I was recently helping to round up a few cows to get a young heifer in the back of trailer and off to the the veterinary for her vaccinations an check up. I’m not much of an amateur cowboy, but how hard can this be? Well, it turns out that cows can be as ornery and disobedient as people. We got the calf in the pen, which has fencing as tall as I am, and began to back the trailer up. So as the trailer backs up, the calf finds the one section of the fencing that’s missing a connection, and jumps as gracefully as any 800 lb. novice high jumper can — failing to clear the bar, and thereby injuring herself. I had time to think, as we tried several times to get her back in the pen, about how much we struggle against God’s will. It’s just a check-up — a vaccination — for the good of the calf to live a healthy life. If I could just tell the calf that this trip is no big deal. . . but chasing her around the field is really making me think she needs to skip the vet, and just go straight to auction. There’s a judgement day a comin’ . . . cow! Turn or. . . burn! I think to myself, too tired to say much, but trying to keep in good humor.
So where are we as a nation? Does God judge us just as individuals, or are there consequences for us as a nation? Throughout history God has judged both individuals and nations. We make choices that have consequences for our homes and our counties. King Herod did not give praise to God, so an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:23). In the Old Testament, Korah’s rebellion brought destruction to many:
As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, ‘The earth is going to swallow us too!’ And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense. The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, to take the censers out of the smoldering remains and scatter the coals some distance away, for the censers are holy — the censers of the men who sinned at the cost of their lives.'” —Numbers 16:31-34
From the beginning, God lead His people and protected them, but His people saw that the nations around them had kings, and they decided they wanted a king, too (1 Samuel 8:6). God was their King, but since they wanted another to rule over them like the other nations, He stepped back and let them have their king. As you can imagine, this did not go well — certainly not as well as having God rule over them (1 Kings 12). The nation split, and some of the people went north, the others stayed south (1 Samuel 9). Neither the north or the south asked God to be their King, but those in the south did try to follow God’s commandments and worship Him. It’s interesting to watch the succession of kings in their lines. The north chose to not follow God as He had prescribed, but to do things there own way. Their kings were ungodly, and they experienced violent change (1 Kings 14:10). The southern kingdom had more kings dedicated to God’s ways, and was more stable than the north. The difference was not their location (north and south) but their behavior. Each could have traveled to the location God had given for worship, but the north chose there own way.
In America there is no king, the government is elected to represent the people. The presidential elections over in America will touch the world, but how will they do in following God’s Law? France24 reports that Pope Benedict XVI, in meeting Roman Catholic Church leaders from around the world, debated how to counter rising secularism on the 50th anniversary of the momentous Second Vatican Council. The Chicago Tribune reported that Bishop Daniel Jenky ordered priests under his authority to read a letter to parishioners on the Sunday before the presidential election, explaining that politicians who support abortion rights reject Jesus. “Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord,” Jenky said. “They are objectively guilty of grave sin.”
Abortion is just one of the symptoms of a progressively pagan and ungodly culture. It is self-injuring and destructive behavior symptomatic of our departure from healthy, godly living. See if you can recognize other symptoms. In the Bible, Baal worship involved child sacrifice, sexual immorality, and reverence of creation, that is, nature over the Creator. Ahab, an evil king, worshiped Baal-Zebub with the people, and Ahaziah followed him. Gideon removes the altar to Baal and replaces it with and altar to the Lord in Judges 6:25-27 — as we all should. In what ways are you sacrificing the future of your children, and in some ways acting as though you worship Baal? In what ways do you see sexuality elevated and used in the marketplace? Where have you seen nature placed on the highest pedestal and God put aside? Are all these symptoms in your work, media, schools, government, or your home?
I am reminded of Nineveh:
1 Woe to the city of blood,
full of lies,
full of plunder,
never without victims!
2 The crack of whips,
the clatter of wheels,
and jolting chariots!
3 Charging cavalry,
and glittering spears!
piles of dead,
bodies without number,
people stumbling over the corpses—
4 all because of the wanton lust of a harlot,
alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
and peoples by her witchcraft.
5 “I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
and the kingdoms your shame.
6 I will pelt you with filth,
I will treat you with contempt
and make you a spectacle.
7 All who see you will flee from you and say,
‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”
8 Are you better than Thebes,
situated on the Nile,
with water around her?
The river was her defense,
the waters her wall.
9 Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive
and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
at the head of every street.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;
you will go into hiding
and seek refuge from the enemy.
12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
with their first ripe fruit;
when they are shaken,
the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look at your troops—
they are all women!
The gates of your land
are wide open to your enemies;
fire has consumed their bars.”
If I ever do get that disobedient, obstinate, ornery cow in the trailer, I’m not sure if we are headed for a check-up or taking a one way trip to the auction house. God, however, always provides a way for a nation to turn to Him, and away from Baal. What will you do? How will your nation vote to follow God?