How Does God Deal With Nations?

Bible Book: Matthew  23 : 37-38
Subject: Independence Day; America; Nation, God and the
Introduction

It has been reported that on July 4, 1776, King George III of Great Britain took out a pen, sat down, and wrote four words. In the diary of the great monarch of the British Empire, these four words were penned, "Nothing important happened today". True or not, poor King George couldn't have known what was happening in Philadelphia because he didn't have television, satellite communication, telephones, fax machines, or other modern devices to inform him that delegates to the Continental Congress had signed that very day the Declaration of Independence - independence from England -  Liberty had come to a people in America.

This American Republic would become the model for all other democracies of the world. God had led our forefathers to draft a declaration that would state clearly that there are certain rights which all people have given to them, not by the government, but by God Himself. Read the Declaration of Independence. It doesn't say a word about what government gives us; it tells us that our Creator has given us certain unalienable rights; among them life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It says that we will live under the Sovereign God who provides these rights to us.

We have drifted far from the original idea of liberty declared in those early days. But we still have the concept of liberty - after all, that comes from God and not from the government. Isn't it wonderful to be free, to be able to worship like this and not have to fear that soldiers will break in and disturb us the way the actors did earlier in the service this morning? Well, we may not continue to enjoy this liberty if we are unwilling to stand tall. The day may come, in our lifetimes, that soldiers will break into a service and stop our worship. Laws are being drafted all the time the infringe upon the rights of Christians like us, and those laws are designed to cease our proclamation of our beliefs and to forestall the practice of them. We must demand the right to believe and worship as God has declared to us and to be able to do so without interference from the government. It's wonderful to have this kind of liberty, but we must protect it.

I heard about a man and woman who came here from another country and when they arrived they were so excited that they couldn't wait to have their citizenship approved. After waiting and waiting, at last, their citizenship papers arrived. The husband came running in the house, and said, "Oh, Maria, Maria, look, our citizenship papers have come. We are citizens of the United States." She said, "Wonderful, wonderful. Now I am an American woman." She took off her apron, threw it at her husband and said, "You wash the dishes."

Seriously, it is great to be in a country where men and women are treated equally. That is not the case in many parts of the world today. In some countries the law actually allows a man to beat his wife for any reason. She can't divorce him but he can divorce her anytime he wishes. Also, he can have more than one wife if he chooses but she can't even speak to a man outside her family without her husbands permission. It is wonderful to be in America where regardless of your race, religion or gender, you can achieve what your God-given talents and development of them allow you to achieve.

I was watching television the other night and some Republicans and Democrats were ranting and raving on a program about who is right and who is wrong on the path America should take for the future. They got a little red in the face and the veins on their necks were standing out like they were ready to fight. I thought, "This is ridiculous. What a terrible display." Then, I felt a sense of joy. Tears actually came to my eyes as I realized anew what a wonderful country we have, where we can discuss issues openly without fear of reprisal. All this ranting and raving is exactly what freedom is about. In the end, we will vote and accept one side or the other till we can vote again. We must never give up our rights as believers to speak our mind regarding what we believe! For the Christian it is important to remember Philippians 2:5-10 - we must have the mind of Christ and speak the truth in love, but speak we must!

In America we have equality: men, women, black, white, red, yellow, Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Buddhist, Muslim and Atheist have the same rights. It doesn't matter who you are, in America we are free - at least for the time being. Opportunity to succeed or fail is available to each one of us because of this freedom.

Increasingly we are losing something in regard to this issue of liberty. Is something happening nefarious happening to our nation? Most of us feel that there is something seriously wrong, especially as it regards a favoritism toward Islam and an attack upon Christians.

As we would look at God's Word, we discover that there is a pattern which God has used in dealing with nations through every generation. In America we have such wonderful liberty that it is possible for us to take it for granted and lose it. We must be keenly aware of the dangers embedded in a government that has a hidden agenda. It just may be that God is watching us now to see if we will do what is necessary to take a faithful stand for our faith in Him and His Word.

America not only provides religious liberty but also provides us with the opportunity to succeed in every area of our lives. That has not been true in Communist countries and that is one reason that the Berlin Wall fell about 25 years ago.

I heard about someone who said you could describe all the different governments of the world using just two cows.

Communist Cows - They take one and give you one, and let you keep part of the milk.

