This is a good question, and the answers are there for everyone to see if only they would look in the right place.
We make no apology for always basing our answers on the instruction manual that God has given mankind – the Bible. But the Bible today is ridiculed, maligned, scorned, rejected and attacked by so many opponents, including intellectuals (so-called), many in the teaching fraternity, politicians and other leaders including those who are involved in shaping the direction of society which the overwhelming majority of people just blindly accept.
It is such a huge subject to address, and yet the answer is simple. In Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28, we read about the promise of blessings and also the pronouncement of cursings (or retribution) that God would bestow on the ancient nation of Israel depending on their obedience or disobedience. Not just blind obedience, but obedience based on the principles that would bring about peace, protection, prosperity and plenty.
The Bible does not hold back on its reporting of the good things and bad ways of Israel and of its kings and their subjects. We see that when the people respected and followed God, good things happened. When they rejected God and followed worthless idols and lived ungodly lives, their good life was replaced by war, captivity, subjection and a miserable existence.
The Bible gives a very important admonition in Galatians 6:7, which reads: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” This is such an important principle, and one that man ignores at his peril. In the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, we read: “There is a terrible rebuke implied in the choice of this word. It is far stronger than ‘deceived’. The word means ‘to sneer at’, and here denotes not merely the attempt to impose a cheat upon another, but the open gesture of contempt for one who is an easy dupe.”
Perhaps most of us grew up, understanding the consequences of the Law of Gravity. Just what is it? Is it as simple as, “Things tend to fall downwards?” The gravitational attraction between the Earth and the object pulls it towards the ground.
Likewise, when we choose an action, we also choose the consequences! This is not always known and understood; otherwise, so many actions that so many have taken may not have been made in the first place, had this principle been understood! But the ancient nation of Israel made wrong choices and suffered the consequences, and the same principle applies to us today! There are natural consequences to our actions. The world operates under the law of cause and effect. There is no way around it: every time we choose an action, we also choose the consequences of that action.
If a penalty or reward doesn’t come quickly, the thought might be that it isn’t coming at all, and then the wrongdoer may just think that the law of cause and effect is broken.
One person put it this way: “But what if a farmer thought this way? What if just because the seed he planted on Monday hadn’t sprouted by Tuesday, it meant that it wasn’t going to sprout? Or, if it did produce, he would get, say, beetroots when he had planted carrots? Ridiculous? Of course it is. But we humans can do bad things and then think we got away with them, or do good and then become discouraged, simply because the pain or pleasure that’s supposed to follow takes a while to come.”
A number of years ago, Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show, and Jane Clayson asked her: “How could God let something like this happen?” She made reference to the attacks on September 11, hurricanes and earthquakes. Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. Some have disputed the source of this response, but whoever gave it, it was very meaningful.
She said: “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.
“How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone? In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc., I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
“Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school … the Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide).
“We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK. Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
“Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.
“Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Are you laughing? Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they WILL think, of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.”
That was a very hard-hitting and accurate assessment of the way that things have gone in recent decades, but most people don’t see any connection at all between the behaviour and lifestyle of people, and the state of the nations.
We must also add into the mix the fact that Satan the devil is alive and well. He sees that he doesn’t have much time, as we read in Revelation 12:12: ‘Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.’”
Because his time is almost up, we are warned in 1 Peter 5:8: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
He wants to stop our progress in our Christian lives so that we don’t make it into God’s Kingdom. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read about carnally-minded people “whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
Make no mistake about it, Satan will continue his attacks on God’s people and it is up to us to be, and remain, close to God who can and will protect us at the end of this age. For further information on the demonic spirit world, please read our free booklet “Angels, Demons and the Spirit World.”
We have recently covered two other Q&As which are, in many ways, inter-related with the question in this Q&A. They are:
The Church of God has forecasted the downward spiral of our nations for many decades but, unfortunately, as people grow ever more distant from God and His ways, so the punishments will continue and increase. If such ungodly practices were repented of and eliminated, the countries would benefit enormously but there seems to be no general recognition that our nations’ behaviour is wrong!
As the nations continue to lurch from crisis to crisis, many more bad days lie ahead. But after the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, the world will experience the righteous rule and government of God on earth. But until that time, with no leaders having the answers and none of them truly trusting God, more punishments will inevitably follow.
Society is at odds with itself because it doesn’t know how to live and behave. They know little about blessings and cursings. They don’t understand the principle of sowing and reaping. And Satan, who deceives the whole world (compare Revelation 12:9), is very active in his demonic activities.
So, expect much more of the same as we rush headlong into the time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation (compare Daniel 12:1).
We have been warned.
Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)