IF A NATION IS STILL IN EXISTENCE

If a nation is still standing, does that prove it has a great government? Not necessarily. If a country continues to exist, does that mean it has a high moral character in the sight of God? No, it does not. If a country has been around for a long time, should its inhabitants conclude that it definitely will be in existence until the end of the world? Not at all.

The Bible affirms that the God of heaven rules in the kingdom of men (Daniel 4:17), removing and raising up kings and their governments (Daniel 2:21). We may not understand all the details of God’s dealings with human rulers, but we completely accept His sovereignty and right to act as He deems proper.

In the days of Noah, God observed that every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5). As a result, after mentioning a period of one hundred twenty years (Genesis 6:3), God’s arm of justice came down on the human race, as all humans except eight persons lost their lives in a universal flood. Ten days before the flood began, the world was standing. Did the fact that the earth was still in existence prove that everyone involved in running earthly activities pleased the Lord God? Of course not. Do not confuse existence with pleasing the Lord. Those are two different matters.

What about God’s dealings with the inhabitants of the land of Canaan? God told Abraham that He one day would give that land to his descendants, but it would not occur in Abraham’s lifetime. When would it happen? God said, “But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). God had His own time schedule for removing the Amorites and giving their land to the Israelites, Abraham’s descendants. What else? At the time Jehovah made that promise to Abraham, the Amorites’ corruption was visible, but not complete. God would bring down the hammer of His wrath on the Canaanites according to His wisdom and on His own time schedule. In this case, it would be four more generations.

What about God’s dealings with the Amalekites? With no provocation, they viciously attacked the children of Israel as Moses led the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai (Exodus 17:8-16). God saw the Amalekites’ wicked conduct and He did not approve of it. But, notice this: it was not until approximately four hundred years later that God “dealt with” the Amalekites by sending King Saul to destroy them (1 Samuel 15). Throughout that four-hundred-year period, the Amalekites continued to exist. Their ongoing existence, however, was not an indication that (1) they were pleasing in God’s sight or that (2) they “got away with” their atrocities. Per His wisdom, God dealt with the Amalekites when and how He deemed appropriate.

Jehovah used the ancient Assyrian Empire as the rod of His anger to carry out His justice on nations in the Middle East, then He turned around and punished Assyria for its sin (Isaiah 10:5-19). God did the same with the Babylonians, raising up mighty King Nebuchadnezzar to be the instrument of His justice, then He turned around and smashed the Babylonian Empire (Jeremiah 25:9-12). God raised up the Babylonian regime, then brought it down. When? After Babylon had its “day in the sun,” a period of seventy years. In the case of Babylon, God said seventy years was enough, then He intervened.

It is written, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34). We plead with you not to assume that a nation’s continued existence is evidence that God is pleased with it or that it somehow will be able to escape God’s judgment. God tears out plants which He has not planted (Matthew 15:13) and brings down nations. Some of His righteous judgment is seen in biblical and human history; other judgments may not be made manifest until the final Day of Judgment.

The righteous God of heaven carries out righteous judgment. There are no exceptions! If my country is still standing, that proves nothing about its moral standing before God. Rather than trying to predict how and when Jehovah will bring down His mighty hand of wrath against my own nation, I would prefer to invest my thoughts and efforts in (1) being a salt-light influence (Matthew 5:13-16) for the masses around me and (2) trying to teach God’s message of light to those in darkness (Philippians 2:15,16).

— Roger D. Campbell

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