Socialist Cows - They would take one of your cows, let you keep one, and give the other to your neighbor.

Fascist Cows - They would take both of your cows and sell you the milk

Nazi Cows - They take both of your cows and shoot you.

Bureaucrat Cows - They take both of your cows, shoot one of them, milk the other one, and pour the milk down the drain because the price had gone too low.

Capitalist Cows - You take your two cows, sell one, buy a bull and have all the cows you wanted.

That's America! It's a different place. We have a different way of doing things, but are we in danger of losing it? It certainly seems that way to many of us.

The passage from Matthew that I'm speaking from today was used by God to burn something deep into my heart. I find here four principles by which God deals with nations. We talk about how God deals with individuals, but how does God deal with countries? Does He have a set way of dealing with nations through history? I believe He does and we see these principles all through His Word. He grants this knowledge to us so that we will grasp it and act upon it.

I. God's Love for a Nation

The first principle we see is that God has a love for a nation. When Jesus spoke the words in our text, He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem. How many times have I tried to call you and gather you under my wing, to myself, as a mother hen would gather her chicks." He is revealing the love relationship between a mother hen and her chicks. She feels the instinctive love that causes her to draw her little chicks up close during times of danger to protect them. Jesus was speaking to Jerusalem and the nation of Israel in this illustration, and He is pointing out how many times He has tried to take them under His wing to protect them.

Jerusalem was a city, but it was the capitol of Israel, and it was the heart of the land. It was as if Jesus were to speak to America by saying this to  Washington. "O Washington, Washington, how many times have I tried to call you and gather you under my wing, to myself, as a mother hen would gather her chicks."

What God is showing us in this passage is that God loved Israel and had chosen her for a special purpose. Did God love Israel and the Hebrews because they were special? Did He love them because they were better, more righteous than everybody else? Absolutely not! In Genesis 18:18 you will discover that God spoke to Abraham and said, "I am going to make you a nation and all the nations of the world are going to be blessed through you." The reason God blessed and loved Israel, was because through Israel He meant to bless the whole world - every nation of the world!

We must understand this, or we are going to miss the principle that is so profound in this text. You might read the text in context this way, "O Jerusalem, how many times I've sought to bring you to Myself, because you were my people, you are supposed to take this gospel message of divine love to the whole world because I love all the nations." He repeated this promise in Genesis 26 to Isaac. We see it in Psalm 92, when the Psalmist said, "Proclaim the glory of the Lord to all the nations." We see it in Christ when He speaks and gives the great commission, "Go ye into all the world and make disciples of all nations."

God loves all the nations. God loves America, but God also loves Canada, France, England, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and all the other nations of the world. If you think that God loves us more than He loves any other nation in the world, you are missing the reality of God's personality and nature. Christians in America start thinking, "We're Americans, God loves us more than everybody else. Look at how many churches we have, look at how many things He's given us, so He must love us more." This is not true! God loves all nations of the world but God chose America through our forefathers and those who came before us to be a great mission launching station of the world. He planted in this nation the seed of the gospel in a unique way, where it grew up and blossomed, and we've all been blessed under the shadow of its shade. But it is dangerous to take for granted the love of God! Yes, America is loved, but so are all the other nations. We must understand this principle if we are going to understand the rest of the message.

There are those today who are working feverishly to tear down all national barriers and establish one great world government. Read the Book of Revelation and you can see the clear warning about the danger of this happening. The one-world government is the message of the anti-Christ. God meant for there to be nations separated from each other, and we only need to read the story of the Tower of Babel to see that this is true. The only place where people of the world are to be totally united is in Christ!

Does God's plan for us to live in different lands with different languages contain the concept of our fighting each other in wars? Absolutely not! No! The Bible says He establishes the nations and in the end time He will gather His children from all the nations: the east, west, north and south. They shall come from every nation, kindred, tongue, people; from all over the globe. He loves the nations. There's nothing wrong with loving your country, and others loving their country.  You see, God knew from the beginning that a one-world government is prone to fall under the sway of an evil, Satanic leader. God's plan was to use any nation that turns to Him in order to preach the message of Jesus until The Great Day of the Lord.

