The Plumb Line Of Judgment
  By Rich Carmichael 

    A Bible prophecy teacher whom I greatly respect recently wrote:  “The America I grew up in is gone.  It is dead.  And there is no hope of its resurrection.”  Do you agree with that statement?  Is there any hope for the U.S.?

    I understand the pessimism (or realism) concerning the U.S.  Without any doubt, this nation is in open rebellion against the Lord and His ways.  Not only is our ­society marked by the love of money, the love of self, the love of pleasure, and other sins such as immorality, impurity, anger, pride and disobedience, we are guilty of the innocent blood of over 57 million unborn babies through legalized abortion and also guilty of violating the sacred institution of marriage by legalizing same-sex marriage.

    While all sin is terrible and of great consequence, these latter two sins are ­especially disconcerting as both are in ­direct violation of the very essence of God’s character and of His creative order.  In regard to abortion, children are His gift (Psa. 127:3), woven together in the mother’s womb by His hand (Psa. 139:13-16).  He is a God of life, and His call to mankind is to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:28).  As a God of justice who cares deeply for the vulnerable and innocent, the shedding of the blood of the unborn is a sin most grievous to Him.

    In regard to the sin of homosexuality and same-sex marriage, at the very heart of God’s creative order is the truth that “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27).  He then clearly established marriage as between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:18-25).  These are vital truths echoed by Jesus Himself (Mark 10:6-9).  Because these truths are so foundational to God’s design and purposes, whenever mankind deviates from them, the consequences are profound.  In fact, according to the teaching of the Apostle Paul, the prevalence of ­homosexuality is an ominous marker that a culture is openly rejecting the Lord and is under His wrath (Rom. 1:18-32).

God’s Judgment

    The U.S., and every nation that defies the Lord, should be humbled by the truth that the Lord makes nations great and He destroys them (Job 12:23).  He does not allow a nation to go on indefinitely in sin.  Even His own chosen people suffered the consequences of their rebellion and fell into captivity.

    God’s heart, of course, is not to bring destruction.  Consider the encouraging story of Jonah in which God worked to bring the wicked city of Nineveh to repentance in order that the people might escape His imminent judgment.  In fact, it is the nature of the Lord to give warnings before judgment so that people may repent and judgment be averted.

    In keeping with this, the Lord has in recent years given the U.S. any number of warnings, including natural disasters, acts of terror, financial woes, cultural breakdown, political dysfunction and the loss of prominence and might.  Along with this are prophetic warnings calling America to repentance.  Sadly, however, there has been little response at this point.  

Lessons from Amos

    The message of the Prophet Amos is one that our nation would do well to take to heart.  The message begins with a series of proclamations of judgment on various nations and cities because of their transgressions.  The prophet then focuses on the punishment awaiting Israel, whose sin is even greater because of the privilege she had enjoyed as God’s chosen nation.  The Lord had sent remedial judgments to bring her to repent­ance (Amos 4:6-11), but she would not return to Him.  He then gives this solemn word:  “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (4:12).

    Even with the declaration of certain judgment, Amos yet calls the people to repentance.  “Seek the Lord that you may live, lest He break forth like a fire…” (5:6).  “Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate!  Perhaps the Lord God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant of Joseph” (5:15).  At the same time, Amos has strong words for those who are complacent:  “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion…Those who recline on beds of ivory and sprawl on their couches,” those who “…anoint themselves with the finest of oils, yet they have not grieved over the ruin of Joseph” (6:1-6). 

Judgment Delayed through Intercession

    When the Lord showed Amos one picture and then another of devastating judgment approaching the land, Amos interceded both times and the Lord relented (7:1-6).  But the third picture was irrevocable:  “Behold I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel.  I will spare them no longer” (7:7-9).  In other words, the people had fallen so far from God’s standard, that no further reprieve would be granted.  And, indeed, horrible judgment did come and the nation was taken into captivity.  Thankfully, however, Amos’ message ends with the Lord’s ­glorious promise of the restoration of Israel! (9:11-15). 

Is There Any Hope?

    So back to the original question:  Is there any hope for the U.S.?  While some people may argue no, and others argue yes, one truth is clear:  If there is any hope, the only hope is in widescale repentance and returning to the Lord.  While the promised end-time outpouring of the Spirit and revival is coming, that does not necessarily guarantee the U.S. will be part of it.  The Lord has been incredibly patient with this nation, but without repentance, judgment may suddenly be upon us.

    Of course, judgment begins with the household of God (1 Pet. 4:17), and He calls His people to lead the way in turning back to Him (2 Chr. 7:14).  And given the lukewarm state of many in the church, it is up to those who still have any sensitivity to the Lord to lead the way in humility, prayer and repentance.  As we turn our attention fully toward Him, may He have mercy upon our land and send the revival that is so desperately needed! 

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