“It is my firm conviction today that the only thing that can save our nation is revival. It is either going to be revival or revolution. There is corruption in government on all levels. There is corruption in all organizations today. Immorality and lawlessness abound. Sex, liquor, drugs, filthy magazines, foul pictures, scandals, and riots reign. This nation is wallowing like a pig in a swine’s sty. We are like the prodigal son in a far country in the pigpen with the pigs. Without revival, revolution stares us in the face. Socialism is creeping in today. Political parties are willing to sell the birthright of this nation in order to stay in power. The church today is under the blight of apostasy. Liberalism controls the organized church. There is a brazen denial of the Word of God even in co-called evangelical circles. The Word of God has been lost in the church, and there are atheists today in the pulpit.”1
These words were spoken by Dr. J. Vernon McGee over 30 years ago, if not longer, since he went to be with the Lord Jesus on December 1st, 1988. Have we changed much since he spoke those words? Well, let’s see. We have added a few new vices to our repertoire of evil since then, and oh yes, we are much more brazen in flaunting our sins in the face of God than ever before. Any shame we may have had 30 plus years ago is long gone. In other words folks, we are in deep doodoo.
The most evil king in Judah, the southern kingdom, had to be Manasseh. He was so thoroughly rotten and brought Judah to such a despicable low in their sins, God would not lift His hand of judgment even for the sake of Manasseh’s grandson Josiah. Manasseh was the son of Hezekiah and reigned over Judah from 687-642 B.C. (55 years).
Amon, Manasseh’s son, followed him and reigned for two years.
Then in 640 B.C. Josiah, Amon’s son, became king and reigned 31 years. Listen to what God says of him, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (2 Kings 23:25)
Only going back to Josiah’s great grandfather Hezekiah, I find it interesting that Hezekiah was a good king. Then his son (Manasseh) and grandson (Amon) were rotten. But now Josiah comes along and he is definitely a breath of fresh air to the southern kingdom, Judah. Notice again what God says in the verse above about Josiah, “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord (repented)as he did – with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.” (Emphasis mine)
I’ll come back to Josiah, but let me to say first that even though we are not Israel or Judah, we as individuals and as a nation must answer to God. Her history is in the Bible to teach us how to live before God as an individual and as a nation.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
We have been blessed by God above any other Gentile nation. Therefore, much more is expected of us.
“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:47-48)
God’s special nation, the apple of His eye, had been disciplined many times for their sins again Him. After they split into the southern (Judah) and northern (Israel) kingdoms, Israel finally pushed God so far He had them taken away into captivity by the Assyrians in about 722 B.C. Later, in about 586 B.C. Judah was also taken captive, but by the Babylonians.
The nation Israel that came from the loins of Abraham has always been God’s special people. They have a long, long history with God. Beginning with Adam and Eve all people upon the earth were Gentiles. From Abraham and Sarah God added a new race of people called Israel (the Jews). From the Pentecost following Christ’s death upon the cross, God added yet another race called the Church (true Christians.) The major difference between Gentiles, Jews and Christians is that one can only become a Christian by being born spiritually in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The United States of America is a Gentile nation that was founded by people who were strongly influenced by the God of Israel and the Church. The Bible was the handbook used as the foundation for our own Constitution, but let us not be deceived, we are not the apple of God’s eye as a nation. Only Israel can claim that honor.
“For this is what the LORD Almighty says: “After the Glorious One has sent me against the nations that have plundered you—for whoever touches you touches the apple of his eye—I will surely raise my hand against them so that their slaves will plunder them. Then you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me. (Zechariah 2:8-9)
With that in mind, let us take note that if God severely punished Israel for their rebellion against Him, do we really think He will wink at our sins? What makes so many in this country believe they can do as they please and God will both turn a blind eye and condone our rebellion? America is a special country in many ways, but we are certainly not in the same league as Israel, and Israel has suffered more than any nation on earth. They are still suffering, and they have more suffering to come. Now where does that leave us? We need a revival, but is it too late for that as a nation?
To understand where I’m coming from you will need to do some reading; otherwise you will not get the complete message.
We are looking at Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon and Josiah.
Hezekiah and Josiah were good kings, and as we read in 2 Kings 23:25 none could match up with Josiah. He was a king that God dearly loved.
Manasseh and Amon were bad kings, especially Manasseh. King Manasseh was so bad; he finally tipped the scales and caused God’s judgment to come down on Judah, the southern kingdom. Judah would be taken away into slavery because Manasseh pushed God too far.
[At this point please read 2 Kings 21:1-18.]