So, let us be sure that God loves the nations and His purpose is to save people from every nation through His Son, Jesus Christ. America has been uniquely used in this process. The question is, will we remain under His wing or hear Him say, "Washington, Washington, how many times I tried to call you under my wings of protection, but you refused to listen. Soon, not one stone will be left upon another!" That is a message we do not want to hear from heaven.

II. God's Patience with a Nation

God is patient with the nations and it is important that we understand this fact, otherwise you will think that God is indifferent toward the nations of the world. You may think that with all that is going on, if God was going to judge America He would have already done so. After all, America is no better than the other countries when it comes to sin, yet there are many Christians in America who think that we are far superior to all the other countries in moral and religious matters. That is exactly same argument Israel used in the Old Testament and the way they thought of themselves when Jesus cried out over the city in our text today. Surely God loved Israel and had plans to spare them from the enemies around them.

In the Old Testament, the people did not accept the idea that the Assyrians could be used of God to capture their land. Yet, God loved the Assyrians, too. Everyone remembers Jonah in the Bible, but many people forget the nation to which he was sent. He was sent to a place called Nineveh, which was the capitol of Assyria. Assyria was one of the most pagan, ruthless societies in that day, and may be considered one of the most evil nations in history. When an Assyrian captured an enemy, he often stripped the skin from his body while the victim was still alive. Sometimes they would tie the hands and feet of a captured man and have four horses slowly pull the bones of the victim apart. They took the heads of their slain enemies and place them on a stick or pole and line the roadway with them. Often there would be thousands of heads on sticks lining the roads to remind the enemy that they were under the heavy foot of the Assyrians. But, God loved them! God was patient with them. The Bible says He sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites and to tell them this, "Yet forty days and destruction comes." He could have sent him to say "All hope is lost, I am going to destroy you." This informs us and reminds us that God acts toward nations with patience. He sends a message of warning before He sends destruction. He sends a chance for repentance and grace! He did that with Nineveh - "yet forty days." The Bible says they all repented. When they repented, God said, "You have repented of your sins and turned back to me, I will not destroy you." Later on, Nineveh of course turned from God again and this time God allowed their enemies to swallowed them up and destroy them. Oh, how we need to know that no matter how wicked a nation may be, or how far from the true God they have wandered, God loves them. His desire is to spare them and saved them.

God has been patient with America. Look at our society today, and see what is happening. After all God has given us, look how we take Him for granted and slander His name, mock Him, and how we have thrown the Bible out of our schools, thrown God out of government, and said in essence, we don't want God intruding on the way we do things. We need to understand that everything we have came from God. When we turn our backs on Him, we are turning our backs on the very foundation of our liberty. He Is THE Foundation of America! We take Him out, and there is nothing to hold the house up anymore. God has been patient with a country that has drive-by shootings slaying four and five year old children in our cities. God has been patient with a nation that has become crazed with sexual license. God has been patient with America, where teenage pregnancies have risen to unbelievable numbers, and where abortions are performed wholesale day after day by the thousands. How patient has God been with us when we consider that innocent, unborn babies have no rights, and are stripped from their mother's bodies and destroyed with practically no thought for those precious lives. We are a nation that has experienced much patience from God, but we must ask how long we think God is going to remain patient with us?

America involves society, government and the church. Whenever all three of these portions of our nation gather in concert against God there is destruction waiting in the wings. Sometime ago the Surgeon General of the United States of America spoke at the dedication of a Planned Parenthood office in a First United Methodist Church. This is a direct quote, "I believe that a church is a proper place for the promotion of abortions." Where is the outcry from society that this is wrong? Where is the outcry from the church that this is wrong. Where is the outcry from our courts that this is wrong. When all three sections of a society consort together against justice, truth and life, God will not be patient forever.

We could go on for sometime describing the sinful nature of our citizens. We could spend the entire service just highlighting how government is driving faith in God from the foundations of our nation, but you know all of this as well as I. How long do you think God will be patient with us?

III. God's Judgment of a Nation

The text says, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, (God's love) how many times (God's patience) I tried to gather you, but you were not willing. Now your house is left to you desolate (God's judgment is inevitable). The judgment of God finally comes. When the rivers of God's wrath run up against the dam of God's mercy and the dam breaks, then the wrath of God pours down upon the people. That's what happened to Jerusalem thirty-five years after Jesus spoke the words in our text today. We discover in the Bible and in history that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.. Do you realize that the nation of Israel, Jerusalem, was absolutely overrun by Roman authorities? The women were raped, the children taken into slavery, and the men were killed or placed in prisons. The nation was destroyed. Jesus saw it and wept over it before it ever happened, saying, "You were not willing to come to me and  now judgment is coming upon you."

