is holy, righteous and just, He has to be a judge of all that is unholy, unrighteous and unjust. Warren Wiersbe writes in his commentary on this passage, “Our present age is not only like “the days of Noah,” but it is also like “the days of Lot.” Many believers have abandoned the place of separation and are compromising with the world. The professing church has but a weak testimony to the world and sinners do not really believe that judgment is coming. Society is full of immorality, especially the kind of sin for which Sodom was famous. It appears as though God is slumbering, unconcerned about the way rebellious sinners have polluted His world. But one day the fire will fall; then it will be too late.”
We must also consider that God judged Israel for her transgressions. As Israel pursued idolatry, Baal worship and godlessness, God brought prophets to warn of a coming captivity and judgement. Israel often looked to Egypt (the world) for deliverance. Doesn’t that sound like God’s people today? Our western version of Jesus has so inoculated us with a mild form of Christianity that we are immunized against the real thing. We lack power. We lack a witness. We are compromising on every corner. There’s little difference between the professing church and the lost world.
We are salt that has lost our flavor, and we are hiding our light under a bushel. Why should God continue to bless a church that looks more like a prostitute than it does the Bride of Christ? We can’t imagine the radicals of this world controlling the world. It has happened in the past. God has chosen pagans to rebuke, correct and punish His own people. Could He do it again? A better question might be, do you want to test His limits and patience to see if He will do it again?
Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, gives us a sobering thought in chapter fifteen of his book. “Then the Lord said to me, Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go!’ 2 And it shall be that when they say to you, Where should we go? then you are to tell them, Thus says the Lord: Those destined for death, to death; And those destined for the sword, to the sword; And those destined for famine, to famine; And those destined for captivity, to captivity. NASU
I am fully aware that we live under grace today, but doesn’t grace make us even more accountable? Doesn’t it seem to you that in light of what we know we are held to a higher standard? Doesn’t it stand to reason that 2000 years after the cross, with the abiding Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, that we are without excuse?
The Joy Boys and Prosperity preachers won’t tell you these things. The emerging preachers are submerging us in a watered down gospel that is not the gospel. They are false prophets of prosperity. This world is headed for judgment. God has a final battle, a final reckoning on His calendar. They cry peace and prosperity when we are headed toward Armageddon. They speak of healing when what we need is holiness. They present a warped view of the Almighty and walk through this world with blinders on. Their preaching condemns even more people to judgment because they promote a faith that is not costly, a gospel that requires no adjustments and churches that appeal to the flesh.
Our heavenly Father will not stand by and ignore what is being done in the name of the church, the “called out ones.” We are profaning His name and the cross. We have prostituted the gospel to make Americans feel more comfortable. We’re too busy patting ourselves on the back about our buildings and budgets to notice the judgment that is on the horizon.
Until the church repents, this nation doesn’t have a chance. This nation is in the shape it is in largely because the church has failed to be the church. We want to blame politicians, but it’s the preachers we should be blaming. Preachers who fear men, who do not preach the whole counsel of God and who long for comfort and ease are not prophets. We need a new crop of prophets to rise up in the land. America finds itself facing judgement because the church is a “non-prophet” organization.
copyright 2007, Michael Catt
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.