Have you noticed what is in the daily news? I am not talking about the tabloid news outlets but the mainstream press. With great regularity fear mongers are busy trying to convince anyone who will listen of some coming disaster. We see warnings of large-scale flooding due to global warming. Others predicting mass famines due to economic collapse. One article went as far as to claim the oceans will boil due to our increased use of energy. Some Americans believe that the government is taking away our freedom through gun restrictions. Still others are saying radical Muslims will take over our nation. While we are busy concerning ourselves with what might happen it is easy to ignore what is happening. I am not a prophet and it does not require one to predict the outcome of a repeated behavior. The Bible records several times what happens to a people who turn away from God. I see a much greater evil corroding our society with far more devastation than any natural disaster in recent history. The rampant greed and idolatry of our time will bring destruction on this nation!
The prophet Amos was given the unsavory task of warning God’s chosen people of their coming disaster. Amos 8:1-2 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit. 2 And He said, “Amos, what do you see?” So I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me: “The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.
Summer fruit will not last to winter and must be eaten soon or it will rot. The significance was the people were ripe for destruction. Despite ample warning sinners continually put off repentance thinking they have plenty of time. Because the Lord is compassionate and slow to anger many foolishly think they can avoid God’s judgments or that He will continue to postpone them. In blind disbelief many do not see the coming destruction for what it is.
It is consistent with God’s nature to give ample warning before bringing judgment on people. He is not hovering over with a giant fly swatter waiting to squash us without notice. A few examples are; Adam and Eve were warned not to eat the fruit. Noah was told 120 years in advance of the flood. Moses warned Pharaoh in detail what would happen if he did not let the people go. Jesus gave us warning of things to come.
In this country, in this time, we find ourselves in various stages of God’s judgment. We experienced a call to repentance through financial disaster such as the housing crash that all of us have been affected by. With increasing frequency large-scale violence is seen in America, just recently we experienced the worst mass shooting to date. We have repeatedly been given warning by Spirit led men that God will not continue to protect us if we continue on our destructive path.
The cause of God’s judgement is always clearly stated. Amos 8:4 Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail, 5 saying: “When will the New Moon be past that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the scales by deceit, 6 that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals—even sell the bad wheat?”
In the time this passage was written two prominent social classes existed, the very wealthy and the poor. The greediest of the businessman resented the Sabbath and the holy days because it meant not making money on those days. To make matters worse they were cheating people by giving them less than they paid for. Some had gone as far as selling floor sweepings with the grain. Once a person has become greedy it is increasingly easier to cheat others without fear of consequence. In their pursuit of more money it became common practice to buy debtors into slavery. The ones who could not afford to eat sold themselves into slavery. All this is against the will of God.
We see a type of slavery today by the bondage of debt. With great ignorance many, especially the poor, find themselves unable to free themselves from debt. We have a fatally flawed system that allows anyone to declare bankruptcy with little justification and no financial counseling. Many that choose this easy way out of debt find themselves in worse condition when after bankruptcy they borrow from lending institutions with excessive usury fees or finance an overpriced automobile or furniture at high interest rates. Another form of slavery is found in addiction. Most addictions can find greedy suppliers at the root level. Tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and pornography are all legal addiction devices that are driven by greed and are as enslaving as iron chains.
When punishment comes the whole land is affected by it. Amos 8:7 The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works. 8 Shall the land not tremble for this, And everyone mourn who dwells in it? All of it shall swell like the River, Heave and subside Like the River of Egypt. 9 “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “That I will make the sun go down at noon, And I will darken the earth in broad daylight; 10 I will turn your feasts into mourning, And all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, And baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only son, And its end like a bitter day.
This was God’s chosen people. This was the equivalent of Christians. They had the word of God and access to all the blessings that come with being His children. People would go to temples of Baal and worship as if it were God. Because they chose to follow false idols and not obey the Lord’s will punishment came to all the land.
As a comparison this country was founded on biblical principles by those who held scripture as a standard by which to create the laws of the land. As a nation we have allowed materialism and selfish desires to guide and dictate morality. Many of our churches are no longer filled with prayer. For the most part our children no longer receive even basic bible instruction. We have allowed marketing strategy to replace Godly leadership. It is becoming more desirable to create a place of entertainment instead of a house of worship to God. Americans have placed much faith in idols such as technology, the stock market, job security, and military strength, yet God has clearly shown us there is no true hope to be found in them. Every person whether Christian or not is affected by a nations punishment. By no means do I wish to discourage the work of those men and women who serve the Lord faithfully and whole heartedly. We must return to prayer while there is still time to repent and turn back to God and true faith in Christ.
After many calls to repentance the Jewish people were given the harshest of punishments. Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, But of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, But shall not find it. For four hundred years God did not send any prophet to instruct and guide His people. This is the time between the Old and New Testaments. In that time the Jews were uprooted from their land and found themselves enslaved to various nations.
The great English preacher George Whitefield said this, “As God can send a nation or people no greater blessing than to give them faithful, sincere, and upright ministers, so the greatest curse that God can possibly send upon a people in this world is to give them over to blind, unregenerate, carnal, lukewarm, and unskillful guides.”
Imagine not being able to find a responsible, loving, devoted preacher of The Word and instead be left to wander about in search of a good sermon. With such a punishment God inspired leadership would disappear leaving every person to follow a corrupt system of government and business leaders. The possibility that the Lord may withhold the blessing of God ordained ministers to lead the people should be enough to bring the whole church to a point of repentance.
It is not too late for America. True repentance must start in the Church. All who claim to follow Christ must first look at their own lives to see if anything is placed before God. Any Christian in a position of influence in business, community, or the political arena will be judged more harshly for their actions. Church leaders in particular must filter all their motives through the entirety of scripture and not personal desire. If we as a nation repent and turn back to God then His blessings on us will be known by all the nations. If we choose to continue ignoring the warning signs of a coming judgement there will soon be a day that no American is allowed to freely worship Christ.
Rev. Burt Schwab