If America Fell
(Originally Published in Gospel Anchor, Feb. 1988. Bro. Watts passed away July 9, 2001.)
Could America be invaded and defeated? Could our nation be destroyed? It is common knowledge that our nation's enemies have the capacity to annihilate us. Thus far they have been deterred from doing so by our threat of retaliation, but if they decided to attack us, we could not save ourselves from destruction. We could obliterate them in the few minutes we had before our land was reduced to rubble, but we could not prevent our own destruction. And, as more and more unstable governments gain nuclear weapons, there is a growing fear that a crisis sparked by a smaller nation could escalate into wider devastation that would include us.
If the prospect of America being turned into a graveyard seems farfetched, imagine what it would be like if our nation experienced a catastrophic financial collapse. In recent years some have said this was inevitable. Books predicting an enormous economic collapse have been best-sellers. Some people are buying gold for the time when paper money will be worthless. Some have urged people to prepare for the future by stockpiling guns, tools, and seed to barter with once the collapse comes.
If our nation went into irreversible decline, or was actually destroyed, what message would the Bible have for us? Consider three answers to that question:
1. If America fell, it would definitely be deserved.
Our society is sinful and corrupt. While ordinary citizens like us may never know the truth about the high-level secret provocations that go on between nations, we do know about the internal corruption of our own society.
The majority of American adults are fornicators. A recent government study is said to show that eighty percent of single American women in their twenties are fornicators. (Men have traditionally been even more promiscuous than women.) But we don't need government studies to tell us what is common knowledge, and it is common knowledge that such sexual immorality is rampant throughout our society.
Homosexuality is now widespread in our society. If it is not yet possible to say homosexual perversions have become respectable in our nation, at least it is no exaggeration to say they have become socially acceptable to many. Homosexuals in our nation appear to be one of the most powerful pressure groups. Apparently many of our politicians and media moguls either sympathize with them or find it politically and/or economically expedient to support their perverted causes.
Each year more than a million unborn babies are killed by abortion. The blood of righteous Cain cried out to God for vengeance (Gen. 4: 10), and one trembles when contemplating how heaven must see the blood of almost countless infants who have been killed throughout our nation with the sanction of the highest court in our land.
And everywhere God is blasphemed. His name is not only used as a vulgar exclamation in millions of daily conversations, but it is constantly profaned in print and on radio and television. And glimpses into the secret chambers of our highest officials have confirmed that blasphemy against God is routinely found there also.
Furthermore, the God-given responsibilities of government, to protect the lawful and punish the lawless, now often seem to be almost reversed. Murder is rampant in our land, and capital punishment of convicted murderers is usually blocked. Criminals seem to be released from custody faster than their victims can be discharged from the hospitals. Our lawmakers themselves are often discovered to be blatant lawbreakers. And then the sociology "experts" want us to believe law-abiding citizens, not the criminals, are somehow to blame for the criminals' conduct.
No, this isn't a "Christian nation," and it isn't a nation of Christians. We may put "In God We Trust" on our money, and we may use the Bible in our courtrooms and during inaugurations, and we may teach our children to say we are a nation "under God" when they pledge allegiance to the flag, but in many ways we are living in a Godless, immoral, and corrupt nation.
And before we congratulate ourselves that we are not as evil as other peoples, we should remember one way God reckons guilt is by the measure of a people's opportunities. Jesus, for example, taught it would be more tolerable in the day of judgment for the people of certain pagan cities, including Sodom, than it would be for some of the "respectable" Jewish people of His generation (Matt. 11:2024). These Jews were not more immoral than the sinners of Sodom, but they had greater guilt because they failed to live up to their greater blessings. Greater opportunities mean greater guilt for those who fail to live up to those blessings. What nation has had greater freedom and light than our nation? To say the least, we cannot be sure God judges our guilt to be less than that of some foreign nations we consider to be "pagan."
The Scriptures say, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34). It isn't being radical to acknowledge it would be deserved if God allowed our nation to be destroyed. We don't know whether that will happen, but if God's longsuffering should soon be exhausted it will surely be deserved.
2. If America fell, it would not be the first time God allowed, or caused, a nation to fall.
In the time of Noah, God destroyed a population potentially numbering in the millions. He did that because they were morally corrupt and filled with violence (Gen. 6:5,11-13).
In the time of Abraham, God exterminated the people of Sodom and Gomorrah because of their homosexuality and other sins (2 Pet. 2:6).
In the days of Moses, God broke the back of the idolatrous Egyptian nation. Because of their depravity, God destroyed the Canaanites in the time of Joshua (Lev. 18:24, 25).
In the time of Isaiah, and later in the days of Jeremiah, God brought down the northern and southern kingdoms of the Jews. And it is thought-provoking to recall that He used neighboring nations to accomplish those judgments (cf. Isa. 10:5, 6), nations the Jews would have considered more wicked than themselves.
And during the apostles' generation, God used the Roman Empire to crush the ungodly Jewish nation which rejected Christ.
These are just some of the most prominent national judgments revealed in the Bible. We cannot know the details of God's providential role in the rise and fall of nations after the Scriptures were completed. And though we dare not pretend to know the secret counsel of God concerning our own nation's future, this much we can know: if America falls it will not be the first time God allowed, or caused, a wicked nation to go down.
3. If America fell, God would not forget his people.
This is not to say Christians are promised exemption from hardship and suffering during political upheavals. But the godly people of a place are not forgotten by God amid an ungodly majority.
Noah wasn't forgotten in a world filled with corrupt people (2 Pet. 2:5).
Lot wasn't forgotten when Sodom was blotted out (2 Pet. 2:6, 7).
During His judgments against the apostate Jews, God didn't forget the faithful Jews (Amos 9:8-10; Ezk. 9:1-6; Mal. 3:16,17).
And Christians weren't forgotten during the early decades of the Lord's church (Matt. 24:22; Rev. 7:1-3).
Remember, this didn't mean godly people always escaped suffering when their nation fell, but they were never forgotten by God, and divine vindication and compensation is not limited to this life. Jesus said, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:28-31). God doesn't forget the righteous.
None of this means Christians want to see our nation fall. In fact, the Bible teaches us to pray for rulers that we might lead quiet and peaceful lives (1 Tim. 2: 1,2). We might all do well to imitate Abraham, who interceded for the people of Sodom (Gen. 18:23f), or Amos, who learned of coming judgment against Israel, pleaded in such a way God changed His mind about sending some of the just punishment they deserved (cf. Amos 7:1f). Certainly Christians can pray that our nation will not fall or decline if it can be God's will that we continue.
So, as Christians, we don't want to see our nation decline or collapse. But ultimately our hope must be in God, not our President. Our confidence is in the Bible, not the Constitution. We trust in providence not politics.
In this evil, troubled, and uncertain world, Christians can have an inner peace and tranquility the world has no claim to. That peace is not dependent upon whether the Stock Market is up or down, or whether the gross national product is high or low. It is not built on trust in political maneuvering by our statesmen, or military alliances with our allies, or yet unbroken peace treaties with our enemies. It is the peace and confidence that comes from knowing God will always rule, and we belong to Him.
By David Watts
From Expository Files 10.9 , September 2003