Read 2 Peter 2 to see what Peter wrote about the judgment of God. He lists some things God did not spare:

He did not spare the angels that fell from their lofty estate. They were put in chains till the day of judgment. If God spared not angels that wore robes in glory, worshipped in His presence, and served at the behest of God, do you think He will spare us?

God did not spare the ancient world (he is talking about Genesis 6) but rather sent the flood upon them, do you think He will spare us? Think about Noah's day.

A little boy came home from school and he was white as a sheet. He was nervous and shaking. His daddy asked what was wrong. The boy said, "Daddy, some boys were playing and we just met this man who is building this big ole boat, you know Noah?" He said, "I know Noah. He is building this big thing, he calls it an Ark." The son said, "Dad, we boys asked him what he was doing. He called us over and daddy he told us something terrible! He told us a flood is coming and everybody is going to be killed, and we ought to turn to God before it is too late. Daddy, don't you think you, Mommy, my brothers, sisters and ought to get in that ark with Noah? Don't you think we ought to do that?"

I can see that father say, "Ah, son, come on. I've known Noah for a long time. He's been building that thing for a hundred and twenty years. Do you know I was once a little boy like you and I went by there and he told me the same story. He's a crazy old kook! He's a right-wing radical! Don't pay any attention to him, he doesn't know what he's talking about. Son, don't worry about it. Go in and get some goat's milk, lay in the tent and rest." Then the man goes down, finds Noah and says, "Don't you dare frighten my child again. Don't talk to him about that crazy judgment stuff!"

You might say that it is unlikely that anything like that actually happened. Oh, I think it did. Let me give you an example from my own ministry as a pastor. A young man, about 14 or 15 years old, came to Christ one time in a revival meeting in the church I pastored. He accepted Jesus Christ, knelt at the altar, trembling and weeping, and was gloriously saved by our Lord. His mother called me furious about the entire thing. "What did you tell my son? What did you do to my boy to scare him to death?"

I said, "Ma'am, we didn't do anything to him, we just preached the Bible. We are in a revival meeting. He just came to Christ."

That woman cursed me on the phone. She was mad. She said, "I'll have you know that I am a member of a church right here in this community, and we don't need Baptists scaring our children to death and telling them about Hell. My boy is not welcome back in your church again."

I picked up the phone and called the pastor of the church where was a member. I said, "Brother, let me tell you what happened. You've got a church member who is very upset with us because her son came and knelt at the altar and accepted Jesus." He almost cried on the phone. He said that that family was so backslidden from God that they had not been in church for years. He said that if they were saved, it was just by the skin of their teeth. He told me that he had heard that their children were experimenting with drugs. Well, he hung up the phone and went straight to that home. He confronted that mother and she admitted what she had done. He called me later and said that the mom had promised that the entire family would be in church on Sunday.

Let me tell you something plainly today, there are a lot of people who don't want to hear one word about judgment. We had better get serious about God and stop worrying about whether people like us or not. This is not a game we are talking about here. This is reality! The Bible messages about the judgment of God are not fairy tales, they are real! You may be playing around with religion, but are not saved - you need to give your life to God today.

If God spared not the angels and the ancient world, is there any reason He should spare us? If God did not spare Israel, is there any reason He should spare us? If God did not spare Judah, is there any reason He should spare us?

I read information about D-Day in my office in May, and wept. When I read about those young men who died on the beaches of Normandy, trying to scale that wall to take out the enemy, trying to parachute behind enemy lines, died in their youth with their whole lives before them, so that we could be free today. I read the stories of girlfriends, mothers and wives back home who got the news of the deaths and I could not help myself, I wept. What touched me most about D-Day involved what was going on back here in America. What was going on in America while the soldiers were landing at Normandy? According to the reports and pictures I have seen, America was down on her knees before God. I saw photos of cab drivers, with their cabs pulled over to the side of the street in New York City, down on their knees praying to God. Do you think you would see that today? A cab driver in NYC down on his knees praying to God to spare America? I saw photos of longshoremen down on their knees praying for God to spare the boys, and give victory in Normandy. There were photos of mothers kneeling down with their neighbors on their porches praying for God to save America. Let me tell you that sin and degradation within our society is eating away at the very life blood of America and this is a far greater enemy than the Nazi Germany in World War II. It is time for America to pray.