But wait a minute. Manasseh’s grandson Josiah was as good a king as Manasseh was bad. Doesn’t that count for something?
[At this point please read 2 Kings 22:1-30.]
Surely, because of Josiah God would relent from His decision to have Babylon take Judah away into captivity. Both Israel and Judah finally crossed the line. They thought they could get away with rebelling against God and wallowing in their sins, but they went too far.
By this time it was too late for repentance. God had this to say.
“Nevertheless, the LORD did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to arouse his anger. So the LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from my presence as I removed Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, about which I said, ‘My Name shall be there.’” (2 Kings 23:25-27)
We have had “kings” that have respected God’s laws, and we have had some who did not. Have any of them reached the pinnacle of evil where Manasseh sat? Think about that, and then answer for yourself. Have there been any like Josiah? No. Even if a Josiah comes along will God forego judgment upon us? He didn’t with Judah.
We desperately need a revival in this country. I personally do not see that happening, but that is my opinion. However, there is good news among all this gloom and doom. Revival always starts with the individual. We can still have a revival in our own heart toward God. Our nation will eventually suffer horribly because of its sins, but we as a person can spend eternity with God if we turn our hearts toward Him.
So is it too late for America to avoid God’s judgment due to our hostile rebellion toward Him? Why do I believe that we will not avoid His judgment, keeping in mind that only God makes that decision?
- Assuming you have read the verses I indicated (2 Kings 21:1-18; 22:1-30) it is abundantly evident to us all that Manasseh was so bad he finally brought the wrath of God down upon Judah. Even though his grandson Josiah was the best of the all the kings, it wasn’t enough to avoid judgment as a nation.
Israel, from Jeroboam to Hoshea, never had a good king since Solomon. That was a period of about 210 years of nineteen kings, and they were all bad; not a good one in the bunch.
Judah, from Rehoboam to Zedekiah, had seven kings that could be called good kings out of a total of twenty, a period of 345 years. Judah had 263 years of basically good kings, including Josiah’s 31 year reign, which was the very best of all. Judah was given 135 years longer to repent than Israel, perhaps because better than one third of her kings were good kings, again, especially Josiah. So Judah obviously had nothing to complain about.
- Our country has been blessed with Godly men and women who have honored God in leadership and as citizens by honoring His laws. We have been spiritually and materially blessed more than any nation that has ever existed, and with these blessings has come the responsibility of honoring God by glorifying His Son. We glorify Jesus by believing in Him and living for Him. Also, we glorify Him by being examples of Jesus Christ to each other and other nations.
Have we been perfect as a nation and as a people? Absolutely, we have not been perfect or anywhere close it. However, our forefathers honored Jesus Christ as the one and only true God. In times past, we honored Him in our government, our schools, our sports and our family life.
The Philadelphian Church of Revelation 3:7-13 has long carried the torch within our borders. However, in a very short time we are now consumed with the Laodicean Church of Revelation 3:14-22.
Now the same rottenness has consumed us that was with Israel and Judah. We continue the process of removing anything that reminds us of a holy God. Our government leaders are passing laws in direct contradiction to God’s holy Word the Bible. Our citizenry is consumed with drugs, sex, greed, blasphemous language, and all that is repulsive to God Almighty. Our churches have become a dens of false prophets and a blight upon us all. We are murdering 4,000 babies a day in this country. We have become drunk with sin and laugh in the face of God.
That, in brief, is why I believe we are headed for judgment. Folks, we have gotten bigger than our britches, and God will eventually produce the hickory switch.
We dare not rewrite the Bible and call it God’s Word. We dare not tell God what is right or wrong. He tells us. We dare not reclassify sin as a way of life or another type of love when God says it is a violation of His laws. We dare not snub our nose at God and tell Him how to run His world. It is His world, not ours. We need not tell God how we are going to live and expect His endorsement.
Obviously, we do need a revival. I do believe a revival is taking place in individual lives and in small groups. I do not believe we will experience a national revival because, as a nation, we have become too smug and corrupt.
When will His judgment come? In my personal opinion, I believe it will begin in full force on the day of the Rapture of Christ’s Church. While the Bride of Christ is going up to meet Him in the air, the black clouds of judgment will fall and rain down judgment, not only upon this country, but upon the world.
The good news is Josiah is with God today. Even with all his reforms and his total dedication toward God, it was too late for his nation at that time, but he was saved. The same can be true for any of us today if we follow Jesus Christ. All we need is a revival in our own hearts. Those who come to Jesus will never suffer with Satan and his followers, but will enjoy the riches of Heaven for eternity.
- J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary Series, First and Second Kings, pages 282-283.
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