What on earth is going on?
First, COVID-19. It crept into our lives gradually. In January 2020 I was preaching in Seoul, South Korea. One or two cases of the coronavirus were reported there. We flew to London in early February. A few cases of the virus, said to have come from Wuhan, China, were reported in the U.K. I did not take them seriously. But by early March things began to change drastically. Life in London became scary. A high proportion of cases of the virus were in the very area in which we resided. My physician urged me to leave England immediately. My preaching schedule for several months had to be canceled.
On March 15, Louise and I flew from Heathrow Airport in London to America. It was the next to last plane to leave Heathrow when President Donald Trump stopped all international flights from entering the United States. Lockdown was soon ordered. Reports of COVID-19 showed that cases were rapidly on the rise—now by the thousands. Hundreds of deaths were reported—especially in nursing homes in New York, New Jersey and Seattle. People over 60 (both of us are in our 80s) were said to be the most vulnerable. Because hundreds of thousands of people were not allowed to return to work, the national economy was severely affected. Restaurants, schools and churches were shut down. The increase of unemployment was the highest in living memory.
Second, on May 25, 2020, an event took place that may very well live in infamy, like the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941: the evil murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A new crisis emerged overnight, promising possibly to create a greater fear and concern than that caused by COVID-19. People across the country protested the killing of a Black man by a white police officer. People blamed the police. Thousands all over America were now damaging stores, even ruining many small businesses. Some people demanded abolishing the police altogether. A few days after the funeral of George Floyd, another white police officer shot and killed a Black man, Rayshard Brooks, in Atlanta. Violence broke out all over again. The chief of police of Atlanta resigned. Renewed calls for the abolishment of police came.
I never dreamed I would see the day in America when vast numbers of people were fulfilling Isaiah's warning: People calling evil good and good evil (Isa. 5:20). That is what has been happening before our eyes. The breath of Satan is being felt in nearly every state. Virtually all the news deals with people in the streets protesting, with the threat of violence erupting at any moment. None of us has seen anything like this.
Is God judging America? Is the double whammy best explained as the judgment of God upon us? Yes.
Why would God bother to judge America? Is it because America has a special relationship with Him? Are we like Israel—under a divine covenant?
One thing is certain: As a nation, our forefathers chose to bring God into our government. We did not have to call ourselves a nation "under God." We chose to. Consequently, God has honored us. "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Ps. 33:12a, ESV).
The difference between God's covenant with Israel and America's relationship with God is simply put: God initiated His covenant with Israel. America chose to be called a nation under God. Without question, God has honored America.
But when did it become apparent that God did not continue to bless America as He had done for centuries? I know this: At some stage, an ever-increasing number of Americans began to resent being called a "nation under God" and refuse to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Some began openly to despise the phrase "in God we trust" on our currency and declined to sing the national anthem.
4 Reasons for God's Judgment on America
But there's more. There is a long list of things that have brought about God's judgment on America. Four things stand out in my mind as topping that list.
- Racism: It is written in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The way so many white Americans—including Christians—have treated African Americans for countless years has not gone unnoticed by God. It is not unlike the sin of the early Jerusalem church when middle class Christians neglected "the poor man" (James 2:6b). So today the cries of Black people "have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (James 5:4c). That is what has happened. God heard these cries and stepped in—to judge us.
- Legalized abortion—This alone demonstrates how America has veered away from God and righteousness. The Bible is clear that life begins at conception. The fact that the 6-month-old fetus leaped in Elizabeth's womb when the virgin Mary showed up with the Son of God in her womb—only a few days old—is infallible proof that John the Baptist and Jesus were human beings then (Luke 1:35-45).
The Supreme Court's decision in 1973 to allow abortion for any reason without penalty opened the way for countless abortions in the United States. And yet those who uphold this evil practice call it a good thing. The trend is now to embrace the abortion of a child 9 months old in the womb! God is angry. The double whammy has descended on us by His judgment. I would not want to be in the shoes of those politicians and Supreme Court justices who have legalized the murders of these helpless human beings.
- Contempt for the creator God—One of the most abused truths in the Bible in recent years is the way people have willfully disregarded God's purpose in making humankind male and female.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27).
This was God's idea as to how the earth would be populated. Christian marriage was God's plan and purpose. Sexual intercourse between a man and a woman was not born in Hollywood but at the throne of grace. However, the biblical view of Christian marriage between a man and a woman has been largely eclipsed nowadays by the general approval of same-sex marriage. This shows contempt for our Creator God who with purpose made humankind male and female.
- Liberalism in churches—Speaking generally, the major denominations have ceased to uphold the divine inspiration of the holy Scriptures. This is mostly traceable to seminaries and theology departments in universities. The teaching of open theism, which sadly more and more church leaders are embracing, is essentially process theology: the view that God is "open" to us and looks to us for enrichment; He does not know the future but looks to us for input to know what to do. The result has been the absence of a sense of the fear of God. It is as though America is now saying, "God, we no longer want you in our nation." Or as C. S. Lewis (1898–1963) put it:
"There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done, and those to whom God says, 'All right, then, have it your way.'"
God has responded. He has chosen to judge us. Let us pray that it is not silent judgment—the worst possible scenario. I do sometimes fear that America is repeating the era described in the book of Judges:
"Everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (Judg. 21:25).
If this is so, God may choose to do nothing but rather let us carry on in our own ways, as He did ancient Israel.
Excerpted from chapter 4 of We've Never Been This Way Before by R.T. Kendall: ("Is America Under Judgment?)
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