If God spared not the ancient world, if God spared not Sodom and Gomorrah, if God spared not the angels, if God spared not Jerusalem, His own city - the City of David, the city of God, do you think He will spare Washington if we go on as we are going today? Read Romans 8. If God spared not His own Son, do you think He will spare you? The Bible says in Romans 8, "God spared not his own Son, but gave Him up for us all." That means that at the day Jesus Christ was ready to die, and all the sin of the world was laid on Him, the Father had a choice. He could spare His Son or let Him die. The only way He could save you and me was to let His Son die, let the sin of the world be placed on Him, and the Bible said He spared not His own Son. Do you think He is going to spare me, if I'm in rebellion? The judgment of God is a reality.

IV. God's Call to a Nation

God loves the nations, God is patient with the nations, but God will eventually judge the nations. He said He was going to do it and He will do it. But God is calling. In this passage, Jesus is saying, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how many times I called you. How many times I would have drawn you to myself."

God is calling someone here today. I'm telling you as surely as I stand on this platform, someone in this room today is lost. You know it - you know it while I'm preaching this Word - you know it. "God come in the Holy Spirit power and bring conviction so that no one will leave here lost", is my prayer. God is calling you. Do you know how people get saved? If you're waiting for a miracle, the miracle happened back at Calvary when Jesus died for you, and when He rose from the grave. He is now calling you to Himself.

Conclusion

In the text for today, Jesus tells about a mother hen. He says that mother hen is calling her chicks. Get a picture in your mind of a beautiful, sunny barnyard. Little chicks are out in the yard pecking around, having a wonderful time. Mom is strutting around outside, she's so proud of these chicks, the most beautiful chicks in any barnyard in the world! She is really having a good time watching them, keeping her eye on them; they are pecking, they're learning, they're having a good time, when suddenly she sees a shadow moving across the ground. She watches it for a moment and she notices it gives that tale-tale sign of danger. The shadow starts turning. She realizes instinctively there is danger. You see there's a hawk overhead. It is circling over the barnyard, and the shadow is falling on the ground around those chicks. She sees it. What does the mother hen do? Does she run and get her chicks and drive them somewhere? No. What does she do? She calls them. She stays right where she is, she raises her giant wings, and then she calls out with a special call given to mother hens just for danger. She says in essence, "Get here quickly, there is danger in the air. Come to mama." The little chicks make a decision - listen and obey, or to continue playing in the barnyard. A wise little chick is going to turn immediately at the sound of that mother hen, and run under her wing. Imagine that hawk circling around and around. Little chicks start running for their mother. The mother hen raises her wings and her chicks come running to a place of safety. But, there are two chicks that stay out there and they talk to each other. One says to the other, "She's just wanting to take away our fun. She just doesn't want us to have a good time. We know what she wants to do. She wants to confine us under her wing so she can keep us under her control. Look at those chicks running under those wings. Most of them are running under the right wing, did you notice that? No sir, not me, I'm going to stay out here in this barnyard and have myself a time. How about you?" The other one says, "Well, okay, if you stay out here so will I." At that very moment the hawk has already seen it's prey. He tilts his head downward, and like a bullet, like a lightning bolt, he comes soaring down out of the heavens. Those great claws are already extended. As he swoops down, the little chick doesn't know death is coming, when -P O W- the claws go into the flesh. The little chick screaming as it is carried out of sight, and the mother hen can do nothing but weep, because she did everything she could.

Judgment is coming. God offers safety. Run to safety! You can't blame the doctor when you die with a disease if you failed to take the medicine. You can't blame God if you die in a lost condition, if you don't take the gift of eternal life. I'm going to ask you today to come right now to Christ. The shadow is growing over the ground already. I believe, for America, there is a great shadow already coming over us. I am going to ask you today, forget everything else for a few moments and come to the front and bow down at this altar, and say, "God, I am kneeling under your wing. You are my only protection." Pray the prayer of the Psalmist found in Psalm 17:8, "Keep me as the apple of your eye, and hide me under the shadow of your